Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere every time we burn oil, coal, or natural gas for energy. The buildup of CO2 acts like a blanket that traps heat around our planet and disrupts its climate. When we emit heat trapping gases into the atmosphere it causes temperature and sea level rise. As world citizens, as Americans and as Rhode Islanders, we are responsible for addressing this problem. Taking practical, common sense steps to address climate change, like carbon pricing, is in the best interest of future generations.
Effects of climate change in ri
Climate change is real and urgent. This is the hottest year ever recorded in human history, and we are seeing the impacts of these changes here in Rhode Island.
- This last summer was historically warm in Rhode Island. And that’s part of a larger trend--in fact, we have on average of over 30% more extremely warm days (over 80 degrees) per summer this decade than was the average just a few decades ago.
- Sea level rise threatens our communities.
- Sea level has already risen 10 inches at the Newport tide gauge since 1938. Coastal storm surges are now impacting more properties because rising sea levels allow flooding to reach farther inland.
- The floods in 2010 hit communities like Warwick and Cranston, causing $330 million in damage throughout the flood areas. Floods like these are getting more frequent and more severe.
- Warming waters and ocean acidification, both linked with rising temperatures, harm our ocean-based industries
- Winter sea surface temperatures of Narragansett Bay have risen 4° F since the 1960s.
- The Rhode Island lobster industry has been decimated: due to warming waters, local lobster populations have moved north and winter flounder populations have disappeared.
- Invasive insects are growing more common.
- East Bay trees have been decimated by an explosion of winter moth caterpillars, whose population growth is tied to warmer weather.
- We’re seeing more tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Growth in tick populations growth is tied to warmer weather.
- Mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects thrive in the warm environments that climate change causes.
effects of climate change worldwide
Climate change is a global issue. Governments, corporations, and citizens are taking action.
In December, 2016, over 190 nations attended the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, where they agreed on the international Paris Agreement to keep average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Bloomberg Buisness News' Carbon Clock does a great job of explaining the science behind climate change. Click here to view it.
NASA recently released a view of carbon dioxide on a new supercomputer. Click here to view it.