Responding to climate change in Northeast Ohio

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Responding to climate change in Northeast Ohio presentation by the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Responding to climate change in Northeast Ohio presentation by the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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  • Who we are: 1. Sustainability center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History 2. Focus: Connecting cities and nature 3. Focus: Climate change planning for Northeast Ohio 4. Services to community – website, speakers, project sponsorship, technical assistance
  • Online home for sustainability in Northeast Ohio Key areas of website: 1. Event calendar – comprehensive calendar of sustainability events 2. Sustainability news and project updates – cover projects often overlooked by mainstream media 3. Climate change plans and actions – CO2 inventory and detailed transition plans for Northeast Ohio 4. Much more – arts & culture, building, energy, education, food, health, land, transportation, water
  • Weather vs. climate - There’s an old saying that goes, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.” Atmospheric conditions of weather include temperature, atmospheric pressure, windiness, cloudiness, moisture, etc. Common greenhouse gases include – some occur naturally, some are strictly man made Carbon dioxide (CO2) - natural Methane (CH4) - natural Nitrous Oxide (N20) – natural Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – man made A lifecycle analysis includes the impacts of: the extraction of raw materials the processing, manufacturing, and fabrication of the product the transportation and/or distribution of the product to the consumer the use of the product by the consumer and the disposal or recovery of the product after its useful life
  • Lower lake levels will affect shipping, beaches/tourism, infrastructure, and ecosystems More frequent, severe and longer heat waves will increase heat related illness and deaths, create a greater demand for electricity, and increase the number of days with ground level ozone warnings. Greater ground level ozone exacerbates asthma and other respiratory diseases. Wetter winters and springs with heavier downpours will increase incidents and severity of flooding and overload drainage systems and water treatment facilities, increasing the risk for waterborne illnesses Longer periods between rainfalls will cause a decline in river levels and wetlands as well as increase the likelihood of drought and reduced aquifer recharge [1] U.S. Global Change Research Program, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States – Regional Climate Impacts: Midwest, notes a number of changes that are already being observed in our region of the county (http://www.globalchange.gov/images/cir/pdf/midwest.pdf) [2] Union of Concerned Scientists, Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Midwest: Ohio. July 2009. (http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/climate-change-ohio.pdf)
  • Like your body, the earth is a system, and all systems have thresholds or tipping points - points at which a system goes out of balance and drastic changes occur until a new balance is achieved. The earth has gone through many such changes throughout its history – glacial and interglacial periods are a perfect example. The difference between past changes and the one the world is experiencing now is that the mechanisms that forced those changes in the past were natural; scientists are more than 90% certain that the mechanisms forcing those changes today, are man made. Examples of positive feedback loops Warmer oceans give off more CO 2 Warmer soils decompose faster and emit more CO 2 and methane Permafrost melts and releases previously frozen stores of methane Arctic and Antarctic sea ice loss reduces the Earth’s albedo and allows for more heat to be absorbed by the polar oceans Loss of forests due to climate change induced pests and forest fires reduce an important CO 2 sink
  • Our climate change project has produced: The first regional CO2 emissions inventory for Northeast Ohio Detailed transition plans for energy generation, transportation and buildings that show how Northeast Ohio can transition to a less carbon intensive future Toolkits for taking action for individuals, schools, business, and communities
  • CMNH as a scientific institution is involved in multiple research projects around climate change, including: 1. Ohio long-term butterfly monitoring project in partnership with CMNH Invertebrate Zoology, ODNR and Ohio Lepidopterists 2. Ohio bird migration tracking project 3. Ohio natural areas preservation and monitoring - 4600+ acres preserved in Ohio and Pennsylvania
  • Texas ranks twelfth in the U.S. for per capita emissions. Ohio ranks 18th New York, California and Vermont all tie for the nation’s smallest per capita emissions. Qatar is largest in the world, although a number of coal/gas producing states rank higher (e.g. Wyoming (129.3), N. Dakota (75.5) More than 50 countries in the world have a per capita carbon footprint smaller than India, which ranks 124 th of 186.
  • The average Clevelander emits about 29 metric tons of CO2 per year. The bulk of these emissions are associated with heating, cooling and powering our homes and another large portion is from driving and flying. But if we’re going to avoid dangerous climate change down the road we need to get on a path to greatly reducing our emissions. In the next 20 years we need to cut these emissions in half, and by 2050 we need be emitting about 1/10 th of what we emit today. Resource – http://www.clevelandcarbonfund.org
  • One way to think about reducing your carbon footprint is to think of yourself as having a carbon budget – you only have so many tons of greenhouse gases that you can emit this year and you get to choose how you’re going to spend them. For example you may choose to take that long flight to Hong Kong for the vacation of your dreams this year and use up a chunk of your carbon budget. And just like you might make adjustments in your monetary budget to pay for the vacation, you should make adjustments in your carbon budget. For example, you may commit to eating vegetarian one or two days more per week. Or you might chose to drive less, take the smaller car for the long road trip, carpool more, or ride your bike for local errands. You might choose to commit to reducing your home energy consumption by unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, commit to turning off the lights every time you leave a room, or turning your thermostat down a few degrees this winter, or closing the blinds during the day to keep the summer heat out. There are myriad things you can choose to do to reduce your carbon footprint, so many things to choose from that small changes in a number of them can help you adjust your budget so you can take that vacation without “breaking the carbon bank.”
  • GCBL has completed the region’s emissions inventory for 2005 and projected business as usual projections for emissions in 2050. We have created 3 transition plans – for Energy generation, buildings and transportation – to detail the investments, policies and changes that will need to occur over the coming decades for Northeast Ohio to successfully reduce Co2 emissions by 90%.
  • These are some simple first steps to a low carbon lifestyle. As you complete these activities, look to the resources on GCBL for more activities: Calculate your carbon footprint – set priorities (understand where your carbon footprint is coming from before taking action) Change light bulbs (nationally only 11% of residential light sockets have CFLs. Does your home have CFLs?) Drive less (transportation is 1/3 of a typical individual’s footprint. Buy a more efficient car the next time you are shopping) Reduce, reuse, recycle (and compost) Use less water (water heating and pumping takes a lot of energy) Eat lower on the food chain (meat has a higher carbon footprint and is more energy intensive than meat) Adjust your thermostat (moving a few degrees lower in the winter – from 71 to 68 – and a few degrees warmer in the summer – from 71 to 74 (for example) - can save hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions, and hundreds of dollars in energy bills. Can you go even lower or higher – 65 at night in the winter? 78 in the summer?
  • 1. Encourage mayor to sign Mayors Climate Protection Agreement - more than 900 cities nationwide have signed on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 27 in Ohio, 12 in Northeast Ohio. 2. Support Renewable energy use and energy efficiency – installation and siting of renewable energy, energy efficient government buildings Walkable neighborhoods – mixed use zoning and compact development Transportation choices – transit, bikes and clean fleets, anti idling policies Many others (see resource link for GCBL info) – recycling and composting programs are often good starting places to get community moving in sustainable direction
  • Cleveland Carbon Fund was the first community based open access carbon fund in the United States. 3 step process: Calculate your impact (footprint) Learn about activities that you can change to reduce your footprint as much as possible For the remaining footprint, consider donating through the Cleveland Carbon Fund to local carbon reduction projects - current projects include large scale CFL installation in Cleveland neighborhoods and home weatherization programs. More projects coming online in upcoming months.
  • Many benefits of a clean energy future - Save money and become more efficient - Innovate and become more competitive - Create thousands of jobs in Ohio - Improve health - Rebuild our cities - Protect natural areas and wildlife

Transcript

  • 1. Responding to climate change in Northeast Ohio November 2009
  • 2. Who we are
    • Sustainability center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    • Connecting cities and nature
    • Climate change planning for Northeast Ohio
    • Services to community – website, speakers, project sponsorship, technical assistance
  • 3.
    • Event calendar
    • Sustainability news and project updates
    • Climate change plans and actions
    www.gcbl.org Online home for sustainability in Northeast Ohio
  • 4. Climate change 101
  • 5. Key concepts and definitions
    • Global warming – An increase in the average global temperature
    • Climate change – A non-random change in climate that is measured over several decades or longer
    • Weather – Atmospheric conditions at any given time and place
    NOAA Climate Glossary
  • 6. What we know
    • The Earth is warming and the climate is changing
    • Scientific consensus that climate change is caused by unprecedented, human generated emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation
    • Melting glaciers and ice caps, acidifying oceans, more extreme weather events (droughts, floods, heat waves), changing growing seasons, rising sea levels, more widespread disease
    Source: IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report
  • 7. Projected local impacts
    • Continued changes in growing seasons
    • Lower lake levels due to increased evaporation results from the decrease in lake ice
    • More frequent, severe, and longer heat waves
    • Disease carrying insects will survive and thrive easier in a warmer climate (ticks and mosquitoes)
    • Wetter winters and springs, with more heavy downpours
    • Longer periods between rainfalls
    Sources: U.S. Global Change Research Program and Union of Concerned Scientists
  • 8. Why we’re worried “dangerous climate change” and “runaway warming”
    • Tipping points – point at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable
    • Positive feedback loop – when the effects of something causes more of itself
    • Climate forcings – mechanisms that alter the global energy balance and “force” the climate to change
    Cartoon by Jim Hubbard Alexander Turnbull Library - Reference: A-350-075
  • 9. GCBL climate change activities
    • Regional CO 2 emissions inventory
    • Detailed transition plans
          • Energy Generation
          • Transportation
          • Buildings
    • Toolkits for taking action
          • Individuals
          • Schools
          • Business
          • Communities
    Resource link
  • 10. CMNH climate change research
    • Ohio long-term butterfly monitoring project
      • CMNH Invertebrate Zoology, ODNR and Ohio Lepidopterists
    • Ohio bird migration tracking project
    • Ohio natural areas preservation and monitoring
      • 4600+ acres
    Resource link
  • 11. Carbon budgeting
  • 12. Global perspective Qatar (55.5) Kuwait (30.7) Texas (29.5) Ohio (24.7) U.S. (19.9) Metric tons CO 2 e per person in 2005 Michigan (19.4) California (11.0) New York (11.0) Japan (9.8) UK (8.9) EU 27 (8.4) China (5.5) Brazil (1.9) India (1.1) Source: CAIT (WRI)
  • 13. A local perspective Average Clevelander 2009 TOTAL 29 MT CO 2 Housing 12 MT CO 2 2030 TOTAL 14.5 MT CO2 (50% reduction) 2050 TOTAL 2.9 MT CO2 (90% reduction) Transport 8 MT CO 2 Food 3 MT CO 2 Goods 3 MT CO 2 Services 3 MT CO 2 Source: Cleveland Carbon Fund
  • 14. Carbon budgeting Explorer Outback 2030 TARGET Large home (2,500-4,000 SF) Medium home (1,500-2,499 SF) Apartment (<1,000 SF) Sydney Avg. energy use in a... Roundtrip flight from CLE to... Hong Kong London Los Angeles New York City Hummer Civic Prius 15,000 miles in a... Mad meat eater Avg. American Vegetarian Vegan 2050 TARGET Resource link Resource link for flight, home, auto
  • 15. 7-County CO 2 emissions Business as usual (BAU) assumptions : flat population growth rate, no growth in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), does not include CAFE standards, .8% y-o-y growth in electricity demand Business as usual Energy generation transition plan Transportation transition plan Buildings transition plan 90% reduction CO 2 reductions in Northeast Ohio Baseline Resource link
  • 16. What you can do
  • 17. What you can do at home
    • Calculate your carbon footprint – set priorities
    • Change light bulbs
    • Drive less
    • Reduce, reuse, recycle (and compost)
    • Use less water
    • Eat lower on the food chain
    • Adjust your thermostat
    First steps to a low-carbon lifestyle… Resource link
  • 18. What you can do in your community
    • Encourage mayor to sign Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
    • Support
      • Renewable energy use and energy efficiency
      • Walkable neighborhoods
      • Transportation choices – transit, bikes
      • “ First steps” – recycling, composting
    Resource link
  • 19.
    • Calculate your impact
    • Learn how to reduce
    • Donate to local projects
    http://www.ClevelandCarbonFund.org Cleveland Carbon Fund
  • 20. Benefits of a clean energy future
    • Save money and become more efficient
    • Innovate and become more competitive
    • Create thousands of jobs in Ohio
    • Improve health
    • Rebuild our cities
    • Protect natural areas and wildlife
  • 21. GreenCityBlueLake Institute The Cleveland Museum of Natural History http://www.gcbl.org/climatechange © 2009 Cleveland Museum of Natural History