Monday, December 29, 2014

2014:  The Year Climate Change Undeniably Arrived

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, at climate talks in New York City. (Credit: The Climate Group, Flickr)  Click to enlarge.
All year long, from the Antipodes to the Aleutians, the changing global climate plagued the planet.  If 2014 does not, in the final reckoning, prove to be the hottest year ever recorded, it will come very close.

As a landmark scientific review published by several U.S. government agencies declared in May: "Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present."

Of course, it did not happen all at once.  The Australian heat wave had lingered over from 2013.  Every decade is now warmer than the one before.  Each new year is one of the warmest on record.  Young adults have never lived through a month when global temperatures were cooler than the old normal.

"There is no standstill in global warming," said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, which as the year drew to a close estimated that 2014 would turn out to be the warmest year scientists have ever recorded.

It is fair to say that 2014 was the year that climate change undeniably arrived.

That means much more than to say the world's temperature continued to rise.  So did the emissions of greenhouse gases and the buildup of those gases in the atmosphere.  And so did the gathering sense of crisis, the understanding that the time left for effective action was running out. 

Read more at 2014:  The Year Climate Change Undeniably Arrived

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