Causes of Climate Change
Climate change is caused by an increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and certain synthetic chemicals) in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) make our planet warmer by trapping heat in our atmosphere. Energy, Transportation, Industry, Waste, and deforestation are the biggest sources of GHG emissions in most areas.
Over the past few centuries (considered a relatively short amount of time in the context of earth’s history), GHGs have increased in our atmosphere at an unnaturally high and alarming rate due mostly to human activities like burning gas, oil, and coal (fossil fuels) to produce electricity and power our cars, trucks, and industries. This extreme increase in greenhouse gases will result in disastrous impacts for our health, safety, environment, economy, and quality of life.
For a fun way to learn Climate 101, check out Bill Nye the Science Guy’s video:
Impacts of Climate Change in San Diego
Climate change is the biggest fight our generation. San Diego’s quality of life is at significant risk from climate change, from impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on our beautiful coastline and coastal infrastructure to the serious public health risks of heat waves and worsening air quality.
While the precise impacts are still developing, science tells us to expect the following by 2050 in San Diego:
Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge: Sea level will be 12-24 inches higher, which could cause unforeseen damage to and loss of coastal property and inland storm and wastewater infrastructure, as well as loss of tourism due to polluted coastal waters and beach erosion resulting in a significant loss in public beach access.
Extreme Heat: The annual average temperature will increase by around 5 Degrees Fahrenheit and we will experience 7 times as many days of extreme heat each year.
Health Impacts of Heat & Impaired Air Quality: Air quality and heat impairments will lead to a costly increase in hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular problems:
Storms: We will face more intense storms, with 13 percent more rainfall during the biggest rain storms, which can flood our streets, damage our buildings, and strain our storm and wastewater infrastructure.
Drought: The drought will be prolonged and our freshwater resources will be under increased strain, with 12 percent less runoff from snowpack and 16 percent decrease in precipitation.
Fire: The region will experience increased fire frequency, both in their intensity and the area they cover. In fact, since 2000, the number of homes lost to wildfires each year has doubled from prior decades, from 500 per year to 1000 per year. This can cause serious safety threats and deaths for residents, as well as costly damage to homes, businesses and community facilities.
Food supply impacts: Our agriculture and food systems will be further stressed pushed to their production due to potential water supply shortages and extreme heat.
Wildlife impacts: Native plant and animal species will face challenges adapting to rises in temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.
For more information on local, San Diego climate impacts, check out the Climate Education Partners report.
What the Public Says on Climate Action, By the Numbers:
Californians know they’re already experiencing the impacts of climate change and want the government to take action now. Here’s what Californians are saying, according to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.
- 79% know global warming is a serious threat to California’s future and quality of life
- 86% say it’s important for the government to pass regulations and spend money to prepare for global warming
- 62% say climate change is already impacting us now and another 24% say it will happen in the future.
- 88% want more solar power and 82% support the state using clean energy for at least half of its power by 2030.
- 73% want stricter emissions on power plants
- 73% support cutting petroleum use from vehicles in half
San Diego County voters also want climate leadership now, according to report from the Climate Education Partners:
- 84% believe climate change is happening
- 72% want San Diego to take a leadership position in setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- 77% believe we can have a strong economy at the same time without having to choose one over the other
Where you and Climate Action Campaign come in:
Climate Action Campaign is leading the fight of our generation– to stop climate change. Learn more about Our Four Fights to stop climate change, what are climate action plans, where we’re taking over, and how you can become a member and shake things up with us!