“After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs” ~Wallace Stevens
Local Impacts of Climate Change
The climate has changed in Pennsylvania but people and governments around the world and here in Pennsylvania are embracing solutions and reducing their carbon footprints. As we work for more clean energy, more efficiency and more effective laws to slow and eventually arrest these changes, please use this local-impacts information sheet to discuss this urgent issue with your legislators.
What follows are some of the findings of the 2008 report, “Climate Change Impacts and Solutions for Pennsylvania,” compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists, with general agreement from the 2009 Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment from Penn State University.
As you will see in this list of local impacts, a changing climate is putting a strain on our local economy. The growing risks of climate change, including sea-level rise, heat waves, droughts, floods, disease and species extinctions all affect the economy. Quick action could limit the cost to 1 to 2 percent of GDP but costs could burgeon to 10 to 20 percent if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to continue unabated.
Pennsylvania is getting hotter. By midcentury, the number of days exceeding 90 degrees will rise from an annual total of 10 to 40. 100-plus degree days could jump from two to 24 in coming decades.
Temperature has been projected to rise by 1 degree Celsius if greenhouse-gas emissions are reduced significantly, but up to 6 degrees Celsius if they continue unabated, or 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winters have warmed the most, with expectations that the usual 30 days of snow each winter will drop by half.
Over the past 100 years, annual average temperatures had increased by a half degree.
Pennsylvania is experiencing fewer but more violent storms and less snow cover.
Annual average rainfall increasing in all regions but the central southern area of the state. Precipitation is expected to rise by at least 5 percent.
Health of Pennsylvanians
Those affected by heat can expect more health issues.
Air quality, as a result of heat, will deteriorate substantially, with exacerbation of allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Wildlife, including the state bird and fish will be adversely affected.
A warming climate is expected to cause substantial changes in bird life.
The state fish, the brook trout, also could be a victim of climate-change impact in Pennsylvania.
People who enjoy skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing are seeing the changes.
Skiing and snowmobiling will be bygone activities with significant reductions in snow accumulation. Even snow-making at resorts would become impossible.
With rising heat, growing seasons will lengthen. But that advantage soon would give way to lower yields for apples, sweet corn and Concord grapes, along with reduced dairy production. Air pollution, pollen and insect problems will worsen.
Sugar maple, black cherry and American beech trees will diminish, even disappear, from Pennsylvania forests, the report states, although the PACIA says state forests could benefit as well.
The Costs of Inaction
Without action, Pennsylvania, at a minimum, will develop a climate similar to current-day southern Virginia, with a worst-case scenario of a climate similar to current-day Alabama.
The Good News……!
If Pennsylvania and the rest of the world take action and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions dramatically, through the promotion of clean energy, many of the worst impacts will be avoided. Clean energy and efficiency retrofits needed to address this crisis create jobs that cannot be outsourced, benefitting us all.
THE PENNSYLVANIA DELEGATION
Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey
1st District-Robert Brady-D
2nd District-Chaka Fattah-D
3rd District-Mike Kelly-R
4th District-Scott Perry-R
5th District-Glenn Thompson-R
6th District-Ryan Costello-R
7th District-Patrick Meehan-R
8th District-Michael Fitzpatrick-R
9th District-Bill Shuster-R
10th District-Tom Marino-R
11th District-Lou Barletta-R
12th District-Keith Rothfus-R
13th District-Brendan Boyle-D
14th District-Mike Doyle Jr.-D
15th District-Charles Dent-R
16th District-Joe Pitts-R
17th District-Matthew Cartwright-D
18th District-Tim Murphy-R