2014 The Hottest Ever Year – Another call to Immediate Climate Action
Confirmation from the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA that 2014 is the hottest year in recorded history underlines the extremely worrying trend of record-breaking global average temperatures being recorded with ever-increasing frequency. Further, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have all occurred since the year 2000.
An Taisce believes today’s announcement adds urgency to the demand that the Irish government’s forthcoming Climate Bill be ambitious and be strictly guided by international scientific evidence. We urge Taoiseach Enda Kenny to exercise personal leadership on this vital issue, and prove he was in earnest with his call at the UN last September that politicians show “conviction, clarity, courage and consistency” in responding to climate change.
An Taisce further urges Mr Kenny to publicly distance his government from the behind-closed-doors special pleadings of powerful interest groups pushing a dangerous ‘business as usual’ agenda of deny-and-delay that runs contrary to Ireland’s long term strategic interests.
By coincidence, a major study published in the journal Science yesterday stated that humanity has exceeded several "planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity” including the rate of extinction, deforestation and the amount of atmospheric CO2.
“It is no exaggeration to state that humanity now faces the gravest threat to its continued existence”, according to An Taisce. “This is now a planetary emergency and nothing less than a full emergency response will suffice if we are to have any realistic hope of avoiding the impacts of dangerous and irreversible climate change.
We echo recent comments by UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon that ‘we are the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change’.”
An Taisce believes the threat of global warming is not being communicated to the Irish public with the urgency it merits and has been pushed down the list of political priorities for reasons of short term political thinking. “It is difficult to believe that while we live in an era of unprecedented ecological and climate crisis, these extraordinary facts are not being discussed by our print or broadcast media, except in passing.
The latest NOAA/NASA report sounds the alarm bell once again on the climate emergency.
Do we now respond, or just collectively roll over once again and hit the ‘snooze’ button?
The best time to have started tackling climate change was at least two decades ago. The second best time is – right now.
- 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have all occurred since the year 2000. This is global warming - the likelihood of this being a coincidence is estimated at being one in more than 20 million. In fact, the last month when the world recorded surface temperatures below the 20th Century average was February 1985 – almost exactly 30 years ago.
- According to NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), during 2014, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.69°C above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 135 years in the 1880–2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C.
- The NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) report http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/global/2014/12
- The NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) report diagram “Jan – Dec Global Mean Temperature over Land and Ocean” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201401-201412.png
- Science Magazine: “Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet” http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2015/01/14/science.1259855
- Ban ki-Moon (Commenting in the Guardian): “We are the last generation that can fight climate change. We have a duty to act” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/12/last-generation-tackle-climate-change-un-international-community