From United Press International Archives Sept. 10, 1998 — In what is becoming a monthly routine, Vice President Al Gore staged a White House ceremony to release data showing worldwide temperatures for the previous month were the warmest on record. Citing government figures showing the average global temperature index for August was 61.4 degrees Fahrenheit (16.3 degrees Celsius), or 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above the mean temperature dating back to 1880, Gore said, ‘How much more evidence do we need that global warming is real and here to stay?’ Yet the current NOAA climate records show a global temperature of 57.95 Fahrenheit (14.42 Celsius) for 1997 and 58.19 Fahrenheit (14.55 Celsius) in 1998, more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, which could not have been available when the graph below was first published in the New York Times.
The figures, produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showed the previous record for August was 61.1 F (16.2 C), set in 1997. Gore said, ‘We have had the hottest year in more than a century, followed by the eight straight hottest months in more than a century, together with some of the most severe weather of the century.’ The Clinton administration has proposed a five-year, $6.3 billion package of tax breaks and research spending designed to encourage greater energy efficiency. It has also urged Congress to ratify an international agreement reached last December in Kyoto, Japan, designed to place worldwide limits on ‘greenhouse gases’ emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. Although the Clinton administration was criticized by other countries in Kyoto for refusing to accept sharper limits on U.S. greenhouse gases, members of the Republican-led Congress have rejected the deal as unacceptably tough. Clinton has repeatedly called for action by Congress, making the subject a recurring theme of his political stump speeches for the past several years. The Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the 20th century, and scientists have generally agreed that emissions of gases from the burning of coal and oil are responsible for at least part of the trend. —