Apr 22, 2020 - Energy & Environment

2020 could be the warmest year on record

Reproduced from NOAA; Chart: Axios Visuals

2020 is certain to be among the warmest years in modern temperature records that date back to the late 1800s, and stands a very good chance of beating 2016 to top the list, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Why it matters: The recent estimate (which I learned about in this Washington Post piece by former Axios colleague Andrew Freedman) shows the ongoing march of global warming, even as policymakers are consumed with responding to COVID-19.

What they found: "Based on current anomalies and historical global annual temperature readings, it appears that it is virtually certain that 2020 will be a top-10 year," said NOAA, which also released this comparison to other years.

  • They see a nearly 75% chance that it will be the warmest on record, and a nearly 100% chance of a top-5 ranking.

The intrigue: "This is somewhat unexpected, since there is no declared El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which tends to provide a natural boost to global temperatures that are already elevated due to the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Freedman writes of the 75% chance.

Go deeper: Why climate change is the easiest news to fake

Go deeper

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — 0.2% worse than initially estimated — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

33 mins ago - Economy & Business

The end of the beginning on energy companies' net-zero carbon pledges

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Activist investors' push to make the world's largest energy companies commit to ambitious climate targets is entering a new phase.

Why it matters: A key thing to watch now is whether and how energy giants start providing more granular information on how to transform the pledges into concrete steps.