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Posted: 2019-02-11 15:34:38

February 6, 2019; New York Times

Records show that the earth in 2018 had its fourth-highest average surface temperature in almost 140 years, according to the announcement last week by NASA scientists. Tracking the data shows a clear and persistent upward trend over 14 decades. According to the history as documented, the five warmest years have been the last five years. Since 2001, the planet has undergone 18 of the 19 warmest.

The long, 140-year journey up to our current temperatures has sped up in the last 20 years, confirming the scientific consensus that human activity is causing the uptick. It is this most recent period, and its record rise in levels of carbon dioxide and methane, which confirms that it is no longer “tomorrow” that is of concern.

“We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis. “It’s here. It’s now.”

NASA’s temperature data and that of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, came out together. (This year’s global temperature reports were delayed, as scientists from NOAA and NASA were prevented from completing the analysis of the data by the government shutdown.) They use marginally different procedures to calculate the overall temperature changes and have disagreed once or twice on rankings by a year, but both agree that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year.

Scientists caution that to avoid the worst consequences, the earth’s overall temperature cannot rise over 2 degrees Celsius from where it was in the beginning years of the Industrial Revolution. Measuring from that 19th century mark to 2018, the earth is now registering over 1°C higher.

The report provides nonprofits with red flags and warning signs, relating to the work they are doing, and how they may have to change. Nonprofit Quarterly has written on how climate change will affect nonprofits—public health

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