People’s Climate March

September 21, 2014 in Sustainability

Today is the People’s Climate March here in New York City. Sponsored by peoplesclimate.org, the march here is joined by events in other major cities around the world, including London, Berlin, Bogota, Istanbul, Paris, Rio, Delhi, Melbourne, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Amsterdam. The marches and other events are intended to put pressure on international leaders who will meet at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 on Tuesday to create the framework for a global agreement on emissions that (it is hoped) will be agreed upon in Paris late next year.

If that agreement occurs it will certainly be a case of politicians leading from behind. As I’ve noted here and here and here, researchers at organizations as diverse as NASA, NOAA, and IPCC have been telling us that the climate is changing now, that change is accelerating, and that we’ve already reached the tipping point in places like Antarctica’s Western Ice Sheet. And the news just keeps piling up. NOAA has announced that the combined average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was a record high for the month, at 1.35°F above the 20th century average of 60.1°F, topping the previous record set in 1998. The global land surface temperature was 1.78°F above the 20th century average. Here’s a map of the global temperature variations compared to the base period of 1981-2010.

August 2014 Temps

The August report means that globally, June through August 2014 is the 5th hottest on record. The four periods that were hotter than this year have all occurred since 1998.

Since the founding of the IPCC in 1988 progress has been slow and halting (a history of UN climate actions can be found here). Let’s hope that strong action is agreed to this time.