climate change

Sunvest Solar, Inc.

A recent report commissioned by the United Nations predicts dramatic consequences if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates. So, what can you, as an individual, do about climate change? 

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Susan Bence

The world faces dramatic consequences ranging from heightened food shortages to shrinking coastlines as soon as 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, according to scientists from 40 countries convened by the United Nations. 

For years experts believed a rise of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit was the threshold for severe impacts. But after reviewing more than 6,000 scholarly studies, the scientists concluded human health, economies and ecosystems will suffer with a smaller rise of 2.7 degrees.

Some of the world's top climate scientists have concluded that global warming is likely to reach dangerous levels unless new technologies are developed to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says pledges from the world's governments to reduce greenhouse gases, made in Paris in 2015, aren't enough to keep global warming from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees F) above pre-industrial temperatures.

Susan Bence

People worldwide recently protested climate change in the “Rise for Climate” march. Last Saturday, thousands took to the streets of San Francisco, the site of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit, and hundreds gathered in downtown Milwaukee. 

Azam Niroomand-Rad was among 350-plus people who walked through downtown Milwaukee.

“We are here so people are aware of their environmental problems so that in November they will be able to vote for the candidates who support environmental issues,” she said.

When Star Ames was a child there was a flood. The streets were like rivers and the houses like islands. It was 1960 and the village of Odanah, Wis. was up to its neck.

The town had been built on the banks of the Bad River, in the floodplain. "I remember watching the river come up," Ames says. "Every place we thought was high enough, the water kept coming up."

Outrider Foundation

The Outrider Foundation's website opens with a dramatic satellite view of the earth slowly rotating as the sun blazes in the background. Click on climate change and images of intensely populated, highly industrialized scenes unfold. A giant ice formation crashes into an icy sea.

This past year, 2017, was among the warmest years on record, according to new data released by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The planet's global surface temperature last year was the second highest since 1880, NASA says. NOAA calls it the third warmest year on record, because of slight variations in the ways that they analyze temperatures.

Both put 2017 behind 2016's record temperatures. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010," NASA said in a press release.

Petrovich12 / Fotolia

The complicated clean up from Hurricanes Maria and Harvey continues. Millions are without power or fresh water, especially in the US commonwealth of Puerto Rico and in the United States Virgin Islands.

One of the assertions we often hear in recent years when a powerful hurricane strikes is that while climate change likely impacts the frequency and severity of major storms, we can’t connect any particular storm to the phenomenon of global warming. George Stone is a former natural sciences instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College and he says that assertion is wrong. 

Sam Kirchoff

A number of local citizens are concerned that scientific research is factoring less and less into policymaking. So, they formed Milwaukee Area Science Advocates, or MASA, to "champion science as a pillar of freedom and prosperity."

The idea to advocate for evidence-based policy decisions started brewing last winter, when a handful of people organized a March for Science in Milwaukee. It went well. On Earth Day, more than 3,000 people flocked to downtown.

Marge Pitrof

Last week, while President Trump was pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, researchers at UWM were busy working on GRAPES, or Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems. Faculty and students in electrical engineering won a national grant to find ways to improve the power grid, including, by adding renewable resources, and they don't believe the president's decision will impact their work in the long run.

Susan Bence

We Energies uses a variety of means to produce power. But for decades, coal-burning plants were the company's backbone. WUWM wondered whether the utility would beef up its use of coal, now that President Trump is walking away from the Paris climate agreement.

We Energies Spokesman Brian Manthey says don't expect to see additional coal burning. "It's important for our customers that we don't have all of eggs in one fuel basket."

Manthey says We Energies has been working to diversify its portfolio.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukeeans are still buzzing about President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The United Nations forged the agreement a few years ago; it’s dedicated to curbing global warming. WUWM asked people at Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee what they think the potential impacts could be on the environment.

Scott Beringer is relaxing in a lawn chair, eating a sandwich. He says he’s not happy with President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the Paris accord — the historic global agreement reached by 195 countries in 2015 to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Jacqui Patterson works in communities around the country to engage African-Americans on climate issues. She directs the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program and helped build the program from the ground up.

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