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Climate Change

Climate Change News

2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Released 2nd January 2014, This report details actions the United States is taking domestically and internationally to mitigate, adapt to, and assist others in addressing climate change

Iceberg and its reflection in the ocean surface (AP)

This iceberg has broken off of one of Greenland’s glaciers as a result of warmer temperatures.

10 October 2014 Kerry: Act Now on the ‘Gathering Storm’ of Climate Change  "These last two days, I've been sitting down with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and this morning at the crack of dawn we left Washington and headed together to my hometown — Boston — to help ring a global alarm bell and focus on an issue that doesn't just animate President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron, but an issue that demands urgent attention from all of us: global climate change."
 • Window to Act on Climate Change Is Closing Quickly, Kerry Says

01 October 2014 North American Panel Issues Multiyear Industrial Pollution Data   The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has released a comprehensive report on the changing face of industrial pollution in North America, covering 2005 through 2010.  This volume of Taking Stock documents pollutant releases and transfers reported over the six-year period by approximately 35,000 industrial facilities across the region.

01 October 2014 Climate Finance Mobilization Process Third Ministerial Meeting  Ministers and senior officials from more than a dozen countries met in New York, NY on September 21 for the third meeting of the Climate Finance Mobilization process. The process is an ongoing dialogue on how to enhance and accelerate the scale up and mobilization of climate finance for low-emission and climate-resilient activities in developing countries.

29 September 2014 Report Links Climate Change with Some Severe Weather Events  Published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective” addresses the causes of 16 individual extreme events that occurred on four continents in 2013. Scientists from the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) served as three of the four lead editors on the report.

21 September 2014 Secretary Kerry Elevates Climate Change at UN General Assembly  Secretary of State John Kerry will participate in several high-level events to reinforce U.S. leadership on climate change action this coming week during the UN General Assembly in New York.

29 July 2014 Delaying Action on Climate Change Will Increase Costs, Risks  The longer the country waits to take action to counter the effects of climate change, the higher the cost of doing so, according to a report released by the White House on July 29.

15 July 2014 Report of U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group    The U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, established in 2013 to facilitate “forceful, nationally appropriate action by the United States and China” to answer the urgent challenge of climate change, submitted a report to the 2014 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

26 June 2014 Carbon Sequestration Cutting U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions  On the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released a new report showing that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern United States naturally store 1,100 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the country produces each year.

03 June 2014 U.S. Is Setting an Example to the World on Climate Change (via State.gov)    This op-ed by Secretary Kerry appeared in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

02 June 2014 U.S. Plans Carbon Cuts from Power Plants   The Obama administration is taking action to reduce the amount of carbon sent into the atmosphere by electric power production, the source of about one-third of all domestic greenhouse gases and the single largest source of carbon pollution.
 • EPA's McCarthy on Announcement of Clean Power Plan
 • Energy Secretary Moniz on Proposed EPA Rules for Existing Power Plants (via IIPDigital)

31 May 2014 President Obama's Weekly Address: Reducing Carbon Pollution in Our Power Plants (Whitehouse.gov)   In this week’s address, President Obama discussed new actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut dangerous carbon pollution, a plan that builds on the efforts already taken by many states, cities and companies. These new commonsense guidelines to reduce carbon pollution from power plants were created with feedback from businesses, and state and local governments, and they would build a clean energy economy while reducing carbon pollution.

29 May 2014 U.S. Increases Support to Conserve Forests, Ease Climate Change  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced its support for the Althelia Climate Fund to lend up to $133.8 million in commercial financing for forest conservation and sustainable land use.  The financing will help remove 100 million tons of carbon — the equivalent of 18.5 million cars — from the atmosphere, USAID said.

12 May 2014 New Energy Efficiency Standards Aim to Reduce Carbon Pollution  As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for efficiency standards that cut carbon dioxide pollution and save money by saving energy, the Energy Department on May 9 announced two new energy efficiency standards for electric motors and walk-in coolers and freezers.

07 May 2014 Report Cites Climate Change Across United States  Climate change is here and now, according to the Third National Climate Assessment issued by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

29 April 2014 Sound Science Helps U.S. Answer Challenge of Climate Change   “People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy told an audience at the National Academy of Sciences on April 28. “When we follow the science, we all win. This country and the world move forward.”

16 April 2014 Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Shows Reduced Emissions

15 April 2014 Report Urges Prompt, Aggressive Action on Climate Change  Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are continuing to rise, and the world’s governments have not done enough to reduce those emissions, according to a report by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

13 April 2014 Energy Secretary Moniz on IPCC’s Report on Climate Change (IIPDigital)

13 April 2014 Kerry on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IIPDigital) 

31 March 2014 Reducing Methane Emissions Is New Front in Climate Action  Cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas methane is the latest initiative of the Obama administrations Climate Action Plan. First unveiled in June 2013, the plan is reducing emissions of carbon and other gases shown to trap the Earths heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

28 March 2014 U.S. Agriculture Secretary on Methane Emission Reduction Strategy (IIPDigital)   "Across the country, farmers and ranchers are taking action to protect natural resources, and the Administration's Methane Reduction Strategy provides additional voluntary actions producers can take to cut methane emissions."
 • White House Fact Sheet on Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions

25 March 2014 International Science Panel Studies Climate Change Risks (IIPDigital)  The working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), some of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, has evaluated more than 12,000 scientific publications to produce what a lead author calls “the most complete, thorough and authoritative assessment on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to date.”

20 March 2014 Climate Data Initiative Will Help Communities Prepare  "That’s why today, delivering on a commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, we are launching the Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious new effort bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities.  ... Data from NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense, and other Federal agencies will be featured on climate.data.gov, a new section within data.gov that opens for business today. The first batch of climate data being made available will focus on coastal flooding and sea level rise."
 • White House Fact Sheet on Obama’s Climate Data Initiative

19 March 2014 Amazon Inhales More Carbon than It Emits, NASA Finds  A NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

16 February 2014 In Indonesia, Kerry Urges Global Action to Halt Climate Change   Secretary of State John Kerry told an Indonesian audience that the threat of climate change is real and that the cost of inaction outweighs the expense of investing in solutions.  Despite 25 years of scientific warnings and repeated calls to pursue a significant response to this threat, nations have not summoned the urgency necessary to respond effectively, Kerry said in a speech to students, civic leaders and government officials at the America Center in Jakarta.

31 January 2014 Renewable Energy, Communication Key to Fighting Climate Change  President Obama emphasized the importance of developing renewable energy technologies in his State of the Union message January 28, a recurring theme for his administration that has been given priority since the first weeks of his first term in 2009.  Expanded use of renewable energy technologies helps move the nation to a low-carbon economy at the same time it creates new jobs in an expanding sector, Obama said.

31 January 2014 Appointment of Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and Cities (via State.gov) 

30 January 2014 Emissions Reduction Could Ease Arctic Melt, Scientists Say  If the world acts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a melting trend in the Arctic might be slowed in the final decades of this century, according to a new report from U.S. scientists, led by the Pacific lab of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

22 January 2014 The year 2013 Ranks Among 10 Warmest Years on Record  A scientific summary of 2013 weather data from around the world finds that the year ranked among the 10 hottest on record. The assessment comes from the State of the Climate — Annual 2013 report compiled by the National Climatic Data Center

13 January 2014 Supercomputer Helps Design Wind Turbines for Cold Climates Since 2005, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been researching, developing and testing materials in freezing conditions. 

02 January 2014 Submission of the 2014 Climate Action Report (via State.gov)   The Department of State yesterday submitted the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The report details actions the United States is taking domestically and internationally to mitigate, adapt to, and assist others in addressing climate change.

2013

13 December 2013 New Arctic Report Card Shows Persistent Warming Trends  Cooler summer temperatures diminished the degree of sea ice melt in the Arctic Ocean in 2013, but the latest scientific analysis shows persistent trends of warming and environmental change in one of the Earth’s coldest regions.

06 December 2013 Top Chinese, U.S. Officials to Discuss Environmental Cooperation  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will arrive in China December 9 to discuss U.S.-China cooperation on air quality, climate pollution and environmental issues. She will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong during her visit.  Highlights of her visit, according to EPA, include co-chairing the U.S.-China Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation, delivering a keynote speech at Tsinghua University and meeting with senior officials, business leaders and nongovernmental organization representatives.

21 November 2013 U.S. Instrument Measures Sun’s Energy Output for Climate Studies  NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

21 November 2013 Sustainable Forest Use Advances at Climate Meeting  Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States are co-founders of the Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL), a plan announced November 20 at the international meeting on climate change underway in Warsaw, Poland.

12 November 2013 U.S. Invests to Lower Carbon Capture Cost, Fight Climate Change  As part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 18 projects across the country to research innovative, second-generation technologies “that will help improve the efficiency and drive down costs of carbon capture processes for new and existing coal-fired power plants,” the department said.

11 November 2013 Following U.S. Engagement at COP19 (via State.gov)     The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be in Warsaw, Poland, November 11–22 for the 19th conference of the parties (COP19) negotiating session.

08 November 2013 U.S. Will Show Climate Change Action at New Negotiating Round   A U.S. team goes to the 2013 round of negotiations on global climate change ready to demonstrate that the United States has taken “robust action” to reduce the nation's level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

03 November 2013 Better Hemispheric Weather Forecasts Goal for U.S. Agency  A key instrument that will provide greater detail for Western Hemisphere weather forecasts has been approved for installation in a satellite that will launch in 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said October 31.

31 October 2013 Hello from New ESTH Counselor  "I’m the new Environment, Science, Technology and Health (ESTH) Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, and I arrived in London about two months ago. We have decided that the top priority of the ESTH section would be climate change. There has been a lot to do!"

28 October 2013 New U.S. Research Sites’ Data Will Improve Climate Change Models   The Energy Department’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is collecting data at two new sites, one in Oliktok, Alaska, and the other in the Azores islands. The facility is designed to study the effects that clouds and aerosols have on weather and climate.

22 October 2013 U.S. Climate Negotiator Sees Path to New Global Agreement   The chief U.S. climate negotiator is proposing the main pillars of a new world agreement to control greenhouse gases (GHGs) and limit climate change, pillars which allow greater flexibility in how nations move toward creating clean-energy economies.

22 October 2013 The Shape of a New International Climate Agreement  Remarks by Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern at Chatham House, London, United Kingdom.

18 October 2013 Today’s Hot Will Be Tomorrow’s Cool, Research Shows  A research team at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa  identified points when temperatures will reach “climate departure” in the future. A climate departure is when the average temperature at a location of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1860 and 2005.

30 September 2013 Global Climate Change May Add to Mercury in Environment  The level of mercury in the environment could increase as a result of global climate change, researchers have found, an adverse consequence beyond warming temperatures.  Most climate change projections foresee increased intensity in storms, which cause greater soil erosion, releasing mercury stored in the soil to flow to streams, rivers and beyond, according to a USGS press release on the article.

27 September 2013 Certainty of Climate Warming Beyond Debate, Report Says  Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are getting steadily and measurably warmer, and the likelihood is 95 percent or greater that human activity is causing the higher temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading body studying this scientific area, released the finding September 27 in Stockholm.
Kerry on Release of Assessment by Climate Change Panel

26 September 2013 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down, Economy Up, Report Shows   U.S. economic growth will be sustained in the years to come, even while the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions decline, according to the 2014 Climate Action Report, issued in draft form by the U.S. State Department.    “Investments in renewable energy have led to the rapid growth of wind, solar and geothermal power in the energy mix,” the draft report says. A second significant factor is the adaptation of new drilling methods that have allowed cheaper access to natural gas deposits underground, thus displacing the use of coal, a more GHG-intense fuel.

23 September 2013 Scientists Say Soot Caused Alps Glacier Retreat in 1860s   A NASA-led team of scientists has uncovered strong evidence that soot from a rapidly industrializing Europe caused the abrupt retreat of mountain glaciers in the European Alps that began in the 1860s, a period often thought of as the end of the Little Ice Age.

20 September 2013 U.S. Environment Agency Advances Climate Change Policy   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed stricter standards for limiting emissions from new power plants.  Explaining the power plant proposals in a speech to a Washington audience, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she is following a presidential directive to design domestic policies that send a global message about U.S. commitment to meeting the climate change challenge.

09 September 2013 Human-Caused Climate Change Seen in 2012 Extreme Weather  Human influences are having an impact on some extreme weather and climate events, according to the report Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective released by the American Meteorological Society.  The report shows that the effects of natural weather and climate fluctuations played a key role in the intensity and evolution of the 2012 extreme events. However, in some events, the analyses revealed compelling evidence that human-caused climate change, through the emission of heat-trapping gases, also contributed to the extreme event.

06 September 2013 G20 Pledges Action on Climate Change, Greenhouse Gases  Nations of the world’s leading economies rank climate change along with growth, jobs, investment and trade as a key issue of the future, one that will extract ever higher costs if “we delay additional actions,” according to language of the St. Petersburg Declaration, adopted by the G20 nations.
White House Fact Sheet on 2013 G20 Summit

29 August 2013 Energy Innovation Will Balance Climate Change Harm U.S. innovation in energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies is moving at a steady pace, and Obama administration policies are aimed at further accelerating that speed as part of the recently announced strategy toward a low-carbon economy.

08 August 2013 Global Climate Survey Shows Warming Evidence The year 2012 was among the 10 warmest on record, according to the 2012 State of the Climate report, compiled by almost 400 scientists from 52 nations.

01 August 2013 Environmental Care Creates Economic Growth Environmental protection is good for the economy and creates jobs, according to decades of national experience.

20 July 2013 Kerry on Getting the U.S.-China Climate Partnership Right  "Today, it’s not just our geopolitics that are changing — it’s the earth itself. And it requires a new partnership with China to meet the challenge. … Nothing less than a complete and collaborative transformation of the way we use and produce energy will be enough to tackle the urgent threat of climate change."

12 July 2013 North American Nations Aim for Greener Region  Top environmental officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed on an action plan  to improve environmental standards in the transportation sector, act on climate change and improve air quality.  The actions emerged from a meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a continental alliance with an almost 20-year history of cooperation on these issues.

10 July 2013 State Dept. Facts on U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group  The United States and China have agreed to five new action initiatives with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by tackling the largest sources of emissions in both countries. These initiatives were developed by the U.S.-China Working Group on Climate Change and presented in a Report agreed to by Leaders’ Special Representatives at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

05 July 2013 Public-Private Partnership to Address Tropical Deforestation (via IIPDigital)  The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a whole-of-government initiative led by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State, welcomed three global civil society groups as new partners in the public-private partnership to address tropical deforestation.

02 July 2013 Environmental Toolkit Helps World Find U.S. Products  The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have launched an interactive online buyer’s guide that will help buyers around the world easily find the U.S. products most useful to them.

29 June 2013 President Obama on Confronting the Climate Change Growing Threat  In his weekly address of 29 June 2013, President Obama told the American people about a plan he unveiled a few days earlier to confront the growing threat of climate change. The president said the plan would cut carbon pollution, protect against the impacts of climate change and lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.

27 June 2013 Climate Change Puts Marine Economy at Risk, Scientists Say  Accelerating climate change is increasing the difficulty of maritime activities at the same time it heightens the risk of natural hazards, according to a joint statement issued by a scientific organization representing 65,000 members worldwide.
Century-Old Science Helps Confirm Global Warming

27 June 2013 U.S. Estimates Its Ability to Store Carbon Underground  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has calculated the carbon storage capacity of the United States.   The United States has the potential to store about 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide in geologic basins throughout the country, according to the first-ever national carbon-sequestration assessment released June 26 by the USGS.

25 June 2013 Obama Has New Plan for Climate Change, Carbon Reduction  President Obama outlined his latest proposals to reduce U.S. carbon emissions and prepare the nation for climate change June 25. At the same time, he pledged that the United States will lead the world in helping other nations make the transition to cleaner fuels, allowing this generation to bequeath a cleaner, safer planet to the future.
 • Obama on New National Action Plan on Climate Change 

20 June 2013 Study of Maine Seabirds Shows Effects of Environmental Changes   Thirty years of research and monitoring on Maine seabirds show that the marine environment is changing fast and ocean birds may be failing to adapt. Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge staff began studying the birds in the early 1980s. ... Ocean warming, offshore energy development and competition from commercial fisheries have taken a toll on the seabirds, refuge staff found.

20 June 2013 Energy Innovation Key to Economic Growth, Clean Environment  The second person to serve President Obama as energy secretary is roaring into the job at full throttle. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz appeared before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to explain how he’ll tackle the administration’s goals to produce more energy, grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time.

28 May 2013 Energy Efficiency Increasing in U.S. Buildings  Participants in the Better Buildings Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, are reporting a 2.5 percent increase in efficiency since they entered the campaign in 2011. Commercial and industrial buildings account for roughly half of the nation’s entire energy consumption each year.

22 May 2013 Coast Guard Offers Plan for Safety, Security in Arctic  Premiering the Arctic strategy at a Washington policy and research institute, United States CoastGuard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp described the Arctic as “the emerging maritime frontier, vital to our national interests, economy and security.” USCG is responsible for maritime governance and safety.

17 May 2013 More Governments Step into Arctic Circle  Just eight nations have territory on the shores of the icy Arctic Ocean, but five more nations have gained designation as official “observer states” to the Arctic Council. More are applying for that level of access to the panel, underscoring the increased recognition in recent years of the global importance of the Arctic.

15 May 2013 Addressing Climate Change Is Focal Point of Arctic Summit   The Arctic Council presides over one of the Earth’s coldest places, but the warming of the Arctic and the overall planetary trend of climate change were the dominant topics as the council met in Kiruna, Sweden.  Representing the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry said the “ominous” threat of climate change is a shared challenge for the world.

15 May 2013 Secretary Kerry's Remarks at the Arctic Council Ministerial Session

14 May 2013 Arctic Nations Plan for Spills, Environmental Change  Secretary of State John Kerry will join counterparts from seven other nations May 15 to discuss their shared stewardship of the Arctic, its fragile environment and its unique biodiversity.  Members of the Arctic Council are set to sign an agreement on oil-spill response in the region and to review the first assessment of Arctic biodiversity ever conducted.   The Arctic Council is the only diplomatic forum focused solely on the entire Arctic region, monitoring environment, climate change, biodiversity, marine issues and other topics.
 • Kerry on Climate Change, Future of the Arctic 

22 April 2013 Earth Day - Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry "The science is screaming at all of us and demands action. From the far reaches of Antarctica’s Ross Sea to tropical wetlands in Southeast Asia, we have a responsibility to safeguard and sustainably manage our planet’s natural resources, and the United States remains firm in its commitment to addressing global environmental challenges."

18 April 2013 Global Clean Air Group Makes Progress in First Year  Warmer temperatures, melting polar ice and rising sea levels are focus issues for Earth Day 2013 April 22. An international initiative to address those problems over the last 14 months has mobilized governments, international organizations and world mega-cities to actions aimed at slowing warming and preventing releases of methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants.

04 April 2013 Cloud Cover Seen as Cause in Greenland Glacier Meltdown  The melting of Greenland's glaciers in the summer of 2012 was as extensive as it has been in more than a century, and U.S. scientists now conclude that a very particular type of cloud formation made the difference.  The research team found that July 2012 cloud conditions over Greenland's ice sheet caused just enough surface warming and retention of planetary heat to cause an abnormally high level of warming on the world's largest island.

29 March 2013  U.S. Shapes Climate Change Response Plans  The Obama administration is developing action plans to adapt to and lessen the impact of climate change, with two reports issued by different government entities in late March.   The recommendations emerging from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Department of Interior follow through on a priority that was front and center in President Obama's State of the Union address delivered in January.

12 March 2013 New Evidence on Earth and Within It Affirms Climate Change  Two research projects releasing data in early March provide new evidence that the Earth is warmer than it used to be. One group used satellite data to track the spread of plant life into higher latitudes than cold temperatures ever allowed in the past. Another group has examined ice and sediment cores gathered around the globe to calculate an unbroken record of temperatures over the past 11,300 years.

28 January 2013 Cities' Heat Changing Weather in Far-Away Places  The heat that seeps out of leaky buildings and the warmth of cars purring in traffic contribute to the mass of heat that pulses into the atmosphere from urban centers.  Research just published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows that urban heat can change the behavior of major atmospheric systems that sweep across North America and Northern Asia.

15 January 2013 State's Stern Shares Hopes for Climate Talks at World Summit   U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern told delegates to the 6th World Future Energy Summit that the world faces “a fundamental challenge and a genuine opportunity” in new international climate talks.   Stern said that at the recent conference on climate change, participants pointed the way forward for development of a new agreement having legal force that would be applicable to everyone, not just developed countries, in contrast to the Kyoto Protocol.
 • The New Climate Negotiations: Ambition, Differentiation and Flexibility

05 January 201 U.S. Climate Envoy Stern at State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board  "We need a broad, national conversation about climate change so that we can start thinking rationally about policy, rather than just losing the issue to hot-button politics".

2012

20 December 2012 Scientists Report Climate Impact on Animals, Ecosystems   Animals and plants are moving up mountainsides seeking cooler temperatures. Some fish species have smaller ranges and less abundance. Other species are diminishing in their numbers, unable to adjust to climate change, with extinction being a possible outcome. These findings come from a wide-ranging study produced by a collaboration of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), academia and environmentally oriented nongovernmental organizations.

19 December 2012 Data Show Less Ice, Snow in Arctic; Implications Are Global   An annual assessment of climatic conditions in the Arctic shows record-breaking declines in summer sea ice, spring snow cover and the Greenland ice sheet.  "The Arctic is changing in both predictable and unpredictable ways, so we must expect surprises,” said Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the NOAA administrator.

11 December 2012 Lamps Add to Global Emissions; Soot-Cutting Campaign Grows   Kerosene lamps used to light small spaces produce soot emissions that fuel global warming, but changing lighting technology could help contain global temperatures. Real-world measurements of the lamp emissions accumulated by the research team reveal that a relatively high percentage of the fuel is converted to black carbon, also called soot. The black wisps of smoke drifting upward from a burning lamp are almost pure carbon.

27 November 2012 Talks on Global Climate Change Open in Doha, Qatar  The world’s top decisionmakers on climate are meeting in Doha, Qatar, over the next two weeks for the U.N. Climate Change Conference. The 18th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework on Climate Change is expected to focus on strategies for accelerating actions to reduce greenhouse gases and to inhibit the increase of global temperatures.

14 November 2012 California Puts a Price on Carbon  California is holding its first carbon emissions permit auction November 14. The auction is a critical component of the state’s cap-and-trade program, a market-based initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating incentives for companies to limit their pollution.

18 October 2012 U.S., Partners Make Progress in Soot Emission Reductions  School buses, locomotives, garbage trucks and fleets of other dirty machines are being replaced thanks to funds provided by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency.

12 October 2012 Scientists Theorize Global Sunblock Could Lessen Warming  Blocking the sunlight that reaches Earth might be another means to lessen the effects of climate change, some U.S. scientists theorize. 

11 October 2012 Arctic Wind Shift Could Affect Ice Loss and Weather, Study Says  Changes in summer Arctic wind patterns contribute not only to an unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice, but could also bring about shifts in North American and European weather, according to a new NOAA-led study published in Geophysical Research Letters.

01 October 2012 Marshlands, Hungry for CO2, Could Slow Warming   Rising sea levels are among the most threatening consequences of climate change, but new research suggests that higher waters in coastal marshlands may help slow climate change as they enable the ecosystem to more quickly capture and consume carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

20 September 2012 U.S, European Satellites Work Together for Weather  The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites launched the environmental satellite METOP-B from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

01 September 2012 NASA-Funded Study Helps Untangle Methane Mystery Increased capture of natural gas from oil fields probably accounts for up to 70 percent of the dramatic leveling off seen in atmospheric methane at the end of the 20th century, according to new University of California Irvine (UCI) research.
Methane Q & A

30 August 2012 Antarctic Ice Sheet Holds Methane Reservoir, Studies Say  The remains of life forms that thrived long ago in a temperate Antarctic have probably been converted into a large cache of methane that could be released if the ice sheet shrinks, researchers report

02 August 2012 NOAA Says Oceans, Ecosystems Soak Up Half of Carbon Emissions  The planet’s capacity to absorb carbon emissions is almost keeping pace with the increasing amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) spewed into the atmosphere by human activities. But that won’t last forever, scientists say.  GHGs have increased substantially over the half-century span of the data examined by these scientists.

11 July 2012 2011 Weather Data Show Effects of Climate Change  The year 2011 will be remembered for extreme weather events, most notably two occurrences of the Pacific La Niña phenomenon that contributed to droughts in some places and worse-than-average cyclone seasons in others.

27 June 2012 Interior Secretary, Deputy Secretary at Norway Arctic Roundtable    U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes spoke at the Norway Arctic Roundtable in Trondheim, Norway.

26 June 2012 U.S. Makes Strides in Clean Energy   Our Science Officer focuses on sustainability projects in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and on Native American tribal lands.

20 June 2012 Rio+20: NASA Satellite Data Support Sustainable Development  Forest fires in Guatemala, snow pack in the Himalayas, changes in ground cover in Africa — their potential impact on populations, water supplies and farmlands is better understood when seen from a satellite.

20 June 2012 U.S. Envoy for Climate Change Stern at Rio+20

08 May 2012 Polar Bears Can Adapt, But How Quickly?  Scientists from Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United States find the evolution of the polar bear shows the species has adapted to past climate changes but question whether the species can adapt quickly enough to survive the changes now occurring in the Earth’s climate.

02 May 2012 Warmer Arctic Brings Opportunities and Risk, Experts Say  Warmer temperatures causing global climate change are recorded month after month, but the greatest evidence of environmental change appears in the Arctic.

24 April 2012 Climate Change Coalition Gains New Members, Momentum  A two-month-old international plan to accelerate action against climate-damaging pollutants is gaining momentum with decisions from Stockholm.   The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is targeting a subgroup of greenhouse gases with an oversized effect on global warming, including methane, soot and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

11 April 2012 Long-Term Study Reveals Potential Results of Climate Change   Ecosystems dependent on snow and ice may suffer the most adverse impacts from climate change, according to a body of information accumulated through the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

16 March 2012 NASA Renews Arctic Flights Studying Polar Ice  From mid-March through mid-May, researchers working on Operation IceBridge will spend a lot of the time in the air, as they fly daily missions over the planet’s most northern regions to collect data on sea and land ice.   IceBridge will join efforts to validate and calibrate sea ice measurements by CryoSat-2, the European Space Agency’s ice-monitoring satellite.

16 February 2012 Campaign Launches to Cut Methane, Soot and Reduce Climate Change   The United States and a group of international partners launched a new battle in the campaign against climate change, forming a coalition to reduce the release of a subgroup of greenhouse gases (GHG) that have an oversized effect on global warming.

09 February 2012 New NASA Data Offer Greater Detail in Earth Ice Depletion  Satellite observations accumulated over a seven-year period show that the volume of Earth’s land ice mass decreased by 4.3 trillion tons (more than 4,150 cubic kilometers) and increased global sea level by 12 millimeters.

2011

COP-17 logo

The COP-17 climate change event

Polar bear walking on ice (USFWS)

Melting sea ice forces polar bears to swim longer distances. (USFWS photo)

COP-17

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

26 September 2011 New Data from Pacific May Help Save Coral Reefs  A new coral reef observation station is operating in Saipan in the Northern Mariana island chain of the North Pacific. The station, installed in August, will transmit an array of environmental observations, providing another monitoring tool for the Coral Reef Early Warning System  developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

19 September 2011 U.S. Climate Negotiator: “Real Progress Can Be Made”  Seventy days remain until international leaders will gather in South Africa to discuss ways to tackle climate change.  A meeting held between leaders from 17 major economies in Washington to discuss the road forward was productive, U.S. lead climate negotiator Todd Stern said, adding that several outstanding issues, such as the future of the Kyoto Protocol, remain thorny.

15 September 2011 Cleaner Fuel on Ships Produces Fewer Emissions, NOAA Finds  Air pollution emitted by a seagoing vessel drops sharply when the ship switches to a cleaner, low-sulfur fuel, according to a study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

25 August 2011 Seattle’s Climate Strategy Pays Off  It is difficult to imagine a water shortage in Seattle, Washington.  Yet the threat of water shortages — triggered by glacier melt and accelerated by warming temperatures — has inspired the city of 609,000 to embark on one of the most ambitious climate protection plans in the nation. The city has launched plans to cut energy waste by insulating and retrofitting buildings, to reduce driving by building new transit networks, and to position itself as a hotbed of clean-energy jobs and innovation.

29 June 2011 Climate Report: Warmer Temperatures, Extreme Events Mark 2010  The year 2010 ranked as one of the two warmest years on record, according to an assessment compiled by almost 370 scientists in 45 countries.  The findings present “multiple indicators, same bottom line conclusion,” according to a NOAA briefing paper. “Consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans: The world continues to warm.”

24 June 2011 U.S. to Discuss Climate Change, Poverty with Pacific Islands  The Obama administration is sending a high-level delegation to the Pacific Islands to engage governments in the region on climate change, the welfare of Pacific Islanders and U.S. assistance to the region.

24 May 2011 Trees Have Carbon Task Want to do something about climate change? Plant a tree. 

13 May 2011 "Cool Roofs" Save Energy Cool roofs are made of materials that reflect solar energy, moving heat away from the structure below it. These materials can include specially coated metal, tile and even asphalt shingles.

12 May 2011 Arctic Council Completes Major Science Report on the State of the Arctic Cryosphere 

11 May 2011 Are You Living on an "Urban Heat Island"?  When you are living in a busy city, it’s hard to think of yourself as living on an “island.”  But you are:  an urban heat island, to be exact.  All those concrete buildings, paved streets and sidewalks are absorbing heat, promoting smog and increasing air pollution.

10 May 2011 U.S. Takes High-Level Interest in Arctic Meeting  Two U.S. Cabinet secretaries head to Nuuk, Greenland, for a meeting of the Arctic Council May 12, devoting a “historic” level of executive branch attention, according to one U.S. official, to this meeting of nations with territorial claims to the top of the world.

25 April 2011 Studies Say Cities Are Ill Prepared for Hazards of Climate Change  A U.S. researcher says cities worldwide are particularly vulnerable to damage from the effects of climate change — and doing little to prepare for them.  The cities also are failing to reduce the damage they are causing through carbon emissions, the researcher said.

20 April  2011 State Department Releases Benchmarks to Meet Energy and Sustainability Goals The Department of State released its Fiscal Year 2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance in accordance with Executive Order 13514, which directs Federal agencies to meet a range of energy, water, pollution, and waste reduction targets.  The scorecard, issued by the Office of Management and Budget, indicates the Department is meeting most of its environmental requirements.

UN Climate Change Conference 2010

UN Climate Change Conference 2010

UN Climate Change Conference 2010

Representatives from 192 countries travel to Mexico in November for another round of climate negotiations.  The 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change took place from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

Reports & Publications

Biographies

2009

23 December 2009  VIDEO : An Insiders View of COP-15   Jock Whittlesey, the Environment Counselor at the U.S. Embassy London, talks through his experience at the UN Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen.
 • Video : The U.S. and COP-15

18 December 2009 Remarks by President Barack Obama at Copenhagen Summit

17 December 2009 Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton The Obama administration is prepared to join other major economies in coming up with $100 billion per year over the next 10 years for a fund to help developing countries cope with climate-change needs. However, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says, any global climate-change agreement will also need to include transparency standards to help verify that each country is fulfilling its commitments.

14 December 2009 Behind the Scenes At COP-15  Watch our man in Copenhagen, Jock Whittlesey, the Environment Counselor at the U.S. Embassy London, reporting from COP-15 climate summit.

14 December 2009 Fact sheet: Clean Energy Technology Announcements  Today at the Copenhagen climate conference, on behalf of President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the launch of a new initiative to promote clean energy technologies in developing countries.  Secretary Chu also welcomed progress under the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) and invited his counterparts in MEF and other countries to a first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial next year.

11 December 2009 Press Briefing from COP15 by Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change (links to COP15.state.gov)

09 December 2009 Press Briefing from COP15 by Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change (links to COP15.state.gov)

07 December 2009 Press Briefing by Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing  U.S. Delegation press conference at COP15 in Copenhagen on December 7, 2009.

04 December 2009 Statement from the White House Press Secretary on the United Nations Climate Change Conference

16 September 2009 The 21st-Century Challenge  Award-winning writer and journalist Michael Specter, writes on the realities of global warming and how urgent steps must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.

28 August 2009 Adaptation to Climate Change Focus of Meeting in Geneva  For the first time since scientists determined unequivocally that the planet is warming, experts who collect and analyze climate data and those who manage the world's land and water resources will meet to decide how to help each other adapt to a changing climate. At the third World Climate Conference (WCC-3) in Geneva, August 31-September 4, some 1,500 policymakers and resource managers — the end users of climate forecasts — from more than 150 countries will join with scientific experts to begin the hard work of translating science into practical steps that people can use to adapt to a changing climate.

11 May 2009 New Research Reveals Droughts Common in West Africa  The decades-long drought that began in West Africa in the 1960s is not an anomaly compared with what the region has faced during the last three millennia. An analysis of sediment from a crater lake in Ghana shows periods of severe drought lasting from decades to centuries throughout the last 3,000 years, according to a study published in the April 17 issue of Science magazine.

29 April 2009 Chairman's Summary from the First Preparatory Meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

24 April 2009 Washington Hosts Climate Change Talks with 17 Nations  The Obama administration is convening a meeting of 17 major nations April 27–28 in Washington to begin talks on international action to address climate change. The talks are a prelude to a U.N. meeting set for December in Copenhagen when a new global treaty on greenhouse gas reduction is expected to be forged.
 • Preparatory Session for the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

21 April 200 Antarctic Treaty Nations Tackle Tourism, Protect Native Species  Native Antarctic animal and plant species will be better protected and the number of tourists to the planet's southernmost continent will be limited after a two-week meeting in Baltimore of representatives from 28 nations that have ratified the 50-year-old Antarctic Treaty.

30 March 2009 United States to Host Climate Change Forum in April  The United States has invited 16 major economies to a forum in April to discuss climate change and clean energy ventures, the White House said.

19 March 2009 "Planetary Skin" Tool Aims to Improve Response to Climate Change  Every day, on and above Earth, millions of sensors collect vast amounts of data representing interactions among the planet's systems of land, air, water and life. This is the kind of data needed to address the complexities of climate change or a move to a low-carbon-dioxide world economy, but gathering it is just the first step.

06 March 2009 Those Most Affected by Climate Change Seen as Unaware of Dangers  The issue of climate change has gained prominence in the Western press, but in many developing countries the topic rarely appears in headlines, and citizens remain relatively uninformed about the risks they face from environmental degradation.

27 January 2009 Obama Makes Climate Change a National Priority   Climate change is a planetary process, but its effects — sea level rise, shrinking glaciers, changes in plant and animal distribution, early-blooming trees, permafrost thaws — are regional and local. Some of the effects are already occurring, and the newly installed Obama administration, in power for just more than a week, is moving fast to put the United States in a leadership position to work with nations of the world and meet the challenges of climate change and energy security.

26 January 2009 Obama Sets Bold New Principles for U.S. Energy, Climate Policies  President Obama vowed the United States will lead the global fight against global warming as he moved emphatically to overturn Bush administration's energy and climate change policies. During his campaign, Obama promised to fight global warming, cut energy consumption and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources.

01-12 December 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań

Climate Action Change 2014

  • 02 January 2014. This report details actions the United States is taking domestically and internationally to mitigate, adapt to, and assist others in addressing climate change.

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