Jan 8, 2020

Hottest decade on record

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

2019 wasn't just the second-hottest year on record — the 2010s will go down as the hottest decade in human memory, per a new report.

Driving the news: The Copernicus Climate Change Service found "an unrelenting upward trend in temperatures as emissions of greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and change the climate," the N.Y. Times notes.

The big picture: "The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now the highest level in human history and probably has not been seen on this planet for 3 million years," WashPost notes.

  • 2019 "also brought troubling signs that natural systems [like permafrost and the Amazon] that serve to store huge quantities of carbon dioxide and methane ... may be faltering as temperatures increase."

By the numbers, per Copernicus:

  • "The five warmest years on record have all occurred in the last 5 years."
  • "Globally, the calendar year 2019 was 0.59°C warmer than the 1981–2010 average."
  • "2016 is the warmest calendar year on record, with a global temperature 0.63°C above that for 1981–2010.
  • "The third warmest calendar year, 2017, had a temperature 0.54°C above average."

What's next: November 2020 is shaping up to be a historic month on climate, Axios' Amy Harder reported.

  • The UN's annual conference will offer the most high-profile moment for the Paris deal since it was signed in 2015.
  • Trump is also likely to formally withdraw from Paris climate accords the day after the election.

Go deeper: Axios' special report on climate change

Go deeper

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Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

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Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

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President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"