Blog Action Day ‘09: Climate ChangeOctober 15, 2009
Perusing my favorite blogs and I found that a friend who doesn’t typically do “green” (not that she isn’t environmentally conscious, just her blog is not devoted to that topic) had a post on endangered species. There she mentioned Blog Action Day. Blog Action Day is always October 15th, when bloggers around the world blog on the same topic. This year’s topic is Climate Change.
The first thought that comes to my mind is an illustration I saw this summer in a Union of Concerned Scientists report. It showed how Illinois’ heat index measures will increasingly approximate those seen in more southern states over the next century. A quick search (I love Google – or more specifically The Eco Key) and I found The Union of Concerned Scientists, July 2009 report: Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Midwest: Illinois. And here’s the picture.
The yellowish states are what Illinois will be like in 2040–2059 and then 2080-2099 if the world meets the lower of two emission standards. The red depictions are what Illinois will be like if the world meets the higher of the two emission standards (and the higher standard is still lower than the emissions of up to at least 2008).
The report describes how climate change has already and will continue to affect Illinois, particularly how it will affect Chicago and how it will affect agriculture. [They have reports for all the regions of the country and an international report.] Long story short: it will be hotter in the summers and wetter in the winters, springs and falls with more heavy downpours. Flooding will occur more frequently in the winter and spring, but droughts will increase in the hotter, drier summers. How this will affect crops is somewhat unpredictable, although most models are suggesting it will be for the worse. Livestock is also likely to suffer from almost constant heat stress under the hot dry summer conditions. The report shows how the effects will be much more severe by the end of the century if emissions follow their higher emissions model rather than the lower one.
It isn’t all doom and gloom. The report makes some fairly concrete suggestions for how to minimize the effects of climate change on Illinois. They suggest:
• increasing energy efficiency and conservation in industries and homes;
• boosting the use of renewable energy resources such as wind power, advanced biofuels, and geothermal energy;
• improving vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing the number of miles driven; and
• improving agricultural practices to reduce the release of heat-trapping emissions from soil tilling and fertilizer application.
I wonder how the people of the United State and the world will react to global climate change. Will we ever make any changes or just let climate change and deal with the aftermath?
Meanwhile, this website is just chockfull of information – it’s going to be a new go-to site for me.