By Doug Porter
The numbers have been crunched and the results are in: independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirm Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1880.
All in all, global temperatures in 2015 rose by 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit over the 20th-century average. Last year’s temperatures surpassed the 2014 record by a 0.23-degree margin. Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.
These observations were confirmed by scientists at Great Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.
From the Guardian:
Bob Ward, at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “This [record heat] should put pressure on governments to urgently implement their commitments to act against climate change, and to increase their planned cuts of greenhouse gases. The warming is already affecting the climate around the world, including dangerous shifts in extreme weather events. Those who claim that climate change is either not happening, or is not dangerous, have been conclusively proven wrong by the meteorological evidence around the world.”
Despite constantly rising greenhouse gas emissions trapping ever more heat on Earth, the last decade has seen relatively slow warming of air temperatures, dubbed a “pause” in climate change by some. In fact, global warming had not paused at all.
Instead, natural climate cycles led to more of the trapped heat being stored in the oceans (which already absorbed most the heat), some of which El Niño is now releasing.
Scientists usually assess changes in climate over decades, rather than years, and the each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any decade on record.
The United States, a leading world polluter, still grapples with the outsized presence of climate change deniers and skeptics in the halls of Congress.
NOAA’s announcement on Wednesday also comes against a backdrop of the recently completed Paris climate talks, at which the goal of capping global warming at 2 C above preindustrial levels was enshrined.
In an editorial this month in the New York Times, former astronaut and NASA climate scientist Piers Sellers applauded that goal but, revealing he has pancreatic cancer, also lamented that he will not be able to see the solutions play out in his lifetime.
“I think that future generations will look back on 2015 as an important but not decisive year in the struggle to align politics and policy with science,” he wrote.
It should surprise nobody that the flat-earthers on the right immediately mocked Sellers. Breitbart News wasted no time in misrepresenting Sellers with a piece absurdly headlined, “NASA Chief: Global Warming Is Real Because I Have Cancer.”
SuperBowl 50: Meet Black Lives Matter?
Today’s California Playbook suggests that recent Bay Area protests over racial inequality and police shootings could lead to disruptions around Super Bowl 50 next month.
— MOUNTING PROTEST: In recent weeks, BlackLivesMatter and other groups demanding racial justice have mounted carefully planned, sophisticated protests in the Bay Area, drawing national attention. In the last month alone, protesters have commanded drive-time news and made headlines by stopping holiday traffic heading to SFO, shouting down SF mayor Ed Lee’s inauguration and swearing-in by Gov. Jerry Brown, later showing up at his house and dogging Lee, sending him running from an MLK Day event.Monday’s bridge shutdown, involving careful timing and coordination of cars crossing the bridge, and chaining together of protesters, held the media stage for hours…
…– WHAT’S AT STAKE? Two major upcoming events could provide a national stage for protesters: Super Bowl 50, set for Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and (especially close to Lee’s heart) the annual Chinese New Year Parade in downtown San Francisco.
— Says one city insider: “This should be scaring the shit out of everybody. … These protesters know what they’re doing. They know the camera angles, where the buses take off for Santa Clara. … It’s going to have a life of its own.”…
The family of Mario Woods says his shooting death by police on December 2nd looked like a “firing squad.” On Monday they called for a Department of Justice investigation to investigate the five officers who shot Woods for possible criminal charges.
$15 Minimum Wage Measure Submits Signatures
Supporters of a $15 hourly wage for California submitted signatures yesterday to qualify a measure raising the state’s minimum wage. The initiative would increase the minimum wage by $1 a year starting in 2017 until it hits $15 in 2021. After that, increases would be automatically tied to the cost of living.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined SEIU’s United Healthcare Workers West in San Francisco as union officials turned in signatures. The group said it has collected 600,000 names, far more than the nearly 366,000 required to qualify an initiative this year…
…Newsom owns nine restaurants and said raising the minimum wage is the right thing for everyone.
“The one thing I know is that businesses can’t survive in a world that is failing,” Newsom said, adding income inequality is “the issue of our time.”
There is competing initiative sponsored by another group within SEIU gathering signatures for a faster increase to $15 and adding up to six paid sick days. They face a deadline of next week for turning in signatures. The union’s state council says it hopes both measures can eventually merge to avoid voter confusion.
The latest Field Poll shows 68% support in California for a $15 minimum wage.
DeMaio’s Reforms Face Uphill Battle in 2018
San Diego’s conservative talk show host announced earlier this week that his pension reform ballot measure for California would not be appearing on the 2016 ballot. Carl DeMaio cited a more conservative electorate in non-presidential election years and held out hope that a case pending before the Supreme Court would weaken unions ability to fund opposition
Steven Maviglio at Fox and Hounds begs to disagree with that assessment:
The Reed/DeMaio political track record is one of continual failure. Both measures they pushed at the local level, in San Diego and San Jose, have been blown up. Their 2014 effort, as well as well as their finger-pointing lawsuit against the Attorney General, was a flop. Their 2016 measures went through multiple reiterations. None of them polled well – even with the title and summary from the AG that satisfied their bellyaching. Fatigued donors rightfully will have little faith in their political acumen, particularly after they called this year’s original measures “bulletproof.”
Smart Republican political operatives don’t want to see anti-union measures on the ballot. Ever. Neither do corporate interests. The reason is simple: it energizes union turnout. If Republicans are to make any legislative gains in 2018, the last thing they want is millions of union members – whose pensions would be at stake – to show up to the polls.
Anti-union measures have repeatedly failed in California, even in off-year and special elections. The first major anti-pension measure, backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, dates back to 2005 and failed before it made the ballot. Prop 32, on the 2012 ballot, was overwhelmingly defeated despite strong early polling showing it would win and considerable funding behind it from the same forces advocating pension cutting. Even in red states, dramatic anti-pension measures get turned down at the polls. Witness the overwhelming rejection of a proposal similar to Reed and DeMaio’s in Arizona and another one in Ohio.
News of The Donald
Washington’s The Hill reports that GOP mega-donors are warming up to the idea that Donald Trump could be their party’s nominee. And a local player gets an honorable mention in the story:
California-based hotel developer Doug Manchester was an early Trump convert but says he has yet to send a check to the candidate.
Manchester, who gave $25,000 to the super-PAC supporting Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, says he’s willing to fundraise for Trump on a large scale when required. “A lot of my friends have really come around and are now saying they are going to support him,” says Manchester. “These are corporate leaders.”
“If he gets the nomination, then that’s a whole other ball game,” Manchester said.
Meanwhile, in other news of the Donald, this:
I watched the video of Ms Palin’s endorsement and two things jumped out at me:
- She appeared to be under the influence. I think parents should demand she be tested so we can warn our children about this intoxicant or mixture of substances.
- The Donald’s facial expressions during the speech are priceless.
Warning: The Video is 21 minutes long. Just watch the first couple of minutes; you’ll get the flavor…
Oh, and by the way… Palin failed to appear at her first scheduled campaign rally today.
On This Day: 1961 – Hardworking Mickey Mantle signed a new contract with the New York Yankees making him the highest paid player in baseball: $75,000 for the entire 1961 season. 1986 – New footage of the 1931 “Frankenstein” was found. The footage was originally deleted because it was considered to be too shocking. 1998 – In Chile, a judge agreed to hear a lawsuit that accused Chile’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet with genocide.
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