Why the Global Climate Action Summit Really Mattered

2 days ago

You could be forgiven for thinking we’ve been here before.

A bunch of high-level Davos types come together to talk abstractly for a few days and at the end make a bunch of bold pronouncements about what so and so should do and what should happen to solve the climate crisis.

And then, well, it’s not always clear what does happen.

Last week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, though, was different. Different, not just in the fact that it was firmly focused on the Paris Agreement process to decarbonize the global economy – but was largely comprised of governors, mayors, business leaders, and civil society representatives with no official seat in UN climate negotiations.

Different, also, in the way it brought these people together to bring real pressure on the national leaders who do. And different in the way that what came out of the Summit has every promise of making a lot happen. A whole lot.

Making Good on Big Promises

Any primary schooler knows that anyone can make a promise. What matters is if – and how – you make good on it.

When it comes to the Paris Agreement, the question of making good on promises is becoming critical. Because if we’re going to have a shot at keeping global warming well-below 2 degrees Celsius, we need national leaders to make good on all the promises they made in the agreement to slash emissions.

Then we need them to actually make even more ambitious commitments to cutting emissions. And make good on those too.

Speed matters. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a carbon budget showing how much greenhouse gas we could emit while giving the planet a decent chance of keeping warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less.
 



Emission reduction trajectories associated with a 66% chance of avoiding more than 2C warming by starting year. Solid black line shows historical emissions, while dashed black line shows emissions constant at 2016 levels. Data and chart design from Robbie Andrew at CICERO and the Global Carbon Project. Chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.

Credit: Carbon Brief

Problem is, we’ve already spent most of it. Which means we’ve only got a limited time to get to peak emissions and then rapidly decarbonize to make that 2-degree goal. Naturally, the faster we get to peak emissions, the more time we have and the easier it will be to make the large-scale transition to low-carbon living necessary.

Outside of the White House and fossil fuel company boardrooms, almost everyone agrees that this is a critical goal. The big question is, how do we do it? How do national leaders know that they can fulfil the commitments they’ve already made – and then make even bolder ones?

That’s where the Global Climate Action Summit came in.

A New Approach to the Paris Process

Running September 12—14 and organized and co-chaired by California Governor Jerry Brown, the Summit took a different approach to the Paris process. With a few notable exceptions, the Summit wasn’t about the national leaders involved in actual UN negotiations and making commitments.

It was – for the most part – about all the states, cities, companies, organizations, and others doing the real work on the ground to meet them.

Looking forward to the UN’s COP 24 climate conference coming up in Katowice, Poland this December, the Summit aimed to give national leaders the confidence to work on implementing the Paris Agreement and raise the bar with even more ambitious commitments to de-carbonizing. And to do it now.

Or, to put it another way, to do more, faster.

The strategy was simple. First, show what’s working by bringing together representatives from many of the cities, states, businesses, and other organizations taking big steps to reduce their emissions. Companies like the Mahindra Group. Cities like Houston, Texas. States and districts like the Australian Capital Territory. Think of it as a message not just to national leaders, but to other cities, states, and businesses: “Hey, we can do this. Here’s how you can too.”

Second, the Summit aimed to assemble decision-makers with the power to effect change on a global scale – and then get them to commit to do more, faster.

With the tragedies of Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Manghut unfolding almost in parallel and underscoring the terrible cost of extreme weather linked to the climate crisis, what happened in San Francisco should give the rest of us real hope.

Because between the statements and the speeches, the Summit led to some huge developments. Developments that have the potential to accelerate the Paris Agreement process and de-carbonization worldwide. Developments that may – in the long run – be the bridge from “should” solve to “could” solve and even “would” solve the crisis.

Four developments in particular stand out.

California Leads by Example

Leading up to the Summit, the California state legislature made headlines passing SB 100, mandating that the state’s electricity sector generate all its power from zero-carbon sources by 2045.

That in itself was a major accomplishment – and, as expected, Governor Brown signed the bill into law. But then he went one step – a big step further – by issuing an executive order requiring California to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2045.

Just to take a step back, that’s the world’s fifth-largest economy saying it will largely de-carbonize every sector and get to zero net emissions within three decades. If that’s not a statement of purpose and challenge to basically every other state out there, it’s hard to say what is.

Plus, just consider what this order from such a massive economy says to the markets and industries that will – and won’t – help it reach that goal. It says the future is renewable. In 39-million-point font.

Coal’s Days Are Numbered

At last year’s COP 23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany, the governments of Canada and the UK launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), “a global alliance of national and sub-national governments, businesses and organizations working to advance the transition away from unabated coal power generation.”

Canada and the UK created the PPCA in recognition of the fact that all European Union and Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development states must fully phase out unabated coal by 2030 (and the rest of the world by 2050) if we’re going to meaningfully limit the impacts of climate change.

The idea quickly caught on and the coalition already had a long list of big names as members, including countries like France, Mexico, and New Zealand; subnational states and provinces like British Columbia in Canada and Washington State in the US; and major companies like Diageo and Marks and Spencer’s.

At the Summit, 10 new members joined, including the US states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New York; the cities of Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Rotterdam; and Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Spain’s Balearic Islands.

PPCA’s growth is such a big deal in part because many of its members (like the UK and Wales in particular) have historically relied on coal to power their development. Making this commitment to phase out unabated coal completely is another big sign that the end is coming for the dirtiest fuel we have.

We Have a Roadmap

We have a goal of keeping global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius and the Paris framework to get there. But there’s still been the lingering question of how we actually can do it.

Well, now we have a roadmap.

Leading up to the summit, a team of scientists and researchers from organizations including the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Climate Action Tracker, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Yale Data Driven got together and did the math(s) and analysis.

Their big finding, released in a report: For a realistic chance at holding the 2-degree warming line, the world needs to peak emissions and start accelerating de-carbonization in 2020. They call this “The Climate Turning Point.”

To do it, the team identifies six benchmarks in renewable energy, transport, land use, heavy industry, city and state governments, and investment, along with the major steps necessary in each to make 2020 this turning point.

Ambitious? Yes. A work in progress? Most likely. But it also gives governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals concrete targets and pressure points to focus on between now and 2020. Because as the report indicates, we don’t have time to waste.

Big-Picture Momentum Is Growing

One of the biggest takeaways of the Summit was that beneath the headlines, momentum for action at the regional, local, and business level is real and growing. As just one example of the many, many big commitments, over 100 mayors, state and regional leaders, and CEOs pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Of course, much depends on how they act on these commitments, but if the policymakers heading to COP 24 needed convincing that the world is ready for bold solutions and has the technology to support them, they got it in spades in San Francisco.

What comes next?

That’s up to us.

The Summit showed the tools and will are there for rapid de-carbonization. If you’re ready to do your part to help and you live in the US, join a Climate Reality chapter near you. No matter where you live, sign up for our activist email list and learn how you can train as a Climate Reality Leader with former Vice President Al Gore and mobilize your community to support real climate solutions today.

Global Climate Action Summitparis agreementcaliforniaclimate actionrenewablesThe Climate Reality ProjectThis Is a Big Deal: California Goes All in on Clean EnergyFrom Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?Forget Trump’s Paris Announcement: The 5 Climate Stories that Matter a Year OnLead: Organized by California Governor Jerry Brown, the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco from September 12-14 led to a lot of big deal commitments that have the potential to accelerate the Paris Agreement process and de-carbonization worldwide.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/why-global-climate-action-summit-really-mattered?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Why the Global Climate Action Summit Really MatteredTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2DiV8Tu
ipacha

Fight Back Against the Dirty Power Scam

2 days 20 hours ago

We’ll cut right to the chase. Here’s the reality: Seven out of 10 Americans know our climate is changing and want our leaders to act.

So why is Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looking to do just the opposite – weakening America’s Clean Power Plan with a proposed replacement rule that, according to EPA’s own analysis, could lead to 1,400 premature deaths every year by 2030?

It’s a Dirty Power Scam.

 

The sham replacement of the Clean Power Plan is a dangerous move – it could cause up to 1,400 premature deaths each year. #ProtectCPP #DirtyPowerScam

Posted by Climate Reality on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

 

Backed by powerful oil, coal, and natural gas companies, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler – a former coal lobbyist – has proposed replacing America’s Clean Power Plan with a much weaker new rule, the so-called “Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule.”

This Dirty Power Scam would allow Big Polluters to keep poisoning our air and destroying our climate, regardless of what it means for everyday citizens or the future of our planet. Now is the time to support critical climate change safeguards and keep building a clean energy economy that works for all Americans. Add your name to fight back against the Dirty Power Scam – and demand that Trump’s EPA puts people before polluters.

clean power planDonald trumpEPAEnvironmental Protection Agencyclimate changeunited statesThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the USClimate Reality Chapters Are Driving ChangeAmericans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)Lead: Affordable Clean Energy Rule? More like a Dirty Power Scam. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/fight-back-against-dirty-power-scam?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=majorityEmail Subject: Fight Back Against the Dirty Power ScamTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2DeRJVZ
rtaylor

Climate Change and Health: Food Security

5 days 18 hours ago

Everybody knows that a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains is one of the keys to living a long and happy life.

We also know that climate change is a major threat to agriculture. The reasons why are about as straightforward as it gets: In any given place, normal, long-established climatic patterns dictate the types of food we can grow, as well as when, where, and how we grow them.

But as global temperatures rise, weather patterns shift, and precipitation becomes more unpredictable because of the climate crisis, farmers are struggling to keep up. And unless we take action now to fight back, it’s a struggle they could lose – to the detriment of every single person on the planet.

“The world population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050. With 3.4 billion more mouths to feed…global demand for food could increase by between 59 and 98 percent,” according to Columbia University. “This means that agriculture around the world needs to step up production and increase yields.

“But scientists say that the impacts of climate change—higher temperatures, extreme weather, drought, increasing levels of carbon dioxide, and sea level rise—threaten to decrease the quantity and jeopardize the quality of our food supplies.”

The stakes don’t get much higher than that. Put plainly, these changes could transform the planet in ways that undermine its capacity to support a large and thriving human population. Here’s how:

Shifting Bread Baskets

A “bread basket” is a region that produces a large amount of the cereal grains (think wheat, corn, rice, oats, etc.) that are critical to the daily survival of billions of people. Cereal grains are staple crops –  eaten routinely, often daily, and in such quantities that they can make up a substantial portion of a person’s standard diet, supplying them with energy and nutrients.

Some well-known breadbaskets include the American and Canadian prairies, the Ukraine in Europe, vast swaths of Southeast Asia, and southern Brazil.

But “[as] temperatures rise, the best growing conditions for many crops are moving away from the tropics, and from lower lying land to cooler climbs,” Bloomberg reports. “The US corn belt stretching from Ohio to the Dakotas is edging toward the border with Canada.”

And while “shifting breadbaskets” don’t necessarily always mean “empty breadbaskets” (though, tell that to the farmers losing their livelihoods as crops migrate), the reasons crops are shifting away from the places they’ve long grown are part of a larger trend threatening the long-term sustainability of our food systems.

“You see guys now in Canada growing more corn, which was almost unheard of some time ago, growing soy beans,” agriculture journalist and author Chris Clayton told Climate Reality last year. “And when that year hits where food production in two or three bread baskets around the world is short a little bit – 10 percent here, 15 percent there – the risk of political instability becomes huge.”
 

Climate Facts: Climate Change and Food

Food for thought: Want to know how climate change affects you? Just take a look at your plate. #YEARSproject (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, October 16, 2017


Lower Crop Yields, Rising Prices, and Unrest

In our warming world, the circumstances Clayton describes above are becoming increasingly more likely. Indeed, in some places, they are already in motion.

“Eighty percent of the world’s crops are rain-fed, so most farmers depend on the predictable weather agriculture has adapted to in order to produce their crops,” Columbia writes. “However, climate change is altering rainfall patterns around the world.”

>> Free Download: Climate Change and the Water Cycle: Four Big Questions Answered <<

The amount of water a plant needs to flourish varies from species to species – and plants that have thrived in one area for thousands of years can be imperiled by even seemingly minor decreases in rainfall. On the other end of the spectrum, more rainfall isn’t always good for plant life – even if water is not collecting on the surface, soil can become over-saturated, and plants will drown.

These concerns multiply when changes in precipitation are coupled with rising temperatures.

If we keep burning fossil fuels without making any real efforts to cut emissions, we could see average surface temperatures on Earth warm by more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. This would devastate global agriculture.

Without effective climate mitigation, “each degree-Celsius increase in global mean temperature would, on average, reduce global yields of wheat by 6 percent, rice by 3.2 percent, maize by 7.4 percent, and soybean by 3.1 percent,” according to four independent estimates compiled and published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Approximately two-thirds of human caloric intake globally are provided by wheat, rice, maize, and soybeans. These crops are utterly central to the health and well-being of billions of people – and their futures are imperiled at a time of major global population growth.

These precipitous drops in staple crop yield are unlikely to happen suddenly or all at once, but as they escalate, it makes easy sense that they’ll translate into ever-higher prices at the supermarket – likely beginning sooner rather than later. It’s simple supply and demand: When something is needed or wanted by many, it often costs more – particularly if it’s in short supply.

Rising food prices are a burden – sometimes a very serious one – to families everywhere, but as Clayton mentions above, diminished food supplies and the resultant rising prices of staples like rice or wheat can also quickly lead to violent unrest.

“Food supply shocks and surging prices have the power to displace people and destabilize governments,” Bloomberg writes, “as riots in more than 70 countries during a crop crisis in 2007-2008 showed.”

You need look no further than Syria for an example of how agricultural issues related to the climate crisis can quickly spiral into a truly devastating conflict.

In Syria, a major climate-related long-term drought – said to be the Middle Eastern nation’s worst in 900 years – and related agricultural shortages were an “important driver of the initial unrest” that contributed to the destabilization of the country as it descended into a civil war that has claimed almost half a million lives, displaced nearly 7 million people, and created 4.8 million refugees.

Circumstances like these are unlikely to remain quarantined to only a handful of places for long, in large part because of how most of us get our hands on the food we eat.

“Because food is a globally traded commodity today, climate events in one region could raise prices and cause shortages across the globe,” Columbia University notes. “Starting in 2006, drought in major wheat producing countries was a key factor in a dramatic spike in food prices. Many countries experienced food riots and political unrest.”

Nutrient Deficiency

And the same carbon pollution that is driving these trends all over the globe may itself also be having an impact we are only just now beginning to understand. Recent research points to a disturbing trend – increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere may be making our food less nutritious, jeopardizing the wellness of people all over the world.

When grown under the CO2 levels expected by 2050, reductions of protein, iron, and zinc in common produce in some parts of the world could be anywhere from 3-17 percent. And if emissions continue at the current rate, in many countries, these nutrient declines could turn dire.

“The results [of the study], which cover 151 countries, reveal that it is countries in north Africa, south and south-east Asia, and the Middle East that are likely to be among the hardest hit – together with some nations in sub-Saharan Africa,” The Guardian reports. “In India, it is estimated that by 2050 about 50 million more people will be zinc deficient, and 38 million more protein deficient. With quality of diet linked to income, the researchers say the poorest in such countries are most likely to be at risk.”

Zinc deficiencies can dramatically impair immune system function, and cause hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, and eye and skin lesions. Meanwhile, an iron deficit can lead to muscle weakness, immune system and cognitive problems, and headaches and dizziness – and can result in anemia. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to complications related to iron deficiency.

As for protein deficiencies: “Few nutrients are as important as protein,” Healthline explains. “Protein is the building block of your muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones, and it plays an essential role in all body tissues. … Protein deficiency can affect almost all aspects of body function.”

While this area of research is relatively new, scientists hypothesize that increased atmospheric CO2 speeds up photosynthesis, the process that helps plants transform sunlight to food. This makes plants grow faster, but in so doing they pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other essential nutrients human beings (and other animals, right down the food chain) depend on.

Some have gone so far as to call this the “junk-food effect.”

What You Can Do

It’s clear that the climate crisis poses a very real threat to food security across the globe. If no action is taken, millions – perhaps billions – of people are at risk of malnutrition as staple crops and other fruits and vegetables become harder to grow, more expensive, and less nutritious.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Looking to do your part to protect our food and health right now? Download our free e-book, Right Under Your Feet: Soil Health and the Climate Crisis.

The resource outlines the climate threat to agriculture and offers concrete actions you can take to help provide fresh, healthy food grown in a sustainable soil ecosystem for generations to come.

The climate changes, but these facts don’t. Download Soil Health and the Climate Crisis now.

  climate crisisclimate changefoodFood Securitymalnutritionlow yieldnutrientsnutrient deficiencyflooddroughtThe Climate Reality ProjectClimate Change and Health: WildfiresClimate Change and Health: HeatwavesClimate Change and Health: HurricanesLead: It’s clear that the climate crisis poses a very real threat to food security across the globe. If no action is taken, millions – perhaps billions – of people are at risk of malnutrition as staple crops and other fruits and vegetables become harder to grow, more expensive, and less nutritious.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-food-security?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Change and Health: Food SecurityTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2Nke5dg
ipacha

Three Moving Moments from Climate Reality’s Training in Los Angeles

1 week 1 day ago

I was raised on a farm in southern California, where I spent my summers riding horses and exploring the countryside. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know a place, you learn of its inhabitants, the ebbs and flow of its topography, its many moods and seasons – and if you’re lucky, it changes you.

That’s why, for me, climate change is personal.

I’ve known since I was a kid that I wanted to dedicate my life to the environment and climate action, but wasn’t sure where to start. So when I found out about the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, I jumped at the chance to attend a training in my home state of California.

Climate Reality hosts free three-day trainings around the globe every year. The trainings are led by former US Vice President Al Gore and feature diverse speakers and attendees determined to make a difference on climate change. People who attend walk away with the skills to lead climate action at home.

This August, I attended the training in Los Angeles. Above all, I left feeling empowered by the promising energy of the more than 2,000 new Climate Reality Leaders from all over the world. Each brought unique perspectives, abilities, and stories to the table, but shared a passion for solving the climate crisis.
 

       
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Last week with your help, CA passed SB 100, mandating the golden state transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045! If the federal government won’t take action, other states WILL step up. Act locally, impact globally. Lead on climate

A post shared by britta (@lilmsbritt) on Sep 3, 2018 at 7:37am PDT


It was a historic turnout and the largest training Climate Reality has held to date­­. Over the span of three incredible days, I gained so much from Vice President Gore, leading climate scientists, champions of environmental justice, policymakers, storytellers, and media personalities. Most importantly, we learned about the science of climate change and how to communicate it to people we know.

I was inspired by each speaker’s passion and insight. It was an eye-opening experience and I can’t recommend it enough.

Here are three moments from the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training that truly moved me:

1. Climate Reality Leaders Helped Pass California’s Landmark Clean Energy Bill

California has emerged as a global leader in the fight against climate change. But on the first day of the training in LA, the fate of the state’s historic clean energy bill (called SB 100) was unclear.

It was up for a vote in the California State Assembly that very day – and from the stage, Vice President Gore discussed the opportunity that SB 100 offered for California’s clean energy future.  

Later, we got the news that SB 100 had failed on upon a reading to the state assembly. No one was sure that it could pass the finish line in the state legislature.
 

       
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As we gather for the largest @ClimateReality training yet, the power of grassroots activism is on full display with today’s passage of #SB100 to transition California to 100% clean electricity by 2045. I asked our activists to call Senators and make their voices heard, and it happened! We need to keep pushing our elected leaders to #LeadOnClimate.

A post shared by Al Gore (@algore) on Aug 28, 2018 at 6:37pm PDT


But Vice President Gore urged California residents to call their state representatives. He and his team had researched who the swing voters were, and he announced how to get in touch with their offices. It was incredible to see democracy in action. During a breakout session, one trainee even took to the mic and urged everyone in the room to make the call right then – and many did.

Later that day, incredibly, our efforts proved successful. On the next reading, the bill passed. A few weeks later, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 100 into law, committing California to 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

Vice President Gore often says, “We must, we can, and we will solve the climate crisis.” And when we stood up together for clean energy in California, we proved that to be true.

2. Climate Equity Takes Center Stage

The effects of climate change disproportionately impact minority, indigenous, and low-income communities. The extraction of oil and gas  can release chemicals linked to cancer and exacerbates climate change, and facilities are often built near communities that don’t have the money and legal influence to fight Big Polluters.

That’s why I found the Ensuring Climate Equity panel so inspiring. Moderated by the incredible Catherine Coleman Flowers, it featured Nalleli Cobo, founding member of South Los Angeles Youth Leadership Coalition and member of STAND LA; mark! Lopez, executive director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and a 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize recipient; Emi Wang, environmental equity manager of the Greenlining Institute; and Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior vice president of the Hip Hop Caucus.

The entire panel was amazing, but I was especially inspired by Nalleli’s story. She was nine years old when AllenCo opened an oil well just 30 feet from her house. She suffered from asthma attacks and other health impacts. Her symptoms were clearly linked to the air pollution and chemicals released from AllenCo.

Nalleli, now 17, has mobilized her community (along with STAND LA) to successfully shut down the oil field near her home. Her incredible story of triumph serves as a model for others fighting to overcome environmental injustice. Lopez summed it up best: “Act locally and impact globally.”

I left the panel knowing that climate change is a fight that we will win or lose together, and we must unite for renewable solutions that don’t poison our communities or leave anyone behind.

3. Firefighters on the Frontlines of Climate Change
 

Facing Reality: Firefighters on the Climate Frontlines

Climate change is already increasing the risk of wildfires and creating conditions in many parts of the world that make fires more likely and more severe. This live presentation of first responders will explore the connection between climate change and the global rise in deadly, destructive wildfires from California to Australia.

Posted by Climate Reality on Wednesday, August 29, 2018


The last moment from the training I want to tell you about featured three firefighters, who joined Vice President Gore on stage to discuss what climate change looks like through their eyes. As one, Chief Pimlott, said: “If you don’t think the climate is changing, you haven’t been on the frontlines.”

With global temperatures rising due to more and more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, wildfires are happening more often and are becoming more intense in the US Southwest. It’s a case of adding fuel to the fire – climate change is also making droughts worse in many parts of the world, killing trees and other vegetation and turning forests into tinderboxes.

It was moving to see three first responders share their stories and urge more than 2,000 people to lead the way to climate action. When asked by Vice President Gore what people can do to help firefighters, Chief Thompson said, “The thing I’d encourage people to do, most or first and foremost, is to talk to their politicians and get them to realize that climate change is a real issue and that policies and resources need to be allocated.”

You Can Become a Climate Reality Leader at the Next Training

I can’t overstate this: I left the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training inspired and more ready than ever to use my voice for solutions to the climate crisis. And the best part is, you can become a Climate Reality Leader, too.

Sign up for more information about the next training, and learn more about what it means to become a Climate Reality Leader now. Every training is different from the one before it, but I know you’ll walk away hopeful, inspired, and ready to take action in your community. I know I am.

  climate changeclimate actionclimate realityAl GorecaliforniaLos Angelesglobal warmingleaserleadershipBritta NancarrowThis Is a Big Deal: California Goes All in on Clean EnergyClimate Change and Health: WildfiresHow Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the USLead: Britta Nancarrow, a newly trained Climate Reality Leader, gives her take on our latest training in Los Angeles, including three moments that left her inspired. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/three-moving-moments-climate-reality-training-los-angeles?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Three Moving Moments from Climate Reality’s Training in Los AngelesTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2xiHvyv
ipacha

How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the US

1 week 2 days ago

Here’s how climate change is impacting four different places in the United States – and what you can do in your state to take action.

The Pacific Northwest

Where else in the United States but the Pacific Northwest can you visit one of most charming cities in the world, explore beautiful snowcapped mountains, and spend an afternoon relaxing on the beach – all in the same day? Known for its extraordinary natural beauty and fiercely independent characters, the region is now making headlines for a different reason altogether.

Namely, the many ways a warming climate is transforming the environment. Find out how the climate crisis is affecting the Pacific Northwest and what people like you can do to make a difference. →

Colorado

Thanks to climate change, Colorado is getting warmer. In fact, Colorado is one of the fastest-warming states in the country. The state’s annual average temperatures have already increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 30 years.

It might not seem like much to you – maybe you’re not a fan of cold weather – but Colorado kind of depends on abundant snow and the cool weather that makes it possible. After all, it powers a huge part of the economy. Here are four major ways that residents of the Centennial State are seeing the impacts of climate change right now. →

California

From lush vineyards, relaxing beaches, and beautiful snowcapped mountains to the vast studio lots where movie magic is made, California is one of a kind. But climate scientists forecast hotter and drier conditions for the state as the climate crisis continues. Get the scoop. →

Texas

You know the saying. “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” Unfortunately, it applies to climate change as well. With a super-sized state, the impacts of climate change are bigger and badder than in the other 49. In fact, Texas experienced 75 weather and climate disasters between 1980 and 2015, each of which produced at least a billion dollars in losses (across the states in which they impacted), more than any other state.

Here’s what global warming means for the Lone Star State. In other words, “Houston, we have a problem.”

(And don’t forget: Hurricane Harvey – which hit Texas especially hard – was made more intense by climate change. Get the facts here.)

But Climate Solutions Are Available Today

Climate change is affecting all 50 states differently – but people around the country are working together to take action and protect the places and people they love. And you can join them.

Climate Reality has chapters across the United States that are fighting for clean energy and practical solutions to the climate crisis. These are parents, teachers, rabbis and pastors, doctors, and more – people just like you who want to make a difference for the future of our planet.

As one of our chapter chairs has said, “I’m excited to be working on climate in my own community. The movement may be worldwide, but real change is happening in our cities and our states, and it’s great to be a part of that.”

Learn more about Climate Reality chapters today (or find one near you!) and be part of something big in your own backyard.

 

US climate impactsclimate changecaliforniaColoradotexasPacific NorthwestPNWglobal warmingclimateamericaunited statesThe Climate Reality ProjectHow Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the WorldClimate Reality Chapters Are Driving ChangeAmericans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)Lead: We know this: When we burn fossil fuels, we drive climate change. But that doesn’t mean climate change looks the same everywhere. In fact, it can look completely different from one place to the next.facebook link: ?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalhttps://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-change-impacting-different-places-around-usEmail Subject: How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the USTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2N9oCYG
ipacha

This Is a Big Deal: California Goes All in on Clean Energy

1 week 5 days ago
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This is – as the saying goes – a big [expletive] deal.

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, mandating that the state’s utilities reach 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.

The decision makes California just the second state to commit to 100 percent clean energy (mahalo, Hawaii, for going first).

But more importantly, this is California, the world’s fifth-largest economy and home to 40 million people, making a huge statement of intent that it’s serious about solving the climate crisis.  And not just making a statement – SB 100 will mean the state reshapes its power sector and replaces dirty coal, oil, and gas facilities with wind, solar, and other clean energy technologies to do it.

If you think this bill sends a message to the rest of the country that if California can go all in on clean energy, there’s no reason they can’t too – you’re right. And fossil fuel companies have every reason to be terrified.
 


One Fight of Many

There are some caveats here. The power sector is just one contributor to carbon pollution in California and by volume of sheer greenhouse gas emissions, it’s actually third on the list behind transport and industry.

As for transport, there’s a reason cities like Los Angeles are famous for traffic – and results like smog. As early as the 1940s, Los Angeles in particular already had over 1 million automobiles on the road and was breathing in all kinds of tailpipe pollution.

The sight of ugly brown skies inspired new research, civic activism, and some innovative policy solutions to clean up the air. Recognizing that California faced its own unique challenges thanks to geography and density, Congress gave the state a waiver to write its own ambitious emissions standards as part of the Clean Air Act.

As the state came to recognize the same fossil fuel emissions choking its cities were the same as those driving climate change, this waiver has become a critical part of California’s efforts to confront the crisis and build a low-carbon economy.

That said, the state still faces a huge challenge in cutting emissions from cars and trucks choking highways and streets every day. (Which makes our current fight to preserve California’s right to set ambitious fuel economy standards – and keep stronger standards nationwide – all the more critical.)

So the state isn’t at the finish line yet. But this is a huge, huge step closer.

As California Goes, So Goes the Nation

It’s not just that California is committing to cut fossil fuels entirely from its power sector that makes this bill such a landmark. It’s the message it sends to the rest of the country.

That message? We need to act. Now. And by the way, if we can do this, you can too.

Consider too, that California is doing this and moving forward at the same time the White House is doing everything it can to march back to the nineteenth century with coal. And along the way, the state’s creating thousands and thousands of working and middle-class jobs, with estimates pointing to clean energy and efficiency employing eight and a half Californians for every one working in fossil fuels.

Not only that, but since 2006, the state has cut its per-capita emissions by about 12 percent, while its economy grew at about double the national average. So much for that argument about stifling growth and killing jobs.

The bottom line: California’s showing other states that – done right – getting serious about climate action not only helps protect residents from all kinds of health and environmental threats, it also can help create a stronger economy. And that’s a good look, no matter where you are.

Speak Up for Fuel Economy Standards

Right now, the White House is trying to take away California’s ability to regulate vehicle emissions and weaken fuel economy standards across the country.

The good news is that it’s far from a done deal and if you’re concerned about the air you breathe and the planet you live on, add your name to the thousands of Americans calling on the government to keep strong fuel economy standards in place.

climate changeclimate crisiscaliforniaSB 100Clean Energyclean electricityrenewablesThe Climate Reality ProjectIt’s Not Just About Mileage: 3 Reasons Fuel Economy Standards MatterAmericans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)From Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?Lead: California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill committing the Golden State to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity in the power sector by 2045, sending a clear message to the rest of the country that the future is renewable and the fight for our climate is very much on.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/big-deal-california-goes-all-renewable-electricity?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: This Is a Big Deal: California Goes All in on Renewable ElectricityTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2wLg7bR
ipacha

Four Ways Climate Change Affects Our Health

2 weeks 1 day ago
Climate Change and Health: Heatwaves

Of all the types of extreme weather, heatwaves may be the most obvious one to connect to climate change and, well, a warming world. As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, we’re releasing heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. As a result, we’re seeing more and more warmer-than-average years and more frequent extreme heat events. Read more

Climate Change and Health: Wildfires

Wildfires are devastating communities around the world. From the billion-dollar destruction they cause to the incalculable costs of lost plant, animal, and even human life, these devastating natural disasters are scarring our landscapes and leaving those who make it out with their lives with long-lasting health concerns. And conditions are only expected to become even more favorable for more frequent and intense wildfires in our warming world. Here’s what’s happening.

Climate Change and Health: Hurricanes

In the wakes of hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey, one question has been hard to escape. Is the climate crisis making weather more extreme? The simple answer is yes – and it puts the health of millions and millions of people all around the world in jeopardy. Here are the facts.

Climate Change and Health: Infectious Disease

As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide are released into our atmosphere. As a result, we’re seeing warmer-than-average years, extreme heatwaves, and heavier rains. The perfect conditions for insects to thrive. Learn more now.

Ready to Join the Fight for Solutions?

When you see what’s at stake to climate change, it’s easy to feel discouraged or defeated. But here’s the good news: solutions to the climate crisis are already available today. Renewable energy is one of the most powerful ways we can fight for a better tomorrow.

Curious about clean energy? In our free fact sheet, we lay out the facts – what renewable energy is, how it’s different from fossil fuels, and what types are being used today.

Get the facts! Download this free, printable resource today and spread the facts about clean energy and climate solutions

climate changeHealthhealthydoctorclimateglobal warminghurricaneheatwavewildfirefirediseasehospitalThe Climate Reality ProjectWhy It’s Vital to Talk About the Climate Crisis’ Impact on Public HealthClimate Reality Chapters Are Driving ChangeNot a Pretty Picture: Climate Change and Health in Four Infographics Lead: It’s as simple as this: Healthy people need a healthy planet. Here are four ways the climate crisis is taking a toll on human health around the globe.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/four-ways-climate-change-affects-our-health?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Four Ways Climate Change Affects Our HealthTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2M9svqX
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Climate Reality Chapters Are Driving Change

2 weeks 2 days ago
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It’s up to us now.

With the White House announcing its intention to replace the historic Clean Power Plan, roll back fuel efficiency standards, and withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it’s become clearer than ever that the federal government isn’t going to act on the climate crisis. If we want a sustainable future, we’re going to have to fight for it ourselves.

Climate Reality chapters are doing just that – and barely a year since they were first founded, they’re achieving incredible things from sea to shining sea. 

JOIN A CHAPTER

In Washington State, the collaborative work of our chapters in Seattle, Bellingham, Tacoma, and Snohomish County played a key role in collecting the signatures needed to get carbon pricing on the November ballot. The result, Initiative 1631, would create an escalating fee on most fossil-fuels emissions, with the revenue invested in clean energy like wind and solar and supporting communities affected by fossil fuel pollution.

The chapters’ success in getting I-1631 on the ballot shows the broad public support for climate-smart policy – and I’m hopeful the initiative will pass later this year.

GET INVOLVED

Meanwhile, our Central Florida chapter, co-chaired by Climate Reality Leaders Kimberly White and Laura Betts, has big plans for the months ahead. They’re working to coordinate a statewide climate conference, and are set to launch a business-focused 100% Committed campaign to help regional companies transition from the dirty fossil fuels driving the climate crisis to clean, affordable renewable electricity.

And they’re all just getting started. Across the country, committed people just like you are joining Climate Reality chapters to work together for practical climate solutions at the local and state levels. Chapters give you the opportunity to draw on Climate Reality’s support and expertise, while taking action in your own backyard.

These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are fighting to bring clean energy to their towns and showing how we can end this crisis together.

Will you join them?

climate realityclimate crisischaptersLocal ActionWashingtonfloridaKen BerlinClimate Change and Health: Infectious Diseases Climate Change and Health: HurricanesClimate Change and Health: WildfiresLead: Barely a year since they were first founded, Climate Reality chapters are achieving incredible things from sea to shining sea. facebook link: ?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Reality Chapters Are Driving ChangeTwitter URL: ?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=general
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Climate Change and Health: Infectious Diseases

2 weeks 3 days ago

This blog is a part of a new series from Climate Reality on the many ways that climate change is impacting human health. Check back for content on topics like hurricanes, heatwaves, asthma, and more.

We’ve all been there – chilling in the backyard with a cold drink in our hands until the moment was ruined by an uncontrollable itch. And then another itch. And another one. Suddenly a buzzing sound around our ears confirmed a strong suspicion.

Mosquitoes were having their own party. We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Sometimes these tiny bloodsuckers are harmless, leaving behind only a small bump and light rash before flying away. But mosquitoes – as well as ticks and flies – can also carry and spread dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease, dengue, and malaria. Which makes them the deadliest animal known to humans, killing more people each year than all others combined.

Now, they and other disease-carrying pests – known to scientists as “vectors” – are spreading farther and bringing diseases to places where they hadn’t been previously as our climate is changing.

>> Here’s how climate change, heatwaves, and health are all intertwined <<

As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide are released into our atmosphere. As a result, we’re seeing warmer-than-average years, extreme heatwaves, and heavier rains. The perfect conditions for insects to thrive.

These vectors live longer lives in extended periods of warm weather. Fly into new areas that were previously too cold. And reproduce in water deposits left by the rain.

Climate change is also giving a helping hand to waterborne pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, which flourish in warmer waters and endanger our health.

 

The Sting of Climate Change

Mosquitoes are some of the world's deadliest creatures...and a warming limate is helping them thrive.

Posted by The Years Project on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

 

The result? Scientists have already identified a higher incidence of certain infectious diseases (transmitted by both vectors and waterborne pathogens) as well as changes in the places they reach around the globe:

  • Lyme disease: A recent CDC report found that the number of cases of illnesses transmitted by ticks more than doubled between 2004 and 2016 in the US; the greatest jump was seen in cases of Lyme disease. Researchers identified warming temperatures and shorter winters as one of the reasons. Also, the change in weather allowed ticks to invade areas that had previously been too cold for them to live.
  • West Nile virus: Temperatures soared this past summer in Europe. At the same time, there was a sharp spike in West Nile virus infection – with more than 400 cases reported. Health experts believe the two are connected. The disease is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds, and warmer temperatures have helped to start the transmission season early. 
  • Malaria: In Ethiopia and Colombia, scientists observed that malaria’s range shifted to warmer areas between 1990 to 2005. In part because the transmitting mosquito thrives in the heat. But also, because the parasite that causes malaria reproduces faster inside the vector mosquito when the weather is warmer.
  • Flesh-Eating Bacteria: It’s not just humans who enjoy a nice swim in the ocean when the weather is hot. Flesh-eating bacteria called vibriosis flourish in warm seawater. As temperatures climb and sea levels rise, they increase in number and can infect people through open wounds or by contaminating popular seafood like oysters.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?

It may seem like we’re fighting a losing battle against rising temperatures and deadly diseases. But we’re happy to say there’s a clear way to fight back.

Join us in tackling the fossil fuel emissions behind the climate crisis. By pressuring our leaders to make the switch from dirty coal, oil, and natural gas to clean energy sources like wind and solar, we can leave a much healthier planet for the next generations.

Start today: Sign up for our email activist list and we’ll deliver the latest climate science and innovative ways you can get involved in the climate movement right to your inbox. 
 

Infectious DiseasesmosquitoesticksBacteriaClimate Change.The Climate Reality ProjectClimate Change and Health: HeatwavesClimate Change and Health: WildfiresClimate Change and Health: HurricanesLead: Climate change driven by fossil fuel emissions is making it easier for diseases to spread and putting our health at risk.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-infectious-diseases?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Change and Health: Infectious DiseasesTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2oL876l
climate

It’s Not Just About Mileage: 3 Reasons Fuel Economy Standards Matter

3 weeks 1 day ago

We’re right there with you. When you live in a moment where every day’s headlines seem to involve a new attack on the environment, communities of color, or just our basic sense of right and wrong, it’s hard to know what still rises to the level of outrage. After all, these days, what doesn’t?

To put it another way, when children are being cruelly kept separated from their parents, how can we get upset about something like fuel economy standards for cars and trucks?

Here at Climate Reality, we look at it as a both/and kind of answer. Admittedly, the recent announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it wants to roll back the Obama Administration’s ambitious fuel economy standards might seem like just another small bureaucratic win for the fossil fuel industry.

But if it goes through – and it’s important to stress that if – the consequences for our health, our children’s health, and the planet could be profound.

>> Speak up for strong fuel economy standards that protect our health and our planet <<

What’s the Big Deal?

Under the Obama Administration, the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alongside the automakers themselves, set new guidelines requiring auto manufacturers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles to a level that would raise the average fuel economy across their fleet of cars and trucks to 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The Trump Administration’s new plan has two critical – and dangerous – components. First, the plan would repeal the previous standards and freeze fuel economy requirements at 2020 levels.

Second, the plan would also revoke California’s legal right to set its own fuel economy standards, as permitted under the Clean Air Act. California secured the waiver to do so back in 1970 as the federal government recognized the state faced a unique and acute challenge in limiting smog and other airborne pollutants.

As far back as the 1940s, the state was already working to tackle air pollution from vehicles. Speed ahead many years, and the fuel economy waiver has become a critical part of California’s equally aggressive action on climate change.

Given California’s car market share (more vehicles are registered in California than any other state and it now ranks as the world’s fifth-largest economy) and the fact that at least 14 other states, representing about 40 percent of American cars, have officially signed up to follow its more-ambitious standards, the state has tremendous power to influence the kinds of vehicles that automakers build. Which gives it tremendous power to help cut emissions on a national scale.

As the saying goes, as California goes, so goes the nation. Well, almost.

By freezing national standards at the lower 2020 levels and preventing California from going above and beyond, the Trump Administration is seeking to eliminate two critical tools for fighting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. On top of its plans to replace the Clean Power Plan with a coal-friendly initiative and withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

Putting aside the nonsensical and contradictory reasons the administration gave, the move is especially troubling for three reasons that affect all Americans.


Attack on Clean Cars

The Trump Administration is waging war on cleaner cars – and we're not standing for it.

Posted by Climate Reality on Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why It Matters: Fighting Climate Change

Today, the US transportation sector is the country’s biggest contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate crisis, accounting for over 28 percent of all emissions.

Passenger vehicles like cars and trucks account for just one part of this sector’s emissions, but they’re the biggest part (contributing over half of the sector’s emissions, in fact). Increasing fuel efficiency means vehicles burning less gas and sending less global warming pollution into the atmosphere.

At a time when burning fossil fuels has sent temperatures skyrocketing across the planet and all signs point to consequences from more extreme weather to rising seas continuing unless we act, radically reducing tailpipe emissions could help the US make a big step forward in solving this crisis.

Why It Matters: Your Health

The list of pollutants and chemicals in car and truck emissions makes for an unsettling read. Fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxides that contribute to smog, sulfur dioxide, and more: they’re all coming out of tailpipes and into the air we breathe.

The names of these chemicals may not be familiar, but the results will be. Greater risks of cancer and all kinds of respiratory diseases. Increasing asthma attacks. Worst of all, these pollutants affect those whose lungs and systems are already weak or haven’t reached full strength – children, the elderly, and the sick – most of all.

The implications couldn’t be clearer. Cleaner and more efficient cars mean cleaner air for all of us. Cleaner cars mean cutting our risk of the kinds of diseases that transform lives and leave kids gasping for breath.

Before the announcement, “Who wants dirtier air?” always felt like a rhetorical question. Now, apparently, we have an answer: The White House.

Why It Matters: Saving Money

You don’t have to be a rock star economist to get that fuel-efficient cars are cheaper cars to operate. Burning less gas to go the same distance means spending less money at the pump and less money going to the fossil fuel companies helping drive the climate crisis.

It’s the kind of issue that Americans of all political ideologies can agree on. In fact, in 2016, a poll by a division of Consumer Reports found that 70 percent of Americans want the government to play a role in setting increasingly ambitious fuel economy standards.

It’s not hard to see why. After all, for the majority of Americans, fuel costs are not an abstract concern – for most of us, transportation is the second highest expense we have, right after housing.

To put some hard numbers on it, the Obama Administration’s standards were projected to save Americans $1.7 trillion in fuel costs by 2025. Bringing these numbers down to street level, the standards were expected to save a family who bought a new car in 2025 an estimated $8,200 over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Weaker standards mean Americans will spend more of their paycheck just to get to work, to take their kids to school, and live their lives. The only ones who benefit here are fossil fuel companies – and it just doesn’t make sense.

So What’s Next and What Can You Do?

First of all, these new, weaker standards aren’t a done deal. Americans have the chance to weigh in and tell the administration what they think during the official comment period.

Already, thousands have joined us in calling for preserving the stricter standards – and if you want cleaner air to breathe, cheaper cars to drive, and a more sustainable future to look forward to, add your name to our petition today.

Plus, at the same time Americans are speaking up for strong fuel economy standards, California and other states are launching lawsuits to fight the administration’s plan in the court.

The bottom line: this fight is only just beginning.

climate changeclimate crisisfuel efficiencycarsHealthmoneyemissionsThe Climate Reality ProjectAmericans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)From Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?We’re Not Giving Up On Clean Car Standards – And Neither Should YouLead: It’s time to shake off the outrage fatigue. The EPA’s plan to roll back ambitious fuel economy standards is a big deal with real consequences for the planet and the health of . . . well, pretty much all Americans.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/it-not-just-about-mileage-3-reasons-fuel-economy-standards-matter?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=rfpEmail Subject: It’s Not Just About Mileage: 3 Reasons Fuel Economy Standards MatterTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2C5EfuR
ipacha

Climate Change and Health: Hurricanes

3 weeks 3 days ago

This blog is a part of a new series from Climate Reality on the many ways that climate change is impacting human health. Check back often for content on topics like wildfires, heat waves, asthma, and more.

In the wakes of hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey, one question has been hard to escape. Is the climate crisis making weather more extreme?

The simple answer is yes – and it puts the health of millions and millions of people all around the world in jeopardy.

“Within the last three years, when global sea surface temperatures have been at their highest, we have seen the strongest hurricane globally, the strongest hurricane in the northern hemisphere, the strongest hurricane in the southern hemisphere, and the strongest storms in both the Pacific and the open Atlantic.”

That’s according to Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and author of The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars and, more recently, The Madhouse Effect, who explained the connection between warmer seas and stronger storms to Climate Reality in 2017.

Put simply, with more heat energy in the oceans and trapped in the atmosphere thanks to climate change, powerful storms are becoming both more likely and more dangerous.

That danger takes many forms. According to the World Health Organization, “Climate change is among the greatest health risks of the twenty-first century. Rising temperatures and more extreme weather events cost lives directly, increase transmission and spread of infectious diseases, and undermine the environmental determinants of health, including clean air and water, and sufficient food.”

Hurricanes specifically arrive on shores across the planet with their own unique threats and long-term health consequences. Read on to uncover how climate change adds more fuel to the fire and makes hurricanes even more devastating to our health and well-being.

A VIOLENT STORM

Average global sea surface temperatures are rising, and as sea surface temperatures become warmer, hurricanes can become more powerful. Warmer oceans, and especially warmer water deep in the ocean, can fuel rapid intensification too, so a once-relatively weak tropical storm can cross the right stretch of water and become a major hurricane in a matter of hours.

“For a long time, we’ve understood, based on pretty simple physics, that as you warm the ocean’s surface, you’re going to get more intense hurricanes. Whether you get more hurricanes or fewer hurricanes, the strongest storms will tend to become stronger,” Dr. Mann explained.

“Empirical studies show that there’s a roughly 10-mile-per-hour increase in sustained peak winds in Cat 5-level storms for each degree Fahrenheit of warming.”

This can lead to many people, even those who spend their lives in hurricane-prone regions, being under-prepared for the intensity of the actual hurricane that makes landfall, resulting in greater damage, injury, and even loss of life.

But looking at increases in sustained wind speed alone doesn’t paint the full picture of a storm’s destructive potential and its threat to human health. A hurricane is more than just its winds – it’s a major rainfall event accompanied by dangerous storm surge.

To explain this term (and why it’s such a factor in hurricanes), NOAA identifies storm surge as “the abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide.” To put it another way, the storm surge is the ocean water pushed into the coast by the force of the hurricane.

At the same time that hurricane winds are getting exponentially stronger, rains associated with them are becoming heavier, and storm surges are higher and moving further inland. More water falls from above and more comes in from the ocean, hitting the coast harder and harder from both directions.
 

Climate Facts: Hurricane Harvey

Today, our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. As climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann wrote, “we can’t say that Hurricane Harvey was caused by climate change. But it was certainly worsened by it.” Ultimately, this is why climate change is a human issue – because the way we’re altering our climate has a real human impact. Watch this video from Years of Living Dangerously that explains what Hurricane Harvey has to do with climate change and what this means for our future.

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, August 28, 2017


POISONING THE WELL

As the world becomes warmer, more water evaporates from major bodies of water. And when a hurricane travels over ever-warmer sea water, it sucks up more and more water vapor. It then carries this extra moisture and drops some of it as heavy precipitation, sometimes resulting in major flooding when a hurricane makes landfall.

We saw exactly this when Hurricane Harvey came in off the Gulf of Mexico and walloped the Texas coast. The hurricane dropped a staggering 50-plus inches of rain on Houston, Texas, and other areas, a total “as much as 38 percent higher than would be expected in a world that was not warming,” according to the New York Times.

Just like we saw with Harvey and to a lesser extent with Maria, this onslaught of heavy precipitation can cause massive flooding over a relatively wide geographic area. And other results of climate change – specifically rising seas – can combine to make these floods go from bad to downright terrible.

That’s because with sea levels being higher, there’s more water for hurricanes to push onto the shore.  As a result, storm surges are higher and moving further inland – adding even more water to all the precipitation coming down – and lead to more widespread coastal flooding and greater damage.

(The highest-reported storm surge from Hurricane Harvey, recorded in Port Lavaca, Texas, was 7 feet above the mean sea level. Parts of Puerto Rico experienced a 9-foot storm surge with Hurricane Maria!)

In addition to the immediate physical danger presented by the flooding itself, the effects of heavy rainfall and surging sea water can linger long after a storm. All the salty water from the sea can contaminate drinking water supplies directly, and floodwaters often carry chemicals and other run-off pollutants into streams.

These floodwaters can also inundate and ruin agriculture, resulting in long-lasting malnutrition and hunger when damaged farms fail to provide enough crops for the people who rely on them.

Even after the rain stops, floodwaters can take time to recede and an area can remain swamped for some time. This can lead to increases in water-borne infections and diseases like cholera, as well as vector-borne diseases like the West Nile and Zika viruses that are spread by insects like mosquitos that thrive in all that remaining standing water.

And once the flood is truly over, dangerous mold can sometimes take its place – threatening people who’ve already endured one worry after the next with serious respiratory problems.

>> Free download: Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis <<

INFECTIOUS AND VECTOR-BORNE DISEASES

Vector-borne diseases are illnesses spread by insects like mosquitoes, fleas, mites, or ticks (what scientists call “vectors”). The climate crisis is shifting and growing the geographic areas hospitable to many vectors, changing the scope of disease outbreaks and introducing new illness to places they never previously existed.

And the lingering effects of hurricanes – from pooled standing water to sundry debris – are creating more and more vector-friendly habitats, leaving many regions even more vulnerable to them.

“Vector-borne diseases continue to contribute significantly to the global burden of disease, and cause epidemics that disrupt health security and cause wider socioeconomic impacts around the world,” the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports.

“The simplest connections [between climate change and vectors] are through temperature, affecting the biting, survival and reproductive rates of the vectors, and the survival and development rates of the pathogens that they carry,” the NIH report continues. “[But] precipitation also exerts a very strong influence, most obviously in the case of diseases transmitted by vectors that have aquatic developmental stages (such as mosquitoes), but also, via humidity, on diseases transmitted by vectors without such stages, such as ticks or sandflies.”

To put this into plain English, in general, warmer temperatures help some disease-carrying vectors to survive and reproduce – and heavy precipitation events like hurricanes can make it even easier.

Some vectors – like mosquitos – need standing water to lay their eggs. Heavy rains and storm surges can leave pools of standing water behind, often during the warmer months of the year, creating ideal conditions for these vectors to reproduce and spread.

That’s not all. Heavy rains and storm surges can also make areas more humid, enabling other vectors – like ticks – that thrive in these conditions to spread farther and faster.

This is a real danger. Ticks are the carriers of Lyme disease, which has exploded across the US mid-Atlantic and northeast as temperatures have risen, humidity has increased, and winters have become more mild. And mosquitos are known to carry a range of dangerous diseases, including some very serious illnesses, from dengue fever and chikungunya virus to malaria and even deadly encephalitis.

In addition to diseases and other infections spread by mosquitos and other vectors, cholera, hepatitis A, dysentery, and others can be transmitted directly via contaminated water that pools in areas impacted by flooding.

MENTAL HEALTH

Living through a dangerous major hurricane and dealing with the damage it leaves behind can take a very real toll on a person’s well-being. But all too often, the serious mental health impacts of extreme weather lurk unseen and ignored in the shadows of easier-to-understand conditions – or they’re swept under the rug entirely and forgotten.

“People coping with severe weather conditions can experience serious mental health symptoms, including posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety,” the Union of Concerned Scientists writes. “Research suggests that between 25 and 50 percent of all people exposed to an extreme weather disaster may have some adverse mental health effects, the degree of severity depending on a number of things, including the person’s age, coping capacity, and proximity to the devastation.”

Puerto Rico was ravaged last year by Hurricane Maria. Thousands were displaced and across the territory, tens of thousands were left without power and clean water for months. Recent reports put the storm’s death toll at more than 1,400.

In the chaotic aftermath of the storm, calls from desperate resident to suicide prevention hotlines doubled and suicide rates “reached a new high after years of steady drops.” By the close of 2017, just five months after the hurricane, the island’s suicide rate had increased 29 percent compared to the previous year.

And when populations are forced to relocate following an environmental disaster, they can suffer from “acculturation stress.” This is the psychological impact of the significant and long-lasting stressors many migrants experience as they adapt to and/or adopt a new culture.

A GLOBAL CHALLENGE NEEDS A GLOBAL SOLUTION

Ready to make a difference for the future of our planet? Wherever you are, whatever you do, and no matter the time you have, you can do something right now to bring us one step closer to a future without carbon pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to take action now is to share your concerns about the climate crisis widely with your networks, friends, and family. But first, you need to arm yourself with the facts.

As you’ve just read, hurricanes can have long-lasting and serious health consequences for the people who pull through them. A significant reason why – beyond the immediacy of the violent, destructive winds that often get the most attention when the storm makes landfall – is the possibility of extreme flooding, the effects of which can last long after the breeze has returned to normal. 

Sea-level rise plays a key role in a hurricane’s flood threat – and even on the sunniest days, it presents a never-ending, existential struggle to anyone living on a coast or in small island nations across the globe.

So why are our oceans swelling? And what can you do about it? Learn more in our new fact sheet, Climate 101: What Is Sea-Level Rise?

Download this free resource now to discover the truth about this global threat, from what it is to why it matters.

  climate changeclimate crisishurricanesdestructionvector borne diseasedepressionanxietyPTSDmental healthfloodingmoldrespiratoryThe Climate Reality ProjectClimate Change and Health: Heatwaves3 Big Myths about Natural Gas and Our ClimateWhat Is the Greenhouse Effect?Lead: Hurricanes arrive on shores across the planet with their own unique threats and long-term health consequences.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-hurricanes?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Change and Health: HurricanesTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2MGXYW2
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Americans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)

3 weeks 5 days ago

Listen, we know things seem, um, a little tricky right now if you’re an American who cares about the climate. Day in and day out, there’s an awful lot going on, and on the climate front, the news hasn’t exactly been great.

At the federal level, Big Polluter influence on policy is painfully evident. Vehicle efficiency standards are on the chopping block alongside the Clean Power Plan. A former coal lobbyist is the acting director of the EPA. Plus, the Trump Administration has begun the process of withdrawing the US from the historic Paris Agreement.

But if you drill just a little deeper, there’re plenty of reasons to believe this is all a (dangerous, unfortunate) blip on the long-term Doppler radar.

“Come again?” you’re no doubt asking. Let us explain.

The Tide of Public Opinion Has Turned (And It Isn’t Going Back)

Looking at the actions of the US federal government, you’d be forgiven for letting your optimism fade. But even as this administration works to unwind years of hard-won climate progress, there’s hope on the horizon. And that hope is you.

The US is a representative democracy, after all – and the movement for climate solutions is quickly approaching the critical mass necessary to become impossible to ignore… or deny.

Public-opinion polling conducted by Gallup in the last few years shows majorities – in some cases clear majorities – of Americans support the expansion of renewable energy and believe the government is not doing enough to support it:

  • 59 percent believe that protection of the environment should be given priority over fossil fuel energy production, up from 41 percent in 2011.
  • 62 percent of Americans say the government is doing too little to protect the environment. That’s the strongest showing on the topic in 12 years – and up more than 16 percent from the low point of 46 percent the question earned in 2010.
  • A March 2018 survey measuring public support for 10 proposals relating to the environment and energy found majority approval – “in some instances above 70 percent” – for proposals to reduce emissions, enforce environmental regulations, regulate fracking, spend government money on alternative energy sources, and pass carbon pricing initiatives.

Indeed, support for putting a price on carbon pollution has exploded in just the last decade. In 2009, the University of Michigan found that about 36 percent of Americans supported carbon pricing; by the fall of 2016, that number had swelled to 50 percent. And more generally, especially when respondents were asked to set aside partisan politics, supermajority support for renewables begins to appear.

According to Pew Research Center, in mid-2016  (an important date, as it established opinion before the current onslaught of environmental deregulation), 89 percent of Americans favored more solar panel farms, and a similarly large share (83 percent) supported more wind turbine farms – with just 9 percent and 14 percent, respectively, opposed to expanding solar and wind energy.

“Across the political spectrum, large majorities support expansion of solar panel and wind turbine farms,” Pew reports. “Some 83 percent of conservative Republicans favor more solar panel farms; so, too, do virtually all liberal Democrats (97 percent). Similarly, there is widespread agreement across party and ideological groups in favor of expanding wind energy.”

>> Read more: How Does Wind Energy Work, Anyway? <<

Renewable Energy Is Getting Too Cheap to Ignore

There are many, many reasons to support renewable energy over fossil fuels. But for everyday folks out here without a horse in the energy race, so to speak, just trying to live a happy, healthy, sustainable life, the biggest reason is likely the most obvious – in America and around the globe, renewables are now cheaper than at any time in history.

The cost of renewable energy is falling so fast that it’s already increasingly cost competitive in many areas with utility rates for energy from fossil fuels. By 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) (via Forbes), renewables should be “a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels.”

Forbes reports, “[T]he cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around 23 percent since 2010 while the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has fallen by 73 percent in that time…

“There are several reasons for the fast-improving cost performance of the key renewable energy technologies. One is the growing preference among governments for competitive bidding processes . . . Alongside that, there is a growing base of experienced developers competing for project opportunities around the world. Thirdly, continued advances are being made in the technologies themselves.”

It’s a trend that seems likely to continue, according to IRENA: “By 2025 the global weighted average cost of electricity from solar PV could fall by as much as 59 percent, and from CSP [concentrated solar power] by up to 43 percent. Onshore and offshore wind could see cost declines of 26 percent and 35 percent, respectively.”

Some studies estimate that 100 percent of the world’s energy needs could be met with renewable sources by mid-century, as long as the right, supportive public policies are put in place to help implement them. That’s where our leaders come in – and where you come in too.

With so much money to be made in a renewable energy economy for both investors and job-seekers, and falling costs already reaping rewards for consumers, the writing’s on the wall – no matter the actions of the current administration.
 


President Trump Has Inadvertently Rallied Cities and States Around Action

Nationwide, the response to the president’s announcement that he would begin the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement was quick and decisive. Though far from universal, a broad consensus from many governors and major city mayors quickly appeared – “Well, that’s too bad. Looks like we’re going to have to do it ourselves.”

And so they set out to do just that.

On the same day that the president announced his Paris intentions from the White House Rose Garden, American mayors from towns and cities both big and small pledged to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement” through the Climate Mayors effort. The initiative has mayors from across the country taking the lead to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As of this writing, 407 mayors representing more than 70 million Americans are on board, including the leaders of some of the nation’s largest cities, from northern metropolises like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston to southern giants like Houston, Atlanta, and Miami, and many of its most treasured smaller communities, like Golden and Aspen, Colorado; Portland, Maine; Boise, Idaho; Jackson, Wyoming; Louisville, Kentucky; and Bozeman, Montana.

>> 3 Big Myths About Natural Gas and Our Climate <<

Individual states are also stepping up to meet the emissions reductions targets set forth in the Paris Agreement, despite federal opposition – and they’re continuing to work with other countries to do it, sidestepping the administration entirely.

Just last month, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna MP, told Climate Reality that her country continues “to work closely with the US Climate Alliance led by [California] Governor Jerry Brown, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.”

The Alliance, which counts governors from 16 states and Puerto Rico among its ranks, has three core principles:

  • States will continue to lead on climate change.
  • State-level climate action benefits economies and strengthens communities.
  • States will show the nation and the world that ambitious climate action is achievable.

In September 2017, just a few months after President Trump’s announcement, the Alliance revealed that “14 alliance states were on pace to meet their share of the Obama Administration’s pledge under the Paris accord, thanks in part to local mandates on renewable energy and electric vehicles.”

“Together, we are a political and economic force, and we will drive the change that needs to happen nationwide,” Gov. Brown told the New York Times.

What You Can Do to Support American Climate Action

All of this isn’t to say that you can relax or that everything will be just fine. Not by a longshot. What we’re saying is, We’re still in this fight because we know we can (and must and will) win it. And to change everything, we need everyone.

Will you join us?

Across the country, committed people like you are joining Climate Reality chapters to work together for practical climate solutions in communities from sea to shining sea.

These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are bringing clean energy to their towns, fighting fracking developments, and so much more. Most of all, they’re making a real difference for our climate when it matters – and you can too.

Join a Climate Reality chapter today and join the fight for a sustainable future.
 

*/ climate changeclimate crisisactionunited statesamericarenewablesLocal Actionstate actionchapterThe Climate Reality Project3 Big Myths about Natural Gas and Our ClimateTake Climate Action by Transforming Your Lawn with Edible LandscapingWhat Is the Greenhouse Effect?Lead: There’re more than a few reasons to be hopeful that, like so many other not great things going on right now, the current state of climate inaction in the US shall pass. And probably sooner than you think. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/americans-will-win-climate-yes-really?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Americans Will Win on Climate (Yes, Really!)Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2M68N4o
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How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the World

4 weeks 1 day ago
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So what does the climate crisis look like around the world? It’s a big question and to make it easy, we put together a library (of sorts) of posts exploring the crisis across the Earth. Here are five nations experiencing climate change in five completely different ways:

How Is Climate Change Affecting the Philippines?

The Philippines has long been particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. But in recent years the nation has suffered even more, thanks to increasingly violent storms like Typhoon Haiyan. On average, about 20 tropical cyclones enter Philippine waters each year, with eight or nine making landfall.

Take a deeper look at how climate change affects the Philippines and the role geography and development play in making a tremendous challenge even greater. Find out more

How Is Climate Change Affecting Canada?

Mention Canada to anyone almost anywhere and several things spring immediately to mind. Famously polite people. Very, very good hockey players. A culture of inclusion. And Tim Horton’s.

It’s also unbelievably beautiful: From the temperate Pacific rainforests of British Columbia to the old French architecture of Montreal, the chilly, vital Arctic to Banff National Park, considered by many to be “the zenith of the entire Rocky Mountains,” the country is full of wonder.

But all that wonder is at risk. Read more (including an exclusive interview with Canada’s minister of environment and climate change)

How Is Climate Change Affecting Mexico?

Mexico is known for its incredible Rio Grande and the breathtaking Sierra Madres. For centuries, the Mayan, Aztec, and Toltec people built their lives there. It was the birthplace of renowned painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

But today, climate change is transforming Mexico’s geography, environment, and future – a country that more than 120 million people call home. Learn more

How Is Climate Change Affecting Germany?

Germany is the largest national economy in Europe and the fourth-largest (nominal GDP) in the world. It is a well-known and innovative manufacturer, a center of art and culture, home to Alpine vistas and thriving cities, and some of the globe’s great beer-makers.

But climate change is transforming Germany’s environment and future. From extreme heat and powerful storms to related public health and food security concerns, this world leader is far from invulnerable to the impacts of our warming world. Get the facts

How Is Climate Change Affecting the UK?

In 2017, renewables accounted for almost one-third of all electricity generation in the entire UK, and there’s a very good reason for the concerted effort: The UK is feeling the impacts of the climate crisis and is taking action to stop it. From extreme heat and powerful storms to public health, the consequences of our warming world are becoming a daily reality. Read more

Ready to Join the Fight for Solutions?

When you see what’s at stake to climate change, it’s easy to feel discouraged or defeated. But here’s the good news: solutions to the climate crisis are already available today. Renewable energy is one of the most powerful ways we can fight for a better tomorrow.

Curious about clean energy? In our free fact sheet, we lay out the facts – what renewable energy is, how it’s different from fossil fuels, and what types are being used today.

Get the facts! Download this free, printable resource today and spread the facts about clean energy and climate solutions

climate changeglobal warmingPhilippinesmexicoCanadaUnited Kingdomgermanyclimate impactsclimate change effectsclimate change affectsclimate actionclimate realityExtreme WeatherwildfiresThe Climate Reality ProjectFive Sustainable Cities Making a Difference for the PlanetHow Canada Is Taking Climate ActionGermany Is a Clean Energy Superpower – And Here’s the ProofLead: Around the world, climate change is driven by fossil fuels. But where one place sees heavy flooding, another may see widespread drought. One area may see devastating wildfires and another may see intense rain.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-change-impacting-different-places-around-world?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the WorldTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2N8ZkWv
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Climate Change and Health: Wildfires

1 month ago

This blog is a part of a new series from Climate Reality on the many ways that climate change is impacting human health. Check back for content on topics like hurricanes, heat waves, asthma, and more.

Wildfires are devastating communities around the world. From the billion-dollar destruction they cause to the incalculable costs of lost plant, animal, and even human life, these devastating natural disasters are scarring our landscapes and leaving those who make it out with their lives with long-lasting health concerns.

And conditions are only expected to become even more favorable for more frequent and intense wildfires in our warming world.

The climate crisis creates the perfect conditions for extreme wildfire seasons in the American West and many other regions around the globe. The reasons why are pretty simple science: Warm weather is arriving earlier and earlier and lasting longer. It goes to figure that snowpacks are melting earlier, leaving less water available during the heat of the summer. Precipitation patterns are also changing. The result? Parching of the land and die-off of plant life.

All these dead and dried-out plants then act as tinder, igniting when the heat soars and lightning strikes or a careless cigarette butt is tossed in the wrong direction. And, with less predictable rains, and seemingly more unpredictable wildfire behavior, once fires begin, it’s harder to stop them.

Add into the mix more development in the wildland-urban interface, and you have an increasing number of structures and people being placed at risk.

 

Greek Fires

Greece is burning, and if we don't tackle climate change it won't be the only one. #YEARSproject

Posted by Climate Facts on Thursday, July 26, 2018

 

>> Learn more: Is Climate Change Really Making Weather More Extreme? <<

In California, the now-largest wildfire in the state’s history, the Mendocino Complex Fire, has already burned more than 300,000 acres and is not expected to be fully contained until early September. As of this writing, we have yet to even reach the peak of fire season.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Of the 20 largest wildfires in California history, 15 have occurred since 2000. So have 13 of the 20 most destructive fires, measured by structures destroyed. In three Northern California wine country fires last October, 7,774 buildings were wiped out and 31 people killed.”

And what’s happening in California is just one example of many. In 2018 alone, wildfires have been pervasive across central and northern Europe, from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden to Malta, Poland, and Germany. They’re even coming where you might least expect it – the boreal forests that encircle the globe in the Arctic North, for example, have in recent years “experienced wildfires at a rate and scale not seen in at least 10,000 years.”

Worse, they’re also becoming deadlier. A fast-moving blaze just east of Athens, Greece, killed 91 people in July

But beyond even the tragic injuries and fatalities that can result directly from major forest fires, these climate-driven events can damage infrastructure, jeopardizing access to lifesaving care for extended periods of time, threaten water quality and food supplies, and of course, dramatically diminish the quality of one of the most important things on earth – the air we breathe.

RESPIRATORY AND CARDIAC PROBLEMS

It’s a terrible two-step. First, burning fossil fuels pollutes our air directly with irritants like particulate matter and soot. Then, as the greenhouse gases they release accumulate in the atmosphere and average temperatures rise, we’re seeing higher levels of ground-level ozone that can cause acute and long-term respiratory problems.

And that’s before the fire even starts.

“Hazy skies and thick, smoky air aren’t just symptoms of the fire — they present their own dangers, even when wildfires themselves remain very far away,” the New York Times reports. “Poor air quality can have disastrous effects on people’s health: like coughing, sore throats, extreme wheezing among people with respiratory disease, and cardiovascular illness. Prolonged exposure to bad air can even work its way into your lungs and blood stream.”

Wildfire smoke carries fine particles that “can penetrate deep into your lungs.” Exposure has been linked to burning eyes, heart and lung diseases, and even premature death – and these effects last long after the fire has been extinguished.

As just one example, in the last few years, Equatorial Asia has endured enormous forest fires annually. Recent research suggests that more than 100,000 premature deaths may have been caused by lung disease from smoke and particulate matter across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

And our most vulnerable people face even graver risk from poor air quality, especially those with existing heart, vascular, or lung diseases, senior adults, and pregnant women.

Children, including teenagers, are particularly sensitive to the harms of wildfire smoke, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “because their respiratory systems are still developing, they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults, they’re more likely to be active outdoors, and they’re more likely to have asthma.”

 

 

This Neighborhood Was Devastated by the Fires in California

We’re devastated to see the human impact of the unprecedented fires in California. We must do everything we can to prevent fires like this from becoming our new normal. (via NowThis)

Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, October 16, 2017

 

VULNERABILITY TO OTHER WEATHER EXTREMES

The destruction left in the wake of a major wildfire can also open the door to other impacts.

Climate Reality Leader Kathi King is a resident of Santa Barbara County, California. In January 2018, a major mudslide swept through the area following wildfires that destroyed vegetation that otherwise could have held back the earth following heavy rain. At least 20 people were killed, and Kathi was forced to take refuge in a tree until help arrived.

“The Thomas Fire, the [then] largest in California history, was contained in early January, just in time for a storm to approach Santa Barbara, with warnings of debris flow from the denuded hillsides,” she told Climate Reality earlier this year.

Kathi’s attempt to evacuate was hindered by flooding from the storm.

“I saw the pillars of a driveway in the glow of my taillights. I wedged my car against a tree, squeezed out onto the roof, wrapped my arms around a branch, and began making phone calls. I called my husband and son – no answer. I feared the worst.”

Her son and husband were safe, though “trapped with several other cars on an off-ramp. They were in about a foot of mud, but first responders had reached them and told them to shelter in place.”

>> Wait, Why Is Climate Change a Bad Thing? <<

Kathi’s story is a reminder that even after the danger of the wildfire itself has passed, numerous concerns and health impacts remain. Without the trees and vegetation lost to fires, homes, businesses, and other infrastructure – and the people who live and work in them – are left much more vulnerable to major flooding and mudslides and other hazards.

In the aftermath of flooding and attendant mudslides comes still, stagnant water, which can increase the likelihood of water-borne illnesses such as wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and ear, nose and throat infections.

Standing water also creates habitats for numerous vectors, perhaps particularly mosquitos, that can overwhelm already-reeling communities. Vector-borne diseases are spread by insects or arachnids (the vectors) like mosquitoes and fleas, and can include the West Nile and Zika viruses, among many others.

TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT WHAT MATERS

Climate-exacerbated wildfires can create many medical emergencies, but they are far from the only impacts of this crisis that can land you or the people you love in the hospital. From increasing the odds of dangerous hurricanes and flooding to extreme heat and infectious disease, climate change is already threatening our health and well-being – and even our lives.

So how do we fight back?

By taking action.

And the first step to taking action?

Knowing the truth about the climate crisis.

Join our email activist list and we’ll deliver the latest climate science and innovative ways you can get involved in the climate movement right to your inbox.

The climate fight has only just begun. We’ll be battling back in communities both big and small all across the country (and around the world) – and we hope you’ll join us.

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padding:2%; } .form-wrapper-marketo { width: 85%; } } @media only screen and (max-width: 800px) { .mktoForm, .mktoForm * { -webkit-box-sizing: border-box; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; box-sizing: border-box; -moz-box-sizing: border-box; padding: 10px; } .mktoForm { width: 100% !important; } .form-wrapper-marketo form { width: 100% !important; margin: 0 auto; overflow: auto; } .mktoForm .mktoGutter, .mktoForm .mktoOffset { display: none; } .mktoForm .mktoFormCol .mktoLabel { text-align: left; width: 100%; } .mktoForm .mktoFormCol { float: none; width: 100%; } .mktoForm .mktoFieldWrap { float: none; width: 100%; } .mktoForm fieldset { padding: 0 10px; } .mktoForm input[type=url], .mktoForm input[type=text], .mktoForm input[type=date], .mktoForm input[type=tel], .mktoForm input[type=email], .mktoForm input[type=number], .mktoForm textarea.mktoField, .mktoForm select { width: 100% !important; height: 1.5em; line-height: 1.5em; font-size: 18px; } .mktoForm select.mktoField { height: auto; width: 100%; 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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectFrom Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?We’re Not Giving Up On Clean Car Standards – And Neither Should YouTake Action: Join a Local ChapterLead: Wildfires are devastating communities across the globe. And conditions are only expected to become even more favorable for more frequent and intense ones in our warming world.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-wildfires?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Change and Health: WildfiresTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2MPygv9
ipacha

5 Ways NYC is Tackling Climate Change

1 month ago

It’s not only because we’re big fans, but Jay Z and Alicia Keys were right. New York City truly is a place “where dreams are made and there’s nothing you can’t do.” It’s a land of opportunities – and not only for aspiring Broadway performers and young writers.

The city is also a big center for climate action.

In the past year, President Trump has announced he’ll begin the process of pulling the US from the Paris Agreement. The White House has also moved to roll back important environmental policies. But the president’s hometown has been going down a very different, greener path, investing heavily in what the country needs the most – climate solutions.

>> Download our e-book on extreme weather and climate change <<

It’s in the city’s DNA to lead by example. And since the planet needs to move toward a more sustainable future, America’s largest city is showing the rest of the world how to get it done. 

But the Big Apple has another reason to take climate action. In 2012, the city was hit with one of the most destructive weather events of the last few years: Superstorm Sandy. The event was a hard lesson in the dangers of extreme weather and the climate crisis.

Sandy caused 43 deaths, destroyed thousands of homes and vehicles, and left close to 2 million people without power. As if that wasn’t enough destruction, the storm surge created by the event flooded the subway system, tunnels, and hospitals. 
 

Years of Living Dangerously: Superstorm Sandy

Did climate change really make Superstorm Sandy worse? (via Years of Living Dangerously)

Posted by Climate Reality on Friday, June 16, 2017


All told, the city’s economic losses totaled $19 billion. And scientists were quick to blame warm sea surface temperatures and climate change for turning the storm into a meteorological wrecking ball headed for the Atlantic Coast.

To prevent more Sandys – and help confront the climate crisis worldwide – New York City and New Yorkers have been taking huge leaps in their efforts to become more sustainable.

Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed a big plan for the city to embrace the principles of the Paris Agreement, despite President Trump’s announcement. New York’s plan – following the city’s trend-setting reputation – is the first of its kind. 

Even before the mayor’s decision, the city was working to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Now the city is working to offset all remaining carbon pollution by 2050, making it completely carbon neutral

Here’s how New York City is taking climate action:

1. Green Buildings

Big lights will inspire you in NYC, especially the ones coming from the city’s 1 million buildings. Think of the One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State. But the awe might wear off once you’ve learned that buildings are the city’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the city’s ambitious climate plan, large buildings will be required to meet fossil fuel caps and implement efficiency upgrades. In addition, city government and operations will switch to 100 percent renewable electricity.

2. Urban Forests

 Take a walk on the wild side of Central Park and you’ll find lots and lots of native trees. The city’s urban forests play a critical role in mitigating greenhouse gases by acting as a carbon sink – and providing clean air to the city’s more than 8 million residents

But the trees are also threatened by climate change and need protection. With this in mind, NYC Parks announced the creation of a 25-year plan to protect 43 types of forests in the city. It calls for a wise investment of $385 million.

3. Waste Not, Want Not

We all love NYC, but sometimes the trash on the streets brings us down. But that could soon change. As part of the city’s climate game plan, it wants to improve curbside organic waste collection and expand community composting sites. 

The goal is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere from household and business waste that ends up in landfills. As an added bonus, the plan would also make the city cleaner and less welcoming to pests.

4. Bring it, Big Polluters

Start spreading the news: NYC is not giving Big Polluters a pass for contributing to climate change (or denying its existence). The city announced earlier this year that it was going to sue five major oil companies and divest its pension funds from $5 billion worth of investments in fossil fuel-involved businesses.

A judge ended up dismissing the lawsuit but the city is getting ready to appeal. In the meantime, the initiative has encouraged other cities like Baltimore to file similar lawsuits.

5. Friendly Solar
 

This New York Start-Up Lets Residents Sell Solar Power to Each Other

Microgrids could be the future of energy. (via World Economic Forum)

Posted by Climate Reality on Tuesday, May 8, 2018


You may say we’re dreamers, but wouldn’t it be great to share renewable energy with your neighbors? It’s already happening in NYC. A startup is helping communities to sell and buy affordable and locally generated solar energy with microgrids. 

These arrangements could help the city reach its renewable energy goals. The Big Apple already ranks in the top 10 ten solar cities in the US but aims to install 350 MW of solar energy by 2025, more than double the amount it has today. 

In the US and interested in taking climate action in your community? We can help. Whether you’re a lifelong environmentalist or a new activist just starting out, there’s a place for you in your local Climate Reality chapters. Learn more about our chapters work now!

  New YorkclimatechangerenewablechaptersThe Climate Reality ProjectClimate Reality Chapters: Taking Climate Action in Your CommunityTake Action: Join a Local ChapterHow Canada Is Taking Climate ActionLead: The Big Apple is a big leader in fighting climate change.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/5-ways-nyc-tackling-climate-change?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: 5 Ways NYC is Tackling Climate ChangeTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2nUFFPe
climate

Climate Change and Health: Heatwaves

1 month ago

This is a part of a new series from Climate Reality on the many ways that climate change is impacting human health. This is the first blog in the series, but check back for content on topics like hurricanes, wildfires, asthma, and more.

What Exactly Is a Heatwave?

Generally speaking, “extreme heat conditions are defined as weather that is much hotter than average for a particular time and place—and sometimes more humid, too.” Temperature isn’t the only part of the equation: to qualify as a heatwave, extreme heat usually needs to last at least two or three consecutive days.

The humidity component is also important here. Take a look at the heat index graph below. For example, it may be 96°F (36°C) outside but if the relative humidity is 65 percent, it feels like 121°F to the human body -- while in the shade. Exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15°F! And that’s dangerous. Very dangerous.

Source: Center for Disease Control, Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare

Some quick facts:

Number of fatalities by hazard (2006-2015) in the US. Source: Center for Disease Control, Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare

 

How Do Heatwaves Impact Our Health?

Plain and simple, exposure to a heatwave can overwhelm the human body. Our bodies are designed to keep our temperatures at about 98.6°F, but exposure to a heatwave makes it very difficult to maintain a healthy temperature. That’s because one of the best mechanisms the body has to keep itself cool is sweating. But if it’s both very hot and humid, sweat isn’t able to evaporate on our skin and we can’t cool down.

We see people especially impacted by heatwaves when it doesn’t cool down overnight. As one expert explained, “If the temperature remains elevated overnight, that's when we see the increase in deaths. The body becomes overwhelmed because it doesn't get the respite that it needs… When a person is exposed to heat for a very long time, the first thing that shuts down is the ability to sweat.”

According to the CDC, there are three main phases that the body goes through after prolonged exposure to extreme heat:

  • Heat cramps: “Muscle spasms, often in the abdomen, arms, or calves, caused by a large loss of salt and water in the body. Heat cramps can occur from prolonged exposure to extreme heat combined with dehydration, and they commonly happen while participating in strenuous outdoor activities such as physical labor or sports.”
  • Heat exhaustion: “A severe illness requiring emergency medical treatment. It can occur from exposure to extreme heat over an extended period of time (usually several days), especially when combined with dehydration.” Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. 
  • Heat stroke: “The most serious medical condition caused by extreme heat, requiring emergency treatment. Heat stroke (or hyperthermia) occurs when the body can no longer regulate its temperature, and its temperature rises rapidly—up to 106°F or higher…. It can result in death without immediate medical attention.”

It’s important to remember that, like most climate impacts, heatwaves don’t affect all people the same way. Young children, the elderly, the poor, and people with preexisting conditions (like respiratory disease or diabetes) are the most at risk when exposed to extreme heat.

So, Exactly How Are Heatwaves Related to Climate Change?

Of all the types of extreme weather, heatwaves may be the most obvious one to connect to climate change and, well, a warming world. As humans burn more and more fossil fuels, we’re releasing heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. As a result, we’re seeing more and more warmer-than-average years and more frequent extreme heat events. And if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, we’ll keep setting heat records and keep experiencing more heatwaves.

Source: Center for Disease Control, Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare

Yes, extreme heat and heatwaves have happened since the beginning of time. But across the board, climate change is making heatwaves more common, more severe, and more long-lasting.

Luckily, solutions to the climate crisis (and its health impacts) are available today. Clean, reliable energy like solar, wind, and geothermal don’t release heat-trapping greenhouse gases like oil, coal, and natural gas. That’s why we have to make the shift. Renewable energy, at the end of the day, just makes sense for the health of our families.

How Are Other Types of Extreme Weather Related to Climate Change?

It’s not just heatwaves. Droughts. Wildfire. Hurricanes. Flooding. All these types of extreme weather have been linked to our changing climate. In our free e-book, Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know, we dive into the details — and also outline what you can do to stop climate change and work for a healthier future. Download the free e-book today.

*/ climate changeHealthheatwavesThe Climate Reality ProjectWait, Why Is Climate Change a Bad Thing?Not a Pretty Picture: Climate Change and Health in Four Infographics Dr. Michael Mann on Extreme Weather: “We Predicted This Long Ago”Lead: When we talk about climate change, it’s easy to get lost in data points and science jargon and forget the human side of the story. But when the world gets warmer, real people’s lives are impacted. Here’s how climate change, heatwaves, and health are all intertwined. facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-heatwaves?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: Climate Change and Health: HeatwavesTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2L11fux
ipacha

How to Throw a Climate-Smart (End of…) Summer Party

1 month ago

With Labor Day just around the corner and the days getting a tiny bit shorter as each one passes, you’re no doubt itching to wring every last second of fun you can out of summer 2018. And what better way to do just that than a rip-roaring party!

Summer parties are a great way to gather the people in your life to enjoy each other’s company, catch up, and savor good food and good weather. But they can also be kind of an environmental mess, creating more than their fair share of waste.

But there’s plenty you can do to make your event clean and green.

No matter what type of fiesta you’re looking to host, Mother Earth News recommends holding it “outside during daylight hours to reduce your electricity usage and take advantage of natural lighting.”

So what else can you do to pair your great time with commonsense climate action? Read on for a quick rundown of ways you can lessen your party’s footprint.

DON’T TRUCK IT IN

This time of year, in much of the US, it’s harvest season. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and much more are hitting their stride; if you’ve got a garden, you’re likely picking ripe cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, and various beans by the bucket-full. Pretty soon, the apples will be ready, and (in the northeast, at least) grapes will come not long after. So why not take advantage of the great fare at your fingertips?

All of which is to say, fresh, in-season fruits and veggies from your local farmers market or your own backyard are not only great tasting, healthy treats for your guests, they also involve far less climate-changing emissions than commercial agricultural production of the same crop.

The reasons why aren’t exactly rocket science: commercial produce sometimes travels great distances to your local grocery store in large, often-refrigerated, gas-guzzling (i.e., carbon-emitting) trucks.

Plus, home and other small-scale growers tend to use far less water than their commercial counterparts, which is no small thing at a time when climate change is driving major shifts in precipitation patterns all over the world, resulting in some cases of drought and crop loss.

Even for non-produce items, keep the distance the food has traveled in mind as well. A truck carrying potato chips burns fossil fuels just like one carrying broccoli and baby carrots. So if you’re able, try to source as much of your party spread as you can from as close by as you can get it.

>> Food and Water Security and The Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know <<

And while you’re at it, if possible, attempt to provide your guests with real plates and flatware for all of those yummy eats. If you can’t bring some of your own from home (the loss of a matching dish from a set is not something we take lightly), you can always visit a local thrift shop and walk away with a little mix-‘n’-match vintage-y fun.

“Skip individual bottles and cans and make a pitcher of punch or bring a few bottles of local wine to share,” Mother Earth News also suggests. “Finish with reusable cloth napkins.”

And if real plates, flatware, and more just won’t work for you, do your best to opt for non-toxic paper plates that can be recycled as well as biodegradable utensils made from recycled materials. 

While it might make post-party clean up more of a pain, you’ll be doing the earth a real solid. 

DECORATE WITH REUSABLE STUFF TOO

The same principle applies to your party décor – if you can eliminate disposable items, do so.

While you’re at the thrift shop picking up plates, why not take a peek at the tablecloths they have on offer? At the farmers market scoping out a sampler of local fruits and vegetables? Check out the flower stand too. (Cut flowers and potted plants look great as table centerpieces!) Maybe some local crafters will even be on-hand with candles, hand-made soaps, preserves, and/or sundry bric-a-brac that could double as unique ornaments and party favors.

What we’re getting at is, any way you can eliminate waste, you should take it.

Many disposable items are mass produced at factories that contribute carbon pollution to the atmosphere, and are transported by the same kinds of fossil fuel-powered trucks, trains, and planes that deliver produce to big box chains across the country. We all use some of these products from time to time, but attempting to scale back that usage wherever we can is a climate win, lightening your (and your party’s) carbon footprint.

REMIND YOUR GUESTS WHAT’S AT STAKE

The climate crisis might not seem like a terribly great party conversation topic, but with current federal fuel economy standards in jeopardy, devastating wildfires blazing across the American West, heavy rains causing recent major flooding up and down the East Coast, and very high heat scorching much of Europe, it’s an important one to bring up.

When you talk, your friends and family listen. That’s why talking about the facts of the climate crisis is one of the best ways to take climate action. It can be as simple as letting them know the steps you took to make your summer party more sustainable – and why you did it. Modeling climate-smart behaviors is a great way to let your friends know what matters to you.

And if your friends are a science-minded bunch – or perhaps particularly, if some of them are not – and you’re looking to plug a little thought-provoking entertainment into your event, consider inviting one of our trained Climate Reality Leaders to your gathering to deliver a (free!) presentation.

During a presentation, you’ll not only learn what the climate crisis means for our planet, you’ll also hear what it means for your community and even for you and your guests personally.

>> Request a Presentation <<

Our Climate Reality Leaders come from all walks of life, but they all share the same desire to make a difference and help create a sustainable future for the planet. Best of all, they are presenting pros who can tailor their delivery to your party needs – all the way down to a 10-minute presentation with a simple message: The climate crisis is urgent, but the solutions are at hand.

In the meantime, sign up for our email list today and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest climate science and all the ways you can get involved in the movement for climate solutions.

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In the US? html, body, div, span, applet, object, iframe, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, blockquote, pre, a, abbr, acronym, address, big, cite, code, del, dfn, em, img, ins, kbd, q, s, samp, small, strike, strong, sub, sup, tt, var, b, u, i, center, dl, dt, dd, ol, ul, li, fieldset, form, label, legend, table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td, article, aside, canvas, details, embed, figure, figcaption, footer, header, hgroup, menu, nav, output, ruby, section, summary, time, mark, audio, video { margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; vertical-align: baseline; } /*master control div*/ .form-wrapper-marketo { width: 100%; margin: 20px auto; } /*FORM WIDTH CONTROLLER*/ .form-wrapper-marketo form { width: 100% !important; margin: 0 auto; overflow: auto; } /*CUSTOM LABELS*/ .mktoAsterix { color: #333333 !important; } label.mktoLabel.mktoHasWidth { font-family: BrandonText-Medium; font-weight: bold; color: #333333; } /*FIELD STYLES*/ .mktoForm input[type=text], .mktoForm input[type=url], .mktoForm input[type=email], .mktoForm input[type=tel], .mktoForm input[type=number], .mktoForm input[type=date], .mktoForm select.mktoField { height:50px !important; 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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectSpring Into Action: 6 Tips for Climate-Smart Gardening10 of the Best Tweets on Climate Change Climate Reality Chapters: Taking Climate Action in Your CommunityLead: Parties can create a real environmental mess. But there’s plenty you can do to make your event clean and green.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-throw-climate-smart-summer-party?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: How to Throw a Climate-Smart (End of…) Summer PartyTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2vTuUQO
ipacha

From Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?

1 month 1 week ago
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If we’re ultimately able to hold the line on global warming and avert the worst of climate change, it will be in no small part thanks to the agreement and what happened at the UN’s COP 21 conference in 2015.

And for the critics out there, yes warming is continuing and glaciers are melting and seas are rising. Yes, we absolutely need government leaders to increase the ambition of their goals to fight it. But Paris was a critical first step, a door opening to the future we actually want, and without it . . . well, we’re not going to go there.

So what is the Paris Agreement and why is it such a big deal?

Before we answer that, let’s take a step back. Entering the world of UN negotiations can sometimes feel like stepping into one big alphabet soup. Here’s a quick glossary of the important who and what is hiding behind all those acronyms.

  • UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international framework for climate action adopted in 1992. To make things confusing, the name is actually most commonly used to refer not to the treaty but to the UN department (or “secretariat”) in charge of advancing the organization’s climate change goals.
  • COP/COP 21: Conference of Parties. There are 197 nations, or “parties,” in the UNFCCC (the text framework). Each year, the UNFCCC parties come together for a conference of parties (COP) meeting. COP 21 was the twenty-first meeting, which took place in Paris, France in November and December 2015.
  • NDC: Nationally Determined Contributions. What made the Paris process different was that it wasn’t based on any UN agency or body telling countries what they needed to do. Instead, each country came up with and committed to its own specific plan to fight climate change at home – its NDC.

>> Get the visual: Check out our infographic, “From Paris to Poland: Keeping Climate Action on Track” <<

Alright, now that we have some of the lingo down, let’s dive into the details.

What Is the Paris Agreement? How Does It Work?

At COP 21, the world agreed on one primary, overarching goal: to limit “global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.”

(On the face of it, 2 degrees may not seem like a lot, but remember how delicate and interconnected the global climate system is – just think about the difference between 0 and 1 degree C.)

To get there – and achieve a number of other goals in the agreement – each country committed to an NDC spelling out how much it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by and by when. Many also included commitments to other steps to fight climate change.

The critical part of NDCs is that they gave each country the flexibility to tailor its climate action plan to its own unique circumstances. For some countries – like Brazil – this meant a primary focus on fighting deforestation. For others – like India – this meant focusing on cutting coal and transitioning to renewables.
 


Morgan Freeman explains COP 21 in Paris.

Along with the steps they were taking at home to meet their NDCs, many countries also started exploring new kinds of collaborations. As just one example, COP 21 also saw the birth of the International Solar Alliance – a group of sun-rich countries led by India and France working to triple the amount of solar power in the world by 2030.

But even when negotiators reached the Paris Agreement, they knew what they agreed to won’t limit greenhouse gas emissions enough to hit the 2-degree goal. Luckily, they built in a review mechanism that requires countries to ramp up their commitments and submit new, more ambitious commitments every five years.

The agreement also included goals in a number of other important areas, areas like climate finance to help developing nation pursue low-carbon growth and transparency to ensure countries are living up to their promises.

What the Paris Agreement didn’t include, though, are the rules and finished mechanisms to guide progress and hold countries accountable. And without strong rules and clear mechanisms, there’s the risk of all the critical commitments and goals becoming mostly big words on paper.

That’s why this year’s COP – taking place in December in Poland – is so important. It’s when countries start reviewing their commitments and hammering out the rules and specifics of how the international community moves forward. It’s when the Paris Agreement gets real.

As UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa says, “COP 21 saw the birth of the Agreement. In Poland, as I call it Paris 2.0, we will put together the pieces, directions and guidelines in order to make the framework really operate.”

What Happened at COP 21?

Every year since 1995, the nations part of the UNFCCC have come together for a COP meeting (see above). Each of these conferences is held to discuss how the world can work together to solve climate change.

These conferences achieved varying degrees of success (with 2009’s Copenhagen a notable letdown), but even ahead of COP 21 in 2015, we knew this one would be different. As Climate Reality’s president and CEO, Ken Berlin, said ahead of the event, “We’ve been waiting years for this moment. Let’s make it count.”

The negotiations in Paris lasted two long, heated weeks. And that’s what COP 21 was, a negotiation. Diplomats and leaders, as well as NGOs and civil society representatives, were working together (and fighting together) to nail down the exact language of the Paris Agreement – the exact language on how the world was going to come together and stop climate change.

Right up until the last minute, things were tense. There were plenty of reasons to believe that the world wouldn’t get a strong, ambitious climate agreement. As our own Ethan Spaner said at the time, “If you want to know what tension looks like, stand in a room full of people who’ve spent decades working on a deal quite literally to save the world, only to see it one word from falling apart at the last possible moment.”

But against all odds, it didn’t fall apart – the world adopted the Paris Agreement and less than a year later, it entered into force and began working (more on that below).

What Happened After Paris?

The Paris Agreement was adopted in December of 2015. Then, on Earth Day in 2016, 175 nations signed and publicly committed to the agreement. And finally, the Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016 – after more than 55 parties (representing more than 55 percent of global emissions) formally joined it at home.

To explain that phrase – “enter into force” – as we said at the time, “At its simplest, entry into force means that the compulsory elements of the agreement become binding on the parties who have joined. It also means the voluntary elements – or let’s say strongly encouraged elements – are also triggered into motion.”

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon captured the spirit of the moment: “What was once unthinkable is now unstoppable.” With the Paris Agreement in full force, countries are bound to work on the goals in their NDCs and report on their progress.

It was an incredible moment, no two ways about it. But with scientists clear that current NDCs won’t meet the 2 degrees of warming or less target, the challenge now is to get countries to make their NDCs more and more ambitious – and as soon as possible.

In fact, the agreement now in force requires them to do just that.
 


A video from Grist, detailing the conferences that led up to COP 21 in Paris.

I Heard the US Is Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Is that True?

In June of 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. But – and this is important – the US has not officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement and cannot officially do so until November of 2020.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is working to rollback America’s Clean Power Plan – one of the key federal tools for the US to meet its Paris commitments. All this might all sound like bad news (and it’s not great, that’s for sure), but it certainly isn’t the end of the world.

Get this: Seven out of 10 Americans see the climate changing and want our government to act. And in the time since the announcement, American states, cities, and businesses have continued to push forward on aggressive climate action without the federal government.

And so has the rest of the world. Every other country – and even states like North Korea and Syria – remain part of the deal. Only the White House (and even in the US, it pretty much is only the White House) wants out.

Need some climate hope? We have it in spades: India and France are leading the way to a brighter future for developing nations with the International Solar Alliance; China recently launched the world’s largest carbon market; and Costa Rica has run largely on renewable energy since 2014.

The bottom line is this: The world is moving forward on climate action and the Paris Agreement, with or without the Trump Administration.

How Can I Take Action to Help?

Header image: ©2015 UN Climate Change/Flickr cc by 2.0

paris agreementclimate changewhat is the Paris Agreement?Paris Agreement explainedCOP 21unfcccUnited Nationsglobal warmingThe Climate Reality Project[Infographic] From Paris to Poland: Keeping Climate Action on Track Forget Trump’s Paris Announcement: The 5 Climate Stories that Matter a Year OnMajority Rules: American Attitudes on Climate in 7 StatsLead: What’s the Paris Agreement? In short, the most ambitious global climate agreement the world has ever seen. Here’s a breakdown of the details.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/paris-poland-what-paris-agreement?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=RFPEmail Subject: From Paris to Poland: What is the Paris Agreement?Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/2MbukYP
ipacha

We’re Not Giving Up On Clean Car Standards – And Neither Should You

1 month 1 week ago
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It’s time for EPA to protect Americans’ health – not oil company profits.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just announced plans to weaken vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards for American cars and trucks. Just as bad, the agencies also plan to stop states, like California, Pennsylvania, New York, and 10 others plus the District of Columbia, from setting their own ambitious standards for cleaner cars and electric vehicles.

Who wins? The oil companies heading up the Fortune 500.

Who loses? The rest of us.

Stand up to the president and his cabinet of Big Oil insiders and climate deniers and pledge your support for strong fuel efficiency standards for vehicles now.

Since taking office, this administration has worked tirelessly to roll back vital climate regulations. The fuel efficiency standards currently in the crosshairs were developed to drastically cut tailpipe pollution, averting emissions equivalent to shutting down 140 coal-fired power plants for a year, and fight the climate crisis that threatens us all.

Now, this latest action by the Trump Administration will, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, halt “progress on reductions in emissions and oil use at the same time that transportation has become the largest source of global warming emissions in the US.”

Less efficient vehicles mean dirtier cars. By 2040, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) estimates the Trump Administration’s moves to weaken fuel efficiency standards will dump an additional 2.2 billion metric tons of the dirty emissions driving the climate crisis into our air. Your air. Your children’s air.

TAKE ACTION NOW

The motivation for this action is crystal clear. By rolling back clean car standards and trying to take away states’ legal right to fight pollution, the administration is trying to stop the renewable revolution and prop up the fossil fuel industry driving the climate crisis.

Seven out of 10 Americans want the government to support clean energy over dirty fossil fuels, but on Capitol Hill, they’re only listening to a few powerful, moneyed interests. Some issues are too fundamental to be part of a political giveaway. And the air we breathe is chief among them.

We’ve got a message for the White House: This fight is far from over. We’ll be battling back in every way possible – and we hope you’ll be there with us.

climate realityclimate changecommentEPAclean carsfuel efficiencystates rightstrump administrationThe Climate Reality Project3 Big Myths about Natural Gas and Our ClimateClimate Reality Chapters: Taking Climate Action in Your Community5 Places to See So You Know What's at StakeLead: Stand up to President Trump and his cabinet of fossil fuel insiders and climate deniers and pledge your support for strong fuel efficiency standards.facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/not-giving-up-clean-car-standards-neither-should-you?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: We’re Not Giving Up On Clean Car Standards – And Neither Should YouTwitter URL: https://bit.ly/2vVMraN
ipacha

10 of the Best Tweets on Climate Change

1 month 2 weeks ago

In 280 characters or fewer, these tweets cover the absurdity of climate denial, ponder what alien life would think about dirty energy, and worry that the future of rap is at stake. Here are 10 of the best tweets about climate change:

1. Yeah, could we?
 

Could reporters stop asking if political leaders "believe" in climate change and start asking if they understand it instead

— Megan Collins (@megancollins) June 2, 2017


Here’s the reality: There is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that our climate is changing and humans are to blame. When we burn fossil fuels, we pump heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere that cause temperatures to rise. And just like the health of our families, climate change should never be a partisan issue! Get the facts in our free Climate 101 e-book.

2. Neil deGrasse Tyson has questions ready to ask alien life
 

If I were ever abducted by aliens, the first thing I’d ask is whether they came from a planet where people also deny science.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 25, 2015


As climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann told Climate Reality in an interview last year, “There is no longer a worthy debate to be had about whether we have a problem. There is a worthy debate to be had about how we go about solving that problem.”

3. He’s not the only one who wonders what extraterrestrials would think
 

Alien: why should I not blow up this planet?

Human: we are an advanced species

A: how do you travel?

H: we light old dinosaurs on fire

— naan swanson (@johnbiehl) June 12, 2015


Dirty, dangerous fossil fuels are the energy of the past. And clean, reliable renewable energy is helping us power the world today. Get the facts in our free fossil fuel fact sheet.

4. Oh, Chad
 

there’s no way I could get away with naming a fossil fuel industry spokesman this in a book or a movie pic.twitter.com/fFMxKk0MSV

— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 12, 2017


Thanks to the fossil fuel industry, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about our warming world and renewable energy. But don’t worry – we have a fact sheet about renewable energy to help you get to the truth.

5. A story for the ages
 

Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.

— Scott Westerfeld (@ScottWesterfeld) March 21, 2014


6. Just a quick public service announcement
 

PSA:
Earth is not flat
Vaccines work
We've been to the moon
Chemtrails aren't a thing
Climate change is real#StandUpForScience

— Lucky Tran (@luckytran) August 3, 2017


Those are just the facts. If you know that climate change is real (and you live in the US), join the Climate Majority and join us in fighting for solutions.

7. Even JK Rowling appreciates this one
 

The existence of Twitter is forever validated by the following exchange. pic.twitter.com/f3TciHPFFh

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 16, 2016


We think that’s what they call a mic drop.

8. An oldie but a goodie from Stephen Colbert
 

Global warming isn't real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.

— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) November 19, 2014


Weather and climate aren’t the same thing! And cold weather doesn’t disprove climate change.
 

9. Sometimes climate denial eclipses all logic
 

Scientist: The eclipse will be just like this...
People: Wow, you were right.
Scientist: Now about climate change
People: Shut up egghead

— Dirty Computer (@Johngcole) August 21, 2017


Climate scientists (like the incredible Dr. Katharine Hayhoe) work tirelessly to research and deliver the latest information on the future of our planet. If 97 percent of doctors tell you that you’re sick and need an operation, wouldn’t you do something about it?

10. The future of rap is at stake, did you know?
 

Global warming's for real y'all. Someday there won't be any rappers with ice in their names. Only water. Water-T. Water Cube. Vanilla Water.

— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) April 26, 2012


Sign up for Climate Reality’s email activist list and get the latest on climate science and solutions sent straight to your inbox. We can’t promise to be as funny as the people featured in this post (at least not 100 percent of the time), but we promise to give you ways to take action and make a difference. Sign up today!

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