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Xcel Energy carbon-free pledge a bright spot in a bad climate news week

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Tuesday's announcement by Xcel Energy is generating a buzz in the climate and energy world. It's the first time a major U.S. utility has committed to 100% carbon-free energy.

 Story getting major media traction

Twitter was busy Tuesday afternoon shortly after the Xcel announcement.

By Wednesday, major international media outlets picked up on the story.

The bad news: Emissions still on the rise 

The Xcel news seems especially important considering the news that global carbon emissions spiked in 2018, and appear to be headed in the wrong direction to mitigate climate change impacts.

We've just seen the 4 warmest years globally

2018 looks like it will go down as the 4th warmest year on record globally. That means the 4 warmest years globally are the past 4 years. The 20 warmest years on record globally have all occurred in the past 22 years. That's how far out of whack earth's climate system is now.

2019: Another top 5 warmest year on record globally? 

The combination of GHG forcing and another developing El Niño in the tropical Pacific likely means 2019 will produce another top 5 warmest year globally. There is a significant (1 in 3) chance 2019 will be the warmest year on record globally.

And the science is clear that extreme weather events respond to a hotter, wetter atmosphere. The trend lines are clear.

Climate change impacts are here now. And the trend is for an increase in extremely damaging and costly climate change-enhanced weather events in the years to come.