Stories

Warnings Increase on Changing Climate

December 5, 2018

By Marielena Castellanos

In the last few weeks, reports have increased on the negative impacts of human caused climate change.

Just this past week, the Associated Press (AP) reported United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres opened the climate summit in Poland by urging world leaders to take the threat of global warming seriously, and to act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.

The AP also reported Guterres called climate change “the most important issue we face.”

A study published this past week by the Institute of International & European Affairs said the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement will make it easier for other countries to slow down their efforts to fight climate change.

Last year, President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris agreement on Climate Change mitigation because he believed it would undermine the U.S. economy.

Here in California about one week ago, the state released a report requested by State Senator Ricardo Lara.

Titled The Public Health Impacts of Climate Change in California” the report was conducted to help guide legislators and local leaders on how to respond to new climate threats, including wildfires in the state.

About the report, Lara said, “Understanding the health impacts from climate change should fuel our urgency to take action.”

Highlights in the report include an estimated increase of 6,700 to 11,300 annual premature deaths due to higher average temperatures by 2050, reduced food security, and a rise in insect-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

Here in San Diego in October, advocates for the environment called on leaders in the City of San Diego to increase efforts to fight climate change in low-income communities of color.

The Environmental Health Coalition released a report calling for advances to a number of issues affecting climate change, including air quality and public transportation.

Carolina Martinez, policy director at Environmental Health Coalition, addressed the impact to underserved communities, “In San Diego, disadvantaged communities are hit first and worst by the harmful impacts of climate change. They experience the largest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and toxic pollution known to cause serious health impacts. With this baseline assessment, we are sending a loud and resounding message to the City of San Diego to start investing here in our communities and start increasing transit options now.”

According to the report in the City of San Diego, 90 percent of census tracts with the worst air pollution due to diesel emissions are located in low-income communities of color.

The report also states transportation continues to be the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Diego, making up 54.24 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and adds that the vision for improvement is one where no one would need to own a car.

On the day after this past Thanksgiving, on Black Friday during the afternoon, the federal government released a major climate change report. The report was put together by a number of different federal scientists and experts outside the government. It was the second part of the Congressionally mandated Fourth National Climate Assessment.

The Trump administration was criticized for the timing of the report’s release and viewed by some critics as an effort to hide the report.

About that report, the Guardian, a British daily newspaper reported, the report states without global mitigation efforts, climate change is projected to impose substantial damages on the U.S. economy, human health, and the environment,

The newspaper also reported, it is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent.

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