US welcomed back to Paris Agreement with stark new climate change images
Release Date 15 February 2021
A new ‘Stars and Climate Stripes’ visualisation of climate change in the US shows a continuing trend of rising temperatures, as new President Joe Biden prepares to lead the country back into the Paris Agreement.
The University of Reading and Professor Ed Hawkins have created the new image, combining bespoke coloured stripes graphics showing the visible heating trend for the US with the national iconography of the Stars and Stripes.
President Biden has made climate action one of the top priorities of his new administration, and notified the United Nations of the US intention to rejoin the international accord on 20 January, the day of his inauguration. The process of rejoining takes 30 days, meaning the US is set to officially be part of the Paris Agreement again on 19 February.
Countries in the Paris Agreement share a commitment to reducing carbon emissions with the aim of keeping global temperature to less than 2°C above pre-industrial times.
The new graphic to mark this significant moment is available to download for free at www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/warming-stripes. Every American who wants to show their support for a greater understanding of the climate crisis can now display actual data showing how temperatures have risen where they live.
Original climate stripes graphics for every US state can also be downloaded at showyourstripes.info.
“Just as the iconic Stars and Stripes represent American freedom and unity, the climate stars and stripes stand as a symbol of the impact humans are already having on our climate, wherever we live." - Professor Ed Hawkins, University of Reading
Professor Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading and creator of the climate stripes, said: “Just as the iconic Stars and Stripes represent American freedom and unity, the climate stars and stripes stand as a symbol of the impact humans are already having on our climate, wherever we live.
“The increasing reds and decreasing blues in the stripes show how far the climate has warmed already. If we want to leave future generations with the same freedoms we have come to enjoy, we cannot ignore this trend – or the deadly impacts of where climate change is going next.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet Paris Agreement targets will require major, government-level action, as well as changes by individuals. The United States has an opportunity to show true global leadership, and acknowledging the impacts and causes of warming that has already happened is an excellent starting point.”
The original climate stripes graphic was created by Professor Hawkins in 2018 and has since been shared worldwide. It uses stripes in shades of blue and red to illustrate the average global temperature for each year for more than a century, instantly showing the clear warming trend across the world.
Since then it has been replicated to show temperature rises in more than 200 countries and each of the US states. More than a million people downloaded these in the first week after they were made available for the public in summer 2019.
The stripes have become a global symbol for climate change, having been shared on social media by people and organisations including the World Meteorological Organization and Extinction Rebellion. Television meteorologists have adopted them for the Mets Unite movement, and the stripes were used as the cover of The Economist magazine, on the cover of the Guardian newspaper, and covered in newspapers globally.
The US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis currently displays the stripes on its website, and US senators wore badges displaying the stripes to President Trump’s State of the Union address in 2019.