The planet is warming at a faster rate than at any time in the past 10.000 years. Since 1980, we have had the 10 warmest years in recorded history. The five warmest consecutive years on record began in 1991. The warmest year ever recorded was 1995.
In November 1995, 2,500 leading climate scientists announced that Earth is warming in large part because emissions from coal and oil burning are trapping more of the sun's heat. Even if the average temperature increase is not yet conclusive, they warned, the change is already generating extremes in the weather. This new period of less-stable climate, the scientists wrote, "is likely to cause widespread economic, social and environmental dislocation."
And it's not just the scientists who've come to this conclusion. For the past few years, the ravages of the changing climate have been sending shock waves through the executive suites of international insurance companies. In the 1980s, the industry paid out an average of less than $2 billion a year for weather-related property damage. But in just the five years between 1990 and 1995, hurricanes, cyclones and floods across the globe have cost more than $30 billion a year.
Walter Sanford, WebMaster
Geosystems in Fairfax County Public Schools