Persistent extreme weather linked to climate change has triggered more and more natural catastrophes since 2000, according to insurance giant Munich Re, from extreme wintertime blizzards and springtime floods to prolonged drought and severe summer heat, with costs rising to billions of dollars.
On Wednesday February 25, 2015, the European Commission published the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of the European Union, a detailed description of the effort the EU will offer to undertake in cutting greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international agreement on tackling climate change.
2014 was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C, making it the hottest year on record since NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center began taking measurements in 1880. The record surpassed the previous hottest year record, shared by 2005 and 2010, by 0.04°C (0.07°F). As the Earth heats up, new temperature records are increasingly common.
2014 has seen unprecedented heat and experienced devastating extreme weather events, some of which have already been linked to climate change.
2014 also witnessed an unprecedented level of support for climate action, from people on the streets demanding change to heads of state reaching record accords.
On Sunday, December 14, 2014, UN climate negotiations closed in Lima, Peru with negotiators agreeing to text that will form the basis for a new international agreement expected next year in Paris. The Lima decision sets the foundation for a Paris agreement that can move the world closer to a clean energy pathway that avoids catastrophic impacts of global warming.
International climate diplomacy reached an important milestone today, as pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) topped $10 billion. In a reversal of its previous refusal to invest, Australia just announced a pledge of AUD 200 million ($165.9 million), becoming the 26th nation to contribute to the GCF.
While global temperatures are shaping up to make 2014 the hottest year on record, the U.S. has endured over a week of unseasonably wintry conditions due to atmospheric blocking – a large scale pressure pattern with little or no movement – that has led to a sustained outbreak of record cold mid-November Arctic air.
U.S. temperature extremes in 2014 have been exceptional—with record heat in the West and cooler than average temperatures in the East—and many scientists think climate change may be contributing. Temperature extremes occur when regions experience temperatures at the top or bottom 10% of the historical range of recorded values.