The Stream, January 21: 2015 Was Hottest Year On Record

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Average global temperatures last year were nearly 1-degree Celsius above the 20th-century average. Rising ocean temperatures will likely increase the rainfall and storm surge associated with hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. Countries in the Persian Gulf are pursuing renewable energy to reduce their water use, while the easing of economic sanctions on Iran could help the country address water shortages and other environmental problems. People living in Africa are more likely to have access to a cell phone than to a piped water source, a new survey found. The U.S. Senate will vote today on a measure to overrule President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have stopped implementation of the federal Clean Water Rule.

“[Waters of the United States] isn’t really a clean-water measure, it’s an unprecedented federal power grab clumsily masquerading as one. In passing a bipartisan measure to overturn it, Congress stood up for the middle class and said that America’s clean-water rules should be based on the kind of scientific, collaborative process the American people expect — not Washington politics.” –Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate majority leader, in a statement condemning President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have stopped implementation of the new Clean Water Rule, which clarifies which waterways are protected under the federal Clean Water Act. The Senate will vote today on an attempt to override the presidential veto. (The Hill)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

93 percent Proportion of Africans who have cell phone service, compared to 63 percent who have access to piped water, according to a new report by Afrobarometer. CNN

27 gigawatts Amount of renewable energy that countries in the Persian Gulf plan to install by 2030, potentially reducing annual water use in the region by 16 percent, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency found. Bloomberg


Science, Studies, And Reports

Last year was the hottest year since records began in 1880, with the global average temperature over land and water reaching 0.90 degrees Celsius above the 20th-century average, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. December was also the hottest month on record since 1880. NOAA

Future hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea could be as much as 160 percent more destructive than Superstorm Sandy, which killed 159 people in 2012, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Rising ocean temperatures will likely fuel heavier rainfall and bigger storm surges, the study found. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

The easing of international economic sanctions on Iran could help the country direct more resources to address water shortages, air pollution, and other environmental issues. Iran’s groundwater resources are declining rapidly, and government officials increasingly acknowledge that water scarcity is a serious risk. Guardian

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