Climate change is Here
Climate change is real and poses an immediate threat to our global and local ecosystems. While greenhouse gases (GHGs) are necessary for retaining heat on earth and organism development, GHGs are accumulating at a rate which hasn’t been seen for over three million years. Drastic steps must be taken in order to slow and reverse the damage being done by GHGs before it is irreversible.
In 2013 the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their Fifth Assessment Report, indicating the extent to which climate change is caused by humans and what changes in the climate could mean for global ecosystems. In 2018, the IPCC released a special report indicating that the planet could face catastrophic impacts if warming reaches 1.5°C within the next 12 years.
Climate Change is Human
We have fewer than 10 years to reduce carbon emissions
in order to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change.
Climate Change is Already Affecting Wisconsin
Shifting temperatures in Wisconsin may weaken the state’s dairy industry. As weather gets warmer, dairy cows eat less feed and produce less milk. In addition to dairy, Wisconsin’s crop yield could suffer due to changing seasonal trends and unprecedented heat waves.
Air Pollution & Public Health
Air quality can affect Wisconsin’s environment in many different ways. As temperatures rise, ground-level pollutants like ozone will become more prevalent, leading to heart and lung disease. We could also see an increase in the number of hot days in Wisconsin, affecting people with medical conditions and those without relief like air conditioning.
Climate change will effect both plant and animal life around Wisconsin. As temperatures rise, forest composition will change, and warmwater fish will thrive as coldwater fish, like trout, struggle to adapt.
From 1958 to 2012 the Midwest has seen a 37% increase in heavy precipitation, the second highest increase among other US regions, indicating that the worst of the rainstorms each year are becoming even worse as climate change continues. These types of rain events are the ones that lead to devastating floods.
The Global Impacts of Climate Change
As global temperatures rise past 1.5°C ice will begin to melt at an exponential rate. At 1.5°C it is expected that Earth will experience at least one sea-ice free summer every 100 years. Rising sea levels would devastate coastal communities around the globe.
As Earth continues to warm, we will see areas on the equator experience hotter summers than ever before, while areas in the far North and South will see more mild winters, contributing to precipitation and flooding.
Precipitation & Flooding
With climate change, global precipitation levels will increase. Heavy rain events will contribute to higher prevalence of flooding around the globe, increasing the risk of casualties, damaging infrastructure, and burdening economies with high damage costs.
Changing climate will also change regular weather patterns and the severity of the weather. As average temperatures increase, some areas of the countries will experience heavy droughts and wildfires. In contrast, some costal areas will experience once-every-500-year storms several times in a decade, causing casualties and millions of dollars in damage.
NASA’s Climate Time Machine
Our work to address climate change
Clean Wisconsin has been a constant voice in addressing climate change in Wisconsin. Our team of policy, legal, and science experts are working to encourage clean energy in Wisconsin while also helping communities deal with the impacts of climate change.