It’s been a busy last month or so for climate change news. The biggest of the published findings was the Fourth National Climate Assessment from the US Government released over the Thanksgiving weekend. And the media coverage has been pervasive, covering everything from the fires in California to those few that still believe it isn’t real.
But the number of naysayers has been shrinking. In fact, last month’s Monmouth University Poll indicates that now nearly 8 out of 10 Americans believe the world’s climate is changing. That’s up from 7 in 10 back in December 2015 (source). That’s not a tectonic shift, but likely a very important one. For example, now a majority of Republicans, the party that most often identifies as climate change resistors, believe climate change is real.
But what does climate change really mean for us here in New England? Are we somehow safer or more at risk? Environment Massachusetts’s Ben Hellerstein reviewed the Fourth National Climate Assessment:Northeast in a recent blog article posted on their site and pointed out some of the biggest concerns.
- We’re particularly exposed to the impacts of climate change here, with the largest predicted temperature increase in the contiguous United States.
- Along the coast, sea levels have already risen three to four times faster than global averages.
- We’ll see less snow which will dramatically impact the winter recreation industry (it’s worth $2.7 billion a year).
- The warming Atlantic ocean will adversely affect the fishing industry. Not just the cod and lobsters that are already shifting north, but in time over half of all species will be negatively impacted.
- We’ll see more and more intense heat waves, causing some 650 more deaths a year by 2050 and over 2,300 more a year by 2090.
But, the author also seemed careful to point out (and we are much in agreement), that we still have time to do something about it. In short, it is time for more clean energy – a concept of course we are 100% behind.