An all-day live webcast is connecting people around the globe. It’s called the Dirty Weather Report and features noted climate scientists, public officials, business leaders, activists and celebrities and just local people like Dawa Sherpa, a South Asian mountain guide who describes how warming temperatures have changed the landscape in his Himalayan community.
“In my father’s time they used to have a glacier up there and that’s where the fresh water used to come from. The ice would melt and it would come down, these little streams here," he said. "But now there is no glacier so the ice is melting. Now our village is suffering chronic water shortages.”
The webcast follows a similar online program last year sponsored by the Climate Reality Project. The group was founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2006 to counter myths about climate change.
President and CEO, Maggie Fox, says this year’s program focuses on the connection between climate change and extreme weather events, such as ‘superstorm’ Sandy, which in late October left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions without power on America’s East Coast.
“Sandy was not created by climate change, but the fact that sea level rise has increased the destructiveness of it, the warming oceans has a great deal to do with scope, the breadth and the ferocity of the storm," she said. "What we are looking at is existing weather made much more severe as a result of changes that are occurring in our climate.”
Hour-by-Hour Climate Trip Around the Planet
The Dirty Weather Report takes viewers on an hour-by-hour trip around the planet to witness the impact of record-breaking temperatures, historic droughts, crushing floods and devastating wildfires.
Fox says that by encouraging people to log in and join with family, friends and others in a global internet community, the project hopes to generate conversations about climate beyond today’s event.
“We actually have created over 70 videos and a bunch of other avenues for people to take a pledge, to share that pledge to open up this conversation and really begin to broaden it at a global level,” she said.
Climate Change on Post-Election Agenda
Little mention was made of climate change during the recent U.S. presidential campaign, but President Barack Obama addressed the issue Wednesday in his first news conference since his re-election. He told reporters the U.S. intends to combat global warming in concert with other nations, but he added, a climate change agenda that ignores economic realities won’t work.
“If on the other hand we can shape an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth, and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader, I think that’s something that the American people would support,” he said.
Like the Climate Reality Project’s 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report, President Obama hopes to promote more discussion on climate change in the coming weeks and months by engaging scientists, engineers and elected officials. The U.S. will also join international negotiators at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar later this month.