WASHINGTON — A new report from NASA and NOAA found that 2021 was the sixth hottest year on record, and the past 10 years were the hottest ever recorded.
The agencies say the country is dealing with the fallout of that, which includes extreme heatwaves, larger wildfires, and more severe storms.
“That’s caused by increases in greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide,” said Dr. Steven Pawson, an Earth systems scientist with NASA.
Those greenhouse gasses come from the use of things like coal, gasoline, and diesel. Pawson said hotter global temperatures have real and devastating impacts on people’s lives.
“If we look at the Pacific Northwest, for example, we saw extremely hot temperatures — temperatures that have never been recorded before,” he said.
Pawson said the heat also fueled devastating wildfires and droughts in the West and led to more severe storms, increasing coastal flooding.
“If not every day, then when there’s a high tide,” Pawson said. “Especially in those regions when there’s a major hurricane.”
President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan would invest more than $550 billion in transitioning the country to greener, cleaner energy — however, the plan is unlikely to pass.
Republicans, like Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, say the price tag of Build Back Better would have negative impacts.
“Higher taxes, additional spending — things that by many accounts would increase inflation,” Scalise said.
Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said preventing global temperatures from rising even further is worth the investment so our children and grandchildren don’t have to deal with even worse natural disasters.
“You look at it as spending, we look at it as investment,” Hoyer said.