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Fact 4: Lessening the effects of or adapting to climate change will require coordinated action by citizens and governments all

over the world.

1. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a very long time. This has two impacts: a. Regardless of source, CO2 disperses throughout Earths atmosphere, giving a relatively uniform concentration everywhere. b. The atmosphere is a true commons in which all people share the effects of CO2 no matter how much they emit. 2. Environmental impacts = population wealth. a. Population continues to grow. b. People everywhere strive for greater wealth. With greater wealth comes more energy use. c. To minimize the impacts of greater wealth, energy must be obtained without CO2 emissions. d. This will require investment in energy production systems that do not use fossil fuels and, if possible, the development of techniques for capturing and storing CO2 from existing fossil fuel based power plants. 3. The amount of CO2 being emitted is so large that reductions in emissions by any single country will have little impact. a. Because the developed world has contributed the bulk of the CO2 currently in the atmosphere, it is only fair that they lead the way to a lower CO2 future. b. Because the developing world has a large population and increasing wealth, it too must adopt low CO2 energy policies.

Things You Can Do

1. Learn and talk about climate change. 2. Get involved. Join an organization advocating for change in our energy policies. 3. While individual lifestyle changes are important, changes in our basic energy systems are required. Call or write your elected officials about the need for action at the national and international levels to limit the emission of CO2 from fossil fuels. 4. Drive less, but when you do drive, use a vehicle that has the best mileage possible while meeting your needs. 5. Use alternative transportation when possible. 6. Buy renewable energy certificates through your electric power company. 7. Weatherize your home. This minimizes your heating and cooling energy needs and their costs. 8. Buy Energy Star appliances. 9. Reduce your use of electricity at home. a. Change to compact fluorescent lights or LEDs. b. Adjust your thermostat. c. Use less hot water. d. Eliminate vampire loads from electronic devices. 10. Plant trees.

Climate Change Facts

September Arctic Sea Ice

Climate Action Alliance of the Valley

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Fact 1: Climate change is occurring. The evidence for climate change is clear and compelling.
1. Temperature reconstructions show that current warming is unprecedented within the span of human civilization.

Fact 2: Climate change is being driven by increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
1. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing because of the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). 2. CO2 acts like a global thermostat. a. Water vapor is responsible for about 50% of the greenhouse effect and clouds about 25%. b. Even though CO2 contributes only 20% of the greenhouse effect, it influences the amount of water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere, and hence, global temperatures. 3. Satellites show a reduction in outgoing (i.e., cooling) radiation at the wavelengths associated with CO2 and other GHGs. 4. Measurements also show an increase in incoming (i.e., warming) radiation at the wavelengths associated with CO2 and other GHGs. 5. The upper atmosphere has been cooling while the lower atmosphere and the Earths surface have been warming. This is characteristic of changes in CO2 concentration and not changes in solar activity. 6. As the concentration of CO2 has increased, the number of warm nights has increased faster than the number of warm days. This is characteristic of changes in CO2 concentration and not changes in solar activity.

Fact 3: The effects of climate change are visible today.

1. Extreme rainstorms are consistent with a warmer world. A warmer atmosphere holds more water, triggering more intense rainstorms. Intense rainstorms are becoming more common in the US and abroad. 2. Shifting rainfall patterns, resulting in prolonged droughts, are also consistent with a warmer world. Much of the US has experienced drought in the past several years, as have other regions of the world. 3. Insect borne diseases are spreading in the US because warmer weather allows insects to survive where they previously could not. Examples include dengue fever in the Florida Keys and Lyme disease in Maine. 4. Between 2002 and 2007, Virginias Highland County maple syrup production, which depends on cool night time temperatures, declined 57%. For more information about climate change visit the following web sites: environment/global-warming/?source=Nav EnvGlobal alwarming.html tm new-resources-about-climate-change/

From Mann, M. E. et al., PNAS, 105: 13252-13257, 2008. Copyright 2008, National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, with permission.

2. Glaciers are melting all over the world. 3. Sea level is rising. 4. The Arctic ice cap is shrinking and the nature of the ice is changing. 5. Weather is getting more extreme. 6. Ecosystems are changing. a. Many species of plants and animals are changing their time of flowering or migration. b. Indicator lilac bushes grown by USDA in the NE are blooming two weeks earlier. c. Coral is bleaching. d. Permafrost, a layer of permanently frozen soil in the Arctic and Antarctic, is melting. e. Fish populations are changing in the southern reaches of the Arctic seas. 7. Although skepticism is an inherent part of science, 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is occurring.