Climate change

Climate change is reaching every corner of the globe.  Being part of the solution is no longer just a “feel good” environmental cause, but is imperative to our economy, our food supply, our communities and to ensuring a livable world for future generations.

What is climate change?

According to the EPA climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among others, that occur over several decades or longer.

We like the analogy that it is like a baseball player on steroids. A baseball player will still hit home runs if not taking steroids, but as he takes steroids the frequency and intensity of the home runs increase. Just like we will still have hurricanes, hot days and other significant climate events without climate change, the frequency and intensity of these events increases with climate change.

Why should we care about climate change?

Our world: Have you noticed a subtle shift in your natural world? Are birds migrating earlier, is your ski season different, or perhaps you can grow something in your garden that you could not grow before. All of these shifts represent a changing climate.

A climate change is also having more devastating consequences by increasing the frequency and intensity of weather related events including droughts, hurricanes, heat waves, and an increase or decrease in rainfall (depending on your region). By taking action to reduce your footprint you are working towards a future where the climate is less destructive.

The economy: Did you know that climate change is already decreasing the global GDP? According to a study commissioned by 20 governments, climate change is costing the world more than $1.2 trillion and erasing 1.6% from the global GDP. This number is expected to rise to 3.2% by the year 2030.

Did you know that here in the United States the government already has calculated the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) at $21 per mT of carbon? However, many are calling this number too low. The SCC estimates the benefit society will gain (only monetarily) by avoiding the damage caused by each additional metric ton of carbon dioxide, or in other words, the monetary cost from the damages of a mT of carbon. The longer we wait to take action the larger the carbon debt.

The cost of climate change is not all wrapped up in models, but can be seen The most obvious examples the impact of climate change on our economies include the cost of climate events like droughts, hurricanes, floods and wildfires. Less visible costs include creating infrastructure to deal with the increased frequency and severity of climate events.

While all models use different factors to account for the cost of climate change, they all show the same thing, it is already costing us money and it is expensive. For individuals and business having a large carbon footprint is likely to represent inefficiency in your life or business. Not addressing climate change and behaviors that contribute to climate change is costly on a macro-economic and micro-economic level.

 Additional Resources

Climate Change and Natural Resources

World Resources Institute
US Environmental Protection Agency
David Suzuki Foundation

Reduce Your Impact

Business, Sustainability and Climate Change