Richmond, VA—As Virginia recovers from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, Environment Virginia today released a new online factsheet that shows the extent of recent heavy downpours, extreme temperatures, and wildfires. While linking a singular instance of extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy to climate change is difficult, scientists have linked some of the increased extreme weather in recent years to global warming, and have warned that we can expect even more extreme weather in the future unless we cut emissions of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
“Our hearts go out to all Virginians still struggling to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The fact is, extreme weather events of all sorts are on the rise, and that’s bad news for the commonwealth, said Elizabeth Ouzts, Regional Program Director for Environment Virginia. “Given scientists’ warnings that recent trends in extreme weather are linked to global warming, we need to cut dangerous carbon pollution now.”
The Environment Virginia factsheet uses information from the National Climatic Data Center, the National Interagency Fire Center, and the recent Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center Report, “When It Rains, It Pours.” According to the fact sheet:
- Extreme precipitation in Virginia increased 33% between 1948 and 2011, and what was once a one-year storm now occurs every 9 months.
- Already in 2012, more than 540 wildfires have burned 45,000 acres in the commonwealth.
- From January to July 2012, Richmond’s average temperature was 61.7 degrees, the warmest such period on record in 69 years. The Norfolk average temperature during the same span of months was the warmest in 69 years.
In order to help cut the carbon pollution that is fueling global warming, Environment Virginia is calling on state and federal decision makers to both clean up the largest sources of carbon pollution like power plants and vehicles, and advance clean energy solutions like wind energy, solar power and energy efficiency.
Environment Virginia highlighted two initiatives from the Obama administration—carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards that were recently finalized for cars and light trucks through model year 2025, and the first ever carbon pollution standards for new power plants proposed in March—as critical steps toward meeting the pollution reductions called for by scientists. Both initiatives enjoy broad public support. The final carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards were applauded by environmental groups, national security organizations, consumer groups and the automakers themselves. And more than 3.1 million Americans have commented in support of the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.
“How serious this problem gets is largely within our control – but only if we act boldly to reduce the pollution that fuels global warming,” said Ouzts. “We applaud the Obama administration for their efforts to cut carbon pollution from vehicles and new power plants.”
The new online factsheet can be found at http://environmentvirginia.org/page/vae/global-warming-virginia
Environment Virginia is a statewide, citizen-based advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.