2014, hot or not?

Today’s science headlines all read “2014 Warmest Year on Record”. And if you’re a climate change skeptic they read “2014, Warmest Year on Record?”. What’s the truth of the matter?

In terms of average global temperature, it turns out 2014 was the warmest on record, at least in plain old numbers. The problem is that the difference between this year’s number and the previous record is actually statistically insignificant. In other words, the difference in the two numbers might actually be due to chance or human error.

So does that mean climate change isn’t real? Hell no. In fact, the last time the average global temperature for a given year was less than the 20th century average was in 1976. So we should still be concerned with global warming. What’s the worst that can happen by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy? That we make our atmosphere cleaner and that our power grids no longer rely on a finite fuel supply?

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