Young activists are organizing rallies on climate change throughout the county. The organizers in Pittsburgh want to mobilize people their own age who are passionate about the environment to turn out at the polls.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth is warming at an unprecedented rate and human activities are the main driver. Global leaders have been meeting for decades to address this issue, which threatens both human and natural systems.
The most recent major effort– the 2015 Paris climate agreement — seeks to strengthen the global response and avoid the worst effects of climate change, by limiting a global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The effects of the warming climate are already being felt. Among the most significant impacts to humans are rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, water and food shortages, and social upheaval and conflicts linked to the rapid changes.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the “human influence on the climate system is clear.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration writes, “human activities have increased the abundance of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, which a large majority of climate scientists agree is the main reason for the 1.5°F (0.85°C) rise in average global temperature since 1880.” Major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons(PFCs) ,sulfur hexafluoride(SF6) and nitrogen triflouride (NF3).
Scientists can also look far back into the past and see how the earth’s climate has changed by examining natural time capsules, such as ice cores, layers of glaciers, ocean sediments, tree rings, and coral reefs. Tiny pockets of air left in ice show scientists a “paleoclimate” record, stretching back more than 800,000 years. It reveals “the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events,” according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.
Although it has a relatively small share of the global population, Pennsylvania is an energy powerhouse and a major contributor of greenhouse gases.
In 2015, Pennsylvania was the third-largest carbon emitter among states, after Texas and California, according to EIA data. Over the past 110 years, Pennsylvania has seen a long-term warming of more than 1 °C (1.8°F), interrupted by a brief cooling period in the mid-20th century, according to the state’s latest climate impact assessment. The state’s warming trend is expected to continue and be coupled with increased precipitation.
Warmer temperatures are expected to extend the growing season of corn, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Lancaster County will likely have to shift planting dates and rely on irrigation to adapt.
It’s warmer everywhere, and the rising temperatures are prompting government agencies to try to figure out what to do. For the first time, the state’s climate action plan will give advice to policy makers, people, businesses and communities.
Natural has been hailed as a cleaner-burning fuel that’s better than coal, but researchers find methane leaks are doubling the climate footprint of gas
Models show melting could lead to three feet of sea rise across the globe. “Three feet all over the world is a massive amount of water,” a researcher said.