Climate Change Isn’t Coming – It is Here!
Dire predictions were made of steadily increasing temperatures, deteriorating public health, reduction in fresh water supply, increased rates of wildfires, rising sea levels, loss of habitat for native plants and species. The specter of seven times more days of extreme heat with incrased smog and ozone levels, sixteen percent less days of rain but eight percent more frequent intense rains which cause flooding, 100-year weather events becomoing annual events – all lie on the horizon. These predictions and a host of other negative impacts of cllimate change were laid out in detail at a recent League of Womens Voters “Climate Change and It’s Challenges” Luncheon co-sponsored by the San Diego Sierra Club and other environmental action groups.
Nicola Hedge, Director of the Climate Initiative from the San Diego Foundation, Timu Gallien, UCSD Chancellor’s Fellow and Postdoctoral Scholar from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and Kayle Race, from the Environemtal Health Coalition, spoke passionately about the consequences of not taking action now to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The speakers emphasized that the future is here in many respects. We are already seeing significant impacts and changes in our local climate. During high tides and winter storms already the San Diego Airport, the Convention Center, La Jolla Shores, Imperial Beach, Shelter Island and Mission Beach experience costly flooding and destruction from the backing up of the storm drains and sewer systems due to rising sea levels. Wildfire season began early this spring, and Cal Fire reports it exhausted its annual budget in September, experiencing 1000 more fires this year than all of 2013. Our average annnual temperature has increased 1.7 degrees since 1985 baseline with an expected 4.8-degree rise by 2050…..
Currently, the extreme California draught is causing alarm, not in the future, but now, about our decreasing water supply due to reduced snow pack in the Sierras, decreased availability of Colorado River supplies and our ever-increasing population Likewise, extreme high termpatures, extended heat waves with resultant poor air quality are causing our hospials to be over-whelmed during heat emergencies with emergency room visits for heat stroke, asthma and other heat-related illnesses.
….San Diego City is to be commended for its leadership in developing a Climate Action Plan that takes positive steps for our future, most notably its goal of 100% clean energy by 2035.
This article, by Karenlee Robinson, was excerpted from HISIERRAN, the newsletter of the Sierra Club San Diego Chapter, November/December, 2014.