Unsurprisingly, 2016 was the hottest year on record — the third straight year in which worldwide temperatures have reached record levels. Ironically, Scott Pruitt, the climate change skeptic whom Donald Trump has chosen to run the Environmental Protection Agency, just happened to be testifying before a Senate committee charged with vetting his nomination when the announcement was made. So the nation was reminded simultaneously of the threat the world faces — and that the incoming Trump administration seems poised to ignore it.
The facts are plain, and verifiable. The Arctic experienced an unfathomably warm fall — up to 35 degrees warmer than usual in places — which is expected to accelerate the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap. And the Antarctic ice shelves are melting faster than scientists anticipated as warming saltwater eats away at them from below.
It may be quixotic to hope that President Trump or Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Pruitt will respect the science and change their tunes on global warming. It is unlikely the new administration will advance the Obama administration’s policies to address rising temperatures rather than rolling back crucial regulations. But if Trump continues to question the significant role that human activity — particularly the burning of fossil fuels — has played in increasing global temperatures, American states (led by California) and cities and countries around the world can still press forward. Trump might deny the science, but the rest of the world cannot.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES