Sen. John Kerry and other advocates for climate change legislation say data showing that 2010 was tied for the hottest year on record should prompt action.
“How many times do we have to be smacked in the face with factual evidence before we address global climate change? Report after report keep confirming it’s getting worse every year,” Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement Wednesday.
Kerry added: “Will we find common ground and adult leadership or keep piling the science on a shelf to collect dust?”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, citing temperature data that date back to 1880, reported Wednesday that last year was tied with 2005 as the warmest on record.
2010 was also the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average, the agency reported.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) also flagged the NOAA report Wednesday. “The hottest year on record is a difficult fact to deny,” said Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.
“This is another warning siren that should serve as a wake-up call to Congress to take action to reduce dangerous carbon pollution and create clean energy jobs that reduce the impacts of climate change,” he said.
Markey co-authored the sweeping cap-and-trade and energy bill that narrowly passed the House in 2009.
Kerry, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, co-authored a Senate version last year, but was unable to gain enough traction to overcome resistance from Republicans and some Democrats. The bill never came up for a vote.
This year, climate advocates are on the defensive as ascendant House Republicans are vowing to delay or kill climate rules that the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing in under its existing authority.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is leading the charge to scuttle the EPA rules that he and other Republicans charge will harm the economy. His office declined to comment on the NOAA report.
Several Democrats – led by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) – also hope to delay the regulations.