Global Mobilisation for Action on Climate Change – but is it too few and too late?

a portion of the crowd taking part in the recent People's Climate March in New York.

a portion of the crowd taking part in the recent People’s Climate March in New York.

Hundreds of thousands of people recently took to the streets in over 2000 cities around the world to participate in a People’s Climate March to demand action from world leaders to address climate change.

The World Day of Climate Action was to coincide with the summit of world leaders convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in New York where more than 300,000 people marched.

The global call for action comes in the wake of further indications and warnings that time is running out before ‘large-scale and potentially irreversible changes’ (in the words of the most recent International Panel on Climate Change report) occur in our planet.

According figures released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the combined average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces in August was the highest ever recorded, passing the previous record set in June.

Meanwhile the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide according to the World Meteorological Organization. The observations from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network showed that CO2 levels increased more between 2012 and 2013 than during any other year since 1984 and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is now 142% of the pre-industrial era (1750)

If that is not sufficiently disturbing news, in its Living Planet Report 2014 released on Sep 29th, the Worldwide Fund For Nature WWF stated that global wildlife populations have declined by more than half in just 40 years.  The continued decline of wildlife highlights the need for sustainable solutions to heal the planet, according to the report.

The report also shows that the Ecological Footprint – a measure of humanity’s demands on nature – is continuing its upward climb. Taken together, biodiversity loss and unsustainable footprint threaten natural systems and human well-being, but can also point us toward actions to reverse current trends.

The accumulation of scientific evidence for human induced climate change is overwhelming – yet politicians are slow to act or are in denial. Whilst the number of people actively demanding action is growing, too many of us are indifferent, complacent or unconvinced that anything they say or do will make a difference.

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