U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moo spoke at a conference at the Vatican today that is being attended by leaders of different faiths, heads of state, scientists and thinkers. The participants in the conference released a statement saying that nature “is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to respect rather than ravage the garden that is our home." The meeting comes ahead of Pope Francis’ encyclical (a letter sent out to bishops) this summer, which is expected to directly address climate change and the Church. World leaders will soon meet again in Paris to discuss climate change and how it will continue to be addressed globally ... Discuss

New studies from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have found that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded on planet earth. Temperature records were broken across the world, including in parts Alaska, North Africa, Europe, Eastern Russia and South America. The director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies said the findings clearly suggest man-made climate change is a reality we must deal with. “The data shows quite clearly that it's the greenhouse gas trends that are responsible for the majority of the trends.” The new studies underscore concerns from the U.N. that increasing extreme weather could effect how much of the world is able to access food and clean water ... Discuss

This weekend, more than 300,000 people marched on midtown Manhattan in what’s being called “the largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet.” Celebrities (including Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo), political leaders (including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore) and people who were bussed in from cities around the country took part in the People’s Climate March, a massive effort to persuade world leaders to take more dramatic action to fight climate change. This week, global political leaders will gather at a UN summit and discuss measures and new agreements that will be put in place to combat climate change. In a statement, Ban Ki-moon said, “While marching with the people, I felt that I had become a secretary-general of the people. There is no Plan B because we do not have a planet B. We have to work and galvanize our action” ... Discuss

A group of massive companies including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, Kroger, Honeywell and DuPont have come to a voluntary agreement with the White House to cut or eliminate the use of the powerful greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbon. The man-made gas is used in refrigeration and in air conditioners. The agreement, which says that the companies will stop using the gas in favor of cleaner alternatives over the course of 10 years, is a pretty big deal. As The New York Times notes, the 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being eliminated by the new move “is about 1.5 percent of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions, or the same as taking 15 million cars off the road for 10 years” ... Discuss

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released new findings showing that atmospheric CO2 levels rose at alarmingly fast rates in 2013. From The Washington Post: “[The surge] surprised scientists and spurred fears of an accelerated warming of the planet in decades to come.”

According to the story, the record levels of greenhouse gases seem to indicate not, only a rise in emissions from manmade sources (like pollution and car exhaust), but also show “a diminishing ability” of oceans and vegetation to process the CO2. The head of the WMO’s Global Atmospheric Watch program warned, “If the oceans and the biosphere cannot absorb as much carbon, the effect on the atmosphere could be much worse …. The changes we’re seeing are really drastic. We are seeing the growth rate rising exponentially” ... Discuss

The area around Lake Tanganyika, located in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, is touted as one of the few “unspoiled ecosystems” on the planet. The longest freshwater lake in the world and the second deepest, Tanganyika’s crystal blue depths hold around 18 percent of all available fresh water at any given time. It also contains well over 200 species of fish that occur nowhere else in the world.

For generations, communities along the shoreline have thrived on the lake’s clean water, vibrant fishery and accessible boat transportation. Read More