Climate Change and its Impact on Local, Regional and Global Health and Sustainability

 

Climate Change has emerged as the most significant and existential threat to the health and sustainability of our community, our region and our planet. 

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ statement on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 report issued on August 9, 2021:

"Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 report is a code red for humanity.  The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable:  greenhouse‑gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.  Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible".

 

Rich countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan and much of western Europe, account for just 12 percent of the global population today but are responsible for 50 percent of all the planet-warming greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels and industry over the past 170 years. 

 

 

Changing - Courtesy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 

Accelerating threats include:

  • more powerful and destructive natural disasters, including storms and wildfires;
  • food insecurity caused by extreme drought and flooding conditions;
  • ocean warming that reduces the retention of oxygen and the ability to support marine life;
  • flooding of coastal and other high population areas (over 100 of the most highly populated cities in the world are either at or below sea level);
  • dramatic increases in refugee populations fleeing from impacted flood, drought and famine areas;
  • an unprecedented melting of the polar ice caps and artic tundra that is causing dramatic sea level rise and releasing even more CO2 and methane greenhouse gases into the atmosphere;
  • an increase in communicable diseases and insect borne diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks and other vectors, and 
  • so much more, including increased conflict and insecurity arising from all of the above

 

There is hope, opportunity and time to stop the inevitable, but only if we ACT NOW individually and collectively as citizens of our beautiful, precious and life sustaining planet (see the resource/action list below):

 

10 Reasons to Be Optimistic About Climate Change (excerpted from an article appearing in Rolling Stone Magazine on 11.03.21

 

Do you know your Carbon Footprint (the quantity of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere by your household and transportation activities)? Find out here with EPA's Carbon Footprint Calculator.

 

Local, Regional, State, National and Global Information, Advocacy and Action Resources (please note that the following organizations are listed for informational purposes and a listing does not imply official endorsement by Ulster County government or any of its departments or agencies. We urge you to investigate and research any and all of the resources below to determine which information resonates with you and how you can act and make a difference)

Ulster County Green New Deal

SOLARIZE ULSTER

  • Get involved in Ulster County’s Green New Deal initiative by subscribing to community solar (homeowners, renters, and businesses can apply). Ulster County has selected three trusted partners to work with County residents.
  • By subscribing to community solar, you won't have to install any equipment on your home, and you'll save up to 10% on your electric bill, with no upfront costs or monthly fees
  • Your subscription directly supports clean, renewable energy resources in our region
  • When you subscribe, your provider will donate $100 to the County’s Green New Deal fund. This fund will be used to jump start more Green New Deal community programs

Ulster County Department of the Environment (including Climate Action Plan)

NYS Climate Smart Communities

Scenic Hudson

Clearwater

Sustainable Hudson Valley

Catskill MountainKeeper

Riverkeeper

Environmental Advocates New York

Citizen's Campaign for the Environment

Audubon

ClientEarth

Climate Action Network

Climate Reality Project

Conservation International

Defenders of Wildlife

Earthjustice

ecoAmerica

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Working Group

Extinction Rebellion

Fridays for Future

Friends of the Earth

Greenpeace

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

League of Conservation Voters

Nature Conservancy

Natural Resources Defense Council

National Wildlife Federation

Oceana

Ocean Conservancy

Rainforest Action Network

Rainforest Alliance

Sierra Club

Wildlife Conservation Society

 

The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action and measures it against the globally agreed Paris Agreement aim of "holding warming well below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C." A collaboration of two organisations, Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute, the CAT has been providing this independent analysis to policymakers since 2009.

CAT quantifies and evaluates climate change mitigation targets, policies and action. It also aggregates country action to the global level, determining likely temperature increases during the 21st century using the MAGICC climate model. CAT further develops sectoral analysis to illustrate required pathways for meeting the global temperature goals.