According to data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, this summer was the second hottest ever recorded. Global temperatures during June, July, and August averaged .59°C higher than the index from 1951-1980 and less than one-tenth of a degree below the summer of 1998, which is the hottest summer on record. The five hottest summers on record are below - note that four of the last five years appear in the table.
2009 as a whole is also shaping up to be one of the hottest years ever recorded. If the rest of the year continues to have similar temperatures, the ten hottest years on record will consist of 1998 and every year since 2001. Yet for some reason the wingnuts keep denying that climate change is a problem, and the media keeps giving them a voice.
As the first ships to travel through a newly opened passage in the Arctic are about to complete their journey, the White House has announced that President Obama will deliver remarks at a UN summit on climate change on September 22. Although no details have been released about Obama's remarks, the summit is being described as key to reaching agreement on a climate change deal later in the year:
Recriminations between rich and poor nations about how to share out curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, and scant aid from recession-hit rich nations, mean the world is far from a deal. A draft treaty is an unmanageable 200 pages long.
"Now the onus is on heads of government," Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit.
He said that a one-day climate summit at U.N. headquarters on Sept. 22 was a chance to show world leaders that "there is a high risk that a deal will not emerge from Copenhagen" unless they get more involved in spurring the negotiations.
And there is a lot to sort out in the next three months, according to participants in Sept. 8-10 Reuters summit.
Brazil's Environment Minister Carlos Minc said a plan by U.S. President Barack Obama -- struggling to secure healthcare reforms before turning to climate -- to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 was unacceptably weak.
"We don't acccept that, it's very poor," he said, adding that the goal should be "closer to something beyond a 20 percent reduction". The U.S. 2020 goal is the weakest of any developed nation, but Obama promises a deep 80 percent cut by 2050.