Fellows in the News

July 2019 is now the hottest month in recorded history, the U.N. confirmed on Thursday.

At a press conference in New York, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced that the month of July had reached 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a figure that “at least equaled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history,” according to data released by the World Meteorological Organization. Temperature information from July is still streaming in, but preliminary data show last month’s warmth is roughly on par, or perhaps slightly warmer than the previous record of July 2016.

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For scientists who have dedicated their careers to finding and clearly explaining the stakes of this existential crisis, the new record is an exasperating confirmation of continued slow progress.

“The heat record doesn’t surprise me, it’s exactly what the science predicts,” said Sarah Myhre, a climate scientist and executive director of the Rowan Institute, an organization focused on justice and equity in climate solutions. “Violent and mediocre careerists, executives, and political leaders are profiteering off of the suffering of the children of the world, especially the children and families of the global south. Why do we continue to be surprised by the breaking heat records rather than the malicious and incompetent inaction by public leaders?”

The hottest month in history should make the stakes of our time crystal clear: Either we change everything, or the consequences of planetary warming will do that for us.

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