Climate Change Overview

Public Policy & Climate Change Forum

Summary

Current Situation:

By 2050, the typical heat wave days in Virginia is projected to increase from more than 10 to nearly 60 days a year. (statesatrisk.org)

Challenge:

How can we mitigate the effects of climate change in Virginia to see better results by 2050?

About

Source: Wikipedia

Scientists actively work to understand past and future climate by using observations and theoretical models. A climate record—extending deep into the Earth’s past—has been assembled, and continues to be built up, based on geological evidence from boreholetemperature profiles, cores removed from deep accumulations of ice, floral and faunal records, glacial and periglacial processes, stable-isotope and other analyses of sediment layers, and records of past sea levels. More recent data are provided by the instrumental record. General circulation models, based on the physical sciences, are often used in theoretical approaches to match past climate data, make future projections, and link causes and effects in climate change.

Factors that can shape climate are called climate forcings or “forcing mechanisms”.  These can be either “internal” or “external”. Internal forcing mechanisms are natural processes within the climate system itself (e.g., the thermohaline circulation). External forcing mechanisms can be either anthropogenic—caused by humans—(e.g. increased emissions of greenhouse gases and dust) or natural (e.g., changes in solar output, the earth’s orbit, volcano eruptions).

Physical evidence to observe climate change includes a range of parameters. Global records of surface temperature are available beginning from the mid-late 19th century. For earlier periods, most of the evidence is indirect—climatic changes are inferred from changes in proxies, indicators that reflect climate, such as vegetation, ice cores,[6] dendrochronology, sea level change, and glacial geology. Other physical evidence includes arctic sea ice decline, cloud cover and precipitation, vegetation, animals and historical and archaeological evidence.

United States House Select Committee on Climate Crisis

Source: House Select Committee on Climate Crisis

The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is charged with delivering ambitious climate policy recommendations to Congress “to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis.”

The committee was authorized by House Resolution 6 on January 9, 2019 and will publish a set of public recommendations by March 31st, 2020. Its members include experts in environmental justice, coastal flooding, clean energy development and other issues that are vital for addressing the climate crisis.

Chair of Committee:

United States Rep. Kathy Castor

Members: 
Ben Ray Luján, New Mexico—03
Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon—01
Julia Brownley, California—26
Jared Huffman, California—02
A. Donald McEachin, Virginia—04
Mike Levin, California—49
Sean Casten, Illinois—06
Joe Neguse, Colorado—02
Garret Graves, Louisiana—06, Ranking Member
Morgan Griffith, Virginia—09
Gary Palmer, Alabama—06
Buddy Carter, Georgia—01
Carol Miller, West Virginia—03
Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota—At-Large

Preparing for Climate Change in Virginia

Source: Georgetown Climate Center

This page provides an overview of the steps Virginia is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

On December 21, 2007, Governor Tim Kaine established the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change (through Executive Order 59). The executive order also directed the Commission to create a Climate Action Plan that would evaluate expected impacts of climate change on Virginia’s natural resources, public health, agriculture, forestry, tourism, and insurance sectors.

News

Climate change adversely affecting Virginians’ health, study says

Source: The Washington Post

The klaxon sound of a government alert went off on cellphones all over Northern Virginia at 3:35 a.m. Monday; the National Weather Service had issued a flash-flood warning for the region. Hours later, the state climatologist fielded phone calls about tornado watches and warnings in the central part of the state.

Such warnings may become more frequent in the future, and they may have major implications for human health, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 48-year-old environmental organization.

FACT SHEET: Stopping Climate Change in Virginia

Source: Food and Water Watch

Rising global temperatures risk irreversible worldwide ecological and climatic changes, with widespread impacts on human health and ecosystems. The threats include more violent storms, droughts, floods, acidifying and rapidly warming oceans, and altered growing seasons. In Virginia, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels due to climate change have resulted in saltwater intrusion, disappearing beaches and more intense storms and floods. We must transition away from dirty fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas to clean, renewable energy as soon as possible to prevent the worst effects of a warming planet. Virginia must — and can — shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

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