“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.” — U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
Climate change is one of the biggest problems the world faces today. In 2017, costs related to damages from extreme weather and climate events cost the United States over $300 billion, making it the most expensive year on record. On the West Coast, wildfires ravaged national parks, peoples’ homes, and local economies, hurricanes of exceptionally strong force devastated cities from Houston to San Juan, and record floods devastated the Midwest and the South.
Since the 19th century, increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions have raised the average surface temperature by 2 degrees F, with most of the warming occurring during the past 35 years. 16 of the warmest 17 years have occurred since 2001. Oceans help to absorb much of this heat. When the oceans temperatures rise, fragile marine ecosystems are disturbed. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt, which causes sea levels to rise.
Failing to address climate change will have disastrous results. Droughts, heat waves, flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and blizzards will increase and intensify. Sea levels will rise 1-4 feet by 2100, endangering the livelihood of millions who live in coastal cities like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
2017 was a difficult year for climate change efforts. Environmental regulations were repealed, protected lands and water are being to be opened to oil drilling, and the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t believe that carbon dioxide plays a role in climate change.
Surface Temperature Rise Since 19th Century
Cost of Extreme Weather Events 2015-2019
Projected Sea Level Rise by 2100
Not all hope is lost, however. Numerous non-profits in the United State are working to reduce the effects of climate change. Our featured organizations have helped pass legislation that reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 7 million tons in the utility sector in the NE, teamed up with massive corporations such as Walmart and McDonald’s to reduce emissions and waste from their entire supply chains, produced important research regarding emissions and rising sea levels, and held numerous congressional briefings on topics related to climate change. In general, the organizations that make up our portfolio address the following issues:
- Improving and Increasing Clean Energy
- Reducing Reliance on Fossil Fuels
- Reducing Emissions
- Increasing Transportation Efficiency
- Increasing Electrical Appliance Efficiency