Category Archives: Climate

Why climate change is a national security issue

Besides the threat of climate refugees desperate to escape droughts and storms trying to migrate (as is the case already with some pressing at the US-Mexican border), US military bases such as the often-flooded Naval Station in Norfolk VA are also in jeopardy.

Emailed by the national Sierra Club, this photo of Offutt Air Force Base in Sarpy County, Nebraska, shows damage from the recent flooding there (photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force taken by Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake):

Here is the Sierrra Club comment:

Exacerbating Circumstances

Was climate change the cause of last month’s “bomb cyclones” and catastrophic flooding in Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Iowa? No one can say for sure, although the magnitude of recent storms, floods, and wildfires—and the fact that the 18 hottest years on record have all been since 2001—certainly suggest a correlation. “Climate change is here,” says Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “We can’t stop the rain if it comes, and we can’t stop the rivers from rising….

Local lawmakers, municipal leaders push for renewable energy

Daily Local News, Apr 2, 2019

WEST WHITELAND—Local lawmakers and municipal leaders found out what it will take to transition to 100 percent renewable energy at PennEnvironment and Sierra Club’s Chester County Ready for 100 program in West Whiteland.

More than 150 Chester County residents explored clean energy and energy efficiency at the expo Saturday, and learned how they can transition their homes to cleaner resources to help reduce carbon footprint.

“I am very pleased to see the current focus on our environment and climate change,” said state Rep. Christina Sappey. “We have a responsibility to next generations to take immediate action to protect and preserve what we’ve done right, correct what we haven’t and implement strategies that get us to 100 percent renewable energy. It’s for these reasons I am honored to do whatever I can to work with our environmental advocacy partners towards this goal.”

The event also featured a panel discussion, “Our Clean Energy Future,” which engaged attendees in a discussion about how to push our communities and the state of Pennsylvania to transition away from dirty fossil fuels. The panel featured local elected officials and energy experts who showcased the existing momentum there is to transition away from dirty fossil fuels and how our community can help.

“Climate change is real,” said Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. “It is happening, and we do cause it. It is something that as a country we, and frankly, a world, we need to deal with as quickly, as rapidly, and as aggressively as we possibly can.”

Houlahan is a cosponsor of The Climate Solutions Act which calls for 100 percent Renewable Energy by 2035 and sets greenhouse gas emission targets to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050….

read more at Daily Local News

Youth Climate Strike West Chester

Event from Youth Climate Strike West Chester (sign up there)

Start: March 15, 2019• 1:45 pm (was 11:00 AM)
End: March 15, 2019• 5:45 pm (was 3:00 PM)
Location:Everhart Park•N/A, West Chester, PA 19380
Host Contact Info: vleibowitz71@gmail.com

Our Mission

We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation —especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities— are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time.

Our Demands

Green New Deal

An equitable transition for marginalized communities that will be most impacted by climate change

An equitable transition for fossil-fuel reliant communities to a renewable economy

100% renewable energy by 2030

Upgrading the current electric grid

No creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure (pipelines, coal plants, fracking etc.)

The creation of a committee to oversee the implementation of a Green New Deal

That has subpoena power

Committee members can’t take fossil fuel industry donations

Accepts climate science

A halt in any and all fossil fuel infrastructure projects

Fossil fuel infrastructure disproportionately impacts indigenous communities and communities of color in a negative way

Creating new fossil fuel infrastructure would create new reliance on fossil fuels at a time of urgency

All decisions made by the government be tied in scientific research, including the 2018 IPCC report

The world needs to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050

We need to incorporate this fact into all policymaking

Declaring a National Emergency on Climate Change

This calls for a national emergency because we have 11 years to avoid catastrophic climate change

Since the US has empirically been a global leader, we should be a leader on climate action

Since the US largely contributes to global GHG emissions, we should be leading the fight in GHG reduction

Compulsory comprehensive education on climate change and its impacts throughout grades K-8

K-8 is the ideal age range for compulsory climate change education because:

Impressionability is high during that developmental stage, therefore it’s easier for children and young adults to learn about climate change in a more in-depth manner, and retain that information

Climate change becomes a nonpartisan issue, as it truly is because it’s based solely on science from the beginning

Preserving our public lands and wildlife

Diverse ecosystems and national parks will be very impacted by climate change, therefore it’s important that we work to the best of our abilities to preserve their existence

Keeping our water supply clean

Clean water is essential for all living beings, when we pollute our water supply, or the water supply of someone else, it’s simply a violation of an essential human right

Our Solutions

The extraction of Greenhouse Gases from the atmosphere

Reforestation– replenishing our forests by planting trees and allowing them to thrive, sustainable forestry

Reduced food waste– methane emissions from rotting food in landfills contributes immensely to overall Greenhouse Gases emissions

Emission standards and benchmarks

We need to create standards and benchmarks for reducing Greenhouse Gases that align with those expressed by the science community to avoid 2° Celsius warming

Changing the agriculture industry

Less carbon-intensive farming

More plant-based farming

Using renewable energy and building renewable energy infrastructure

Stopping the unsustainable and dangerous process of fracking

Stop mountaintop removal/mining

It is very harmful to our environment and people working in these fields

*These are not the sole solutions, these are just some solutions that we approve of

*To be effective, these solutions need to be implemented at a large scale by the United States government

Leading the charge to a 100% renewable energy future for Pennsylvania

from PennEnvironment, 2/19/19

Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the country, but that could all change this legislative session.

PennEnvironment is reintroducing legislation in both the House and Senate this session that will require Pennsylvania to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. This legislation couldn’t come soon enough, with recent reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s, that show that climate change’s effect are not in the distant future as previously thought.

A commitment to renewable energy at this level would make Pennsylvania a leader in clean energy, and, as a state that depended largely on coal until more recent years, serve as a primary example of how states can take action to drastically reduce their emissions.

“We’re not California. We’re not Hawaii,” said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, to CBS News. “When you have a purple state that Trump won, where the General Assembly is dominated by conservative Republicans, it’s significant and shows that other states with a history of fossil fuel production can lead the way.”

Just one month into the new legislative session, the bill already has more than 50 cosponsors.

Read more here from Environment America.

Why Are People Finally Believing in Climate Change?

By Mukta Patil, Sierra, Feb 19 2019

A climate communication expert talks bad weather, and young Republicans

A record number of Americans—73 percent—now understand that global warming is happening. About 62 percent of them know that humans are mostly responsible. What is bringing this change in understanding? Is it a generational shift? Or just a whole lot of bad weather?

Anthony Leiserowitz is director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), which is behind this new data. Along with colleagues from George Mason University, the YPCCC has spent the last decade studying American awareness of climate change and how to shift that awareness. Leiserowitz spoke to Sierra about young Republicans, the weather report, and why it’s easier to explain climate change to a person in India than to a person in the US.

Sierra: The most recent survey that YPCCC has done shows awareness of climate change is at its highest since you started collecting data. What is it about right now that is significant?

Anthony Leiserowitz: The number of Americans who think global warming is happening is at an all-time high. We saw an eight percentage point jump in Americans who were very worried about climate change. That’s a big surge. When you do these kinds of surveys twice a year, you’re used to seeing changes that are one, two, or maybe three percentage points. Very rarely do you see that kind of movement.

Questions like “When will climate change start to harm people in the United States?,” “When will it harm you, your family, your community?”—we saw a big jump in those numbers— much more than “How much will it harm future generations or other plant and animal species?,” which are more distant.

We think that in the end, this big jump from March to December 2018 has a few different things that have sort of converged. One is the extreme, record-setting weather—from Hurricane Michael destroying part of the Panhandle in Florida to the terrible wildfires that went on and on in California.

They still have a long way to go, but the media is beginning to use the words “climate change” when they are reporting those extreme events. That’s crucial, because there have always been fires and floods and droughts. Of course, all disasters cannot be connected to climate change, but many can. As the media begins to make that link for people, it helps solidify in people’s minds that this is happening and it’s not some far away, distant thing—it’s tearing apart communities right here, right now, in the United States.

The other thing that happened was the release of two major scientific reports—the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] special report on what it would take to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming, which is a real wake-up call for the global community, saying that we’ve actually got about 12 years to very seriously bend the curves on our emissions if we are to have any hope of staying below 1.5 degrees. That got a fair amount of press coverage….

read more at Sierra

Sierra Club Applauds Governor Wolf for Setting Statewide Climate Protection Goals

Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, January 8, 2019

Harrisburg, P.A.– Governor Wolf signed an executive order today committing Pennsylvania to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels, consistent with the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. The executive order also includes a provision re-establishing the Green Government Council, co-chaired by the Department of General Services, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Protection. The goals of the council are to reduce energy consumption in state government by 21 percent, procure 40 percent of state agency energy use from renewables, and replace 25 percent of the state fleet with electric vehicles by 2025.

Pennsylvania marks, at least, the 17th state to commit to goals consistent with the Paris Climate Accord in the face of inaction on a federal level. After President Trump took office, the United States became the first country to withdraw from the Accord’s climate goals, drawing intense criticism internationally, and from many cities, states, and businesses here at home.

In response, Joanne Kilgour, Chapter Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, responded with the following:

“The science is clear – climate change is happening all around us and affecting not only communities across Pennsylvania, but around the world. Governor Wolf’s commitment to serious climate action and reinstating the Green Government Council is a bold statement that signals Pennsylvania is going to do its part to curb climate change, which will cut other dangerous pollution and promote job growth across the state. Already, major cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have committed to meeting the Paris climate goals, and communities in Chester and Delaware Counties are leading the way by committing to 100 percent clean energy. Sierra Club is excited to support Governor Wolf in implementing this plan to slash carbon pollution. As an organization, we will continue to work for an energy future that is equitable and powered by 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”

Contact: Emily Pomilio, Sierra Club, (480) 286-0401, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org
Joanne Kilgour, (412) 965-9973, joanne.kilgour@sierraclub.org
Tom Schuster, (814) 915-4231, tom.schuster@sierraclub.or