Pakistani youth cool themselves with water during a heat wave in Islamabad on June 21, 2015. At least 17 people have died as a heat wave has gripped the country, local media reported. AFP PHOTO / Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
2015 was the warmest year since 1880
01:00 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that “climate change is real” and the “debate is over” after NOAA reported that 2015 was the hottest year on record.

“This planet and its people are in trouble” he warned. “Unless we get our act together, we will see in years to come more droughts, more floods and more extreme weather disturbances.”

Sanders then stressed the urgency of the challenge and cited his proposals to address it.

“It is absolutely vital that we act boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels. That’s why I have proposed a comprehensive plan to put people before polluters and reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 by putting a tax on carbon and making aggressive investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

NOAA and NASA both announced on Wednesday that 2015 was officially the hottest year in the 136 years of record keeping – and by a wide margin. At 1.62° F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average, 2015 topped the previous hottest year, 2014, by the largest margin ever recorded, according to NOAA.

Fueled by one of the strongest El Nino’s on record, 2015 was over 20% higher compared to average than the second hottest year. 10 of the 12 months in 2015 set the record for their hottest respective months.

While Republican challengers have yet to weigh in on Wednesday’s news specifically, much of the 2016 GOP field – and party front-runner Donald Trump in particular – have lambasted Democrats’ attention to climate change in recent weeks.

“I think one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics – in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good, was Obama’s statement that our No. 1 problem is global warming,” Trump said last year on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”