These 6 numbers define the climate challenge in a changing U.S.

National Geographic | Jan 19, 2021 at 8:35 PM
  • The numbers are in: 2020 tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, a clear sign of a planet in distress.
  • Despite a seven percent drop in carbon emissions from fossil fuels in 2020, driven by COVID-19-related economic disruptions, humans still added some 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, on top of the trillions of tons we’ve put there already since the 19th century.
  • “We’ve added a strong El Niño’s-worth of warmth since 2016,” says Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute and who worked on the Berkeley Earth annual temperature estimate.