State of the Climate: A Local View
Special Earth Day Edition April 21, 2017
By Chris Granger, Executive Director, Cool Davis
According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, an organization whose federal funding is currently at risk, the years 2014-2016 were the hottest on record. Greenhouse gases and global sea level rise have also steadily increased over those years.
NOAA’s yearly State of the Climate report provides us with science-based facts that explain in no uncertain terms that the climate — which is the average of weather over time, not what it feels like on any particular day or week — is changing rapidly.
Other global indicators of change include widespread bleaching at the Great Barrier reef, ocean acidification, megastorms, cycles of drought and flood, and resulting climate refugee crises.
Locally and around California we are already seeing impacts:
* Loss and more unpredictable Sierra snowpack and water supply;
* Forestry damage and higher risk of fires;
* Damage to agriculture and our agriculture economy;
* Increasing heat days and increased demand for electricity; and
* Public health impacts with new vectors (Zika, West Nile), more heat-related illness, mold and mental health impacts of climate displacement (flood, drought).
The current national political environment has now manifested what some in our community and state realized several years ago. Action on climate is in our hands — as individuals, families and organizations. We have the power to act to limit the worst impacts of climate change.
Here in Davis, we are lucky to have leaders who understand this. No one else will make the decision for us. What our households and our community does is up to us!
Drawing from the Cool California household carbon calculator, we know at least one measure of our average annual greenhouse gas footprint: For ZIP code 95616, the average-sized household creates 40.6 tons of greenhouse gases and for ZIP code 95618 it’s 66.9 tons.
When we compare these to the average household globally of 10 tons and our average global goal of just 2 tons per household (to reach climate stabilization), it is clear who needs to make some change now. We do!
That is why in 2010 our City Council challenged all of us by setting an audacious goal to get the carbon out of our lives and homes by 2050. That is why hundreds of Davis households are acting now to change their habits, save resources, a little money, and the planet. On this Earth Day 2017 won’t you join us in that effort?
Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.