Blog: How Climate Change is Impacting Life Globally and in the Bay Area

For many, climate change may sound like a concept that's far in the future. But as wildfires scorch the west, hurricanes devastate the south and record-breaking heatwaves suffocate many parts of the nation, it's clear: climate change is here. This blog is your one-stop rundown on what's current in climate news, with an emphasis on the Bay Area.

  • Evidence shows that tipping points leading to irreversible change have already passed, according to this United Nations report.
  • It is no longer possible to prevent global warming from reaching 1.5°C.
  • It is still possible to prevent warming from reaching 2°C if humans take swift action. This matters because, while many adverse effects will happen at 1.5°C, consequences will be more devastating at 2°C.

Here's what's happening now:

Thursday, Jan. 27

For Olympic athletes, they have their eyes on one prize when they are competing -- an Olympic gold medal. But for some, their focus shifts to more important matters when they are off the course. The issue of climate change is here and it’s real. No one knows better than athletes that compete in Winter Olympic events. 

Here's how winter Olympians feel the threat of climate change.

In this full video of the My New Favorite Olympian podcast, hosts Apolo Ohno and Ngozi Ekeledo hear from Winter Olympians who are calling for action on climate change. Warming temperatures could present an existential threat to the Winter Olympics, and conditions have broken down on some courses already, the athletes say.

Some of Earth’s most beautiful places are already acutely feeling the effects of climate change. But you can still make an effort to appreciate what we have on our planet, even as climate change takes its toll. Read about how a simple step, like having gratitude for nature, can help the fight against climate change.

Sunday, Jan. 23

The National Weather Service in Sacramento tweeted Sunday that, despite California having a mostly dry January, snow depth and snow water content "is looking good and still running above average for this time of year." Read the full story here.

Monday, Jan. 17

Noticed an increase in rain recently? With our drought in place we certainly have had some good news this rain season as rain totals remain 150 to 200% of normal and snowpack is ranging from 125 to 135% of normal. While we remain above average now, the trend of rain has been extreme and it’s something known as “precipitation whiplash”. Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri has more in the video below.

With our drought in place we certainly have had some good news this rain season as rain totals remain 150 to 200% of normal and snowpack is ranging from 125 to 135% of normal. While we remain above average now, the trend of rain has been extreme and it’s something known as “precipitation whiplash”. Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri reports.

As climate change pushes states in the U.S. to dramatically cut their use of fossil fuels, many are coming to the conclusion that solar, wind and other renewable power sources might not be enough to keep the lights on. Read more about that here.

Their state budgets flush with cash, Democratic and Republican governors alike want to spend some of the windfall on projects aimed at slowing climate change and guarding against its consequences, from floods and wildfires to dirty air.

The new top scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants the famed space agency to become a leading voice on climate change science, too.

"When people hear NASA, I want them to think of climate science alongside planetary science," said Katherine Calvin, who was recently appointed as NASA's chief scientist.

Tuesday, Dec. 14

Was this year's tornado outbreak related to climate change? December is typically the least active month for tornadoes in the United States, but a powerful outbreak of more than 30 tornadoes hit six states in the mid-Mississippi River Valley Friday night, killing at least 88 people.

Speaking of this, investment in companies developing technology to try to combat the climate crisis grew to $87.5 billion in the year leading up to Jun. 30, according to new research from PwC published Wednesday. Read all about it here.

Are you traveling for the end-of-the-year holidays? Well, air travel is also contributing to climate change in a pretty significant way. And that sucks for us and the planet.

Sunday, Dec. 5

Homeowners are looking for new tech that can harden their properties against natural disasters that are increasing in frequency as a result of global warming.

With homes and buildings specifically, climate change poses a risk to as much as $35 trillion of real estate assets by 2070, according to a 2016 report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. See the full report via CNBC.

The Shinnecock Indian Nation once had seasonal villages that stretched across the eastern end of Long Island. But after centuries of land loss and forced relocation, more than 600 tribe members now live on a shrinking 1.5 square mile peninsula. CNBC has the full report here.

Saturday, Dec. 4

Electric vehicles are at the forefront in the battle against climate change. Yet, these cars still need resources including nickel to power their batteries.

Audrey Asistio recently spoke with NBC News correspondent Jacob Ward, who found that even clean energy can come with an environmental cost. You can watch the full interview here.

Wednesday, Nov. 25

As Americans sit down at their Thanksgiving tables, many of the items in front of them will be more expensive than they were last year. Pies in particular. And climate change is a contributing factor.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, as the drought continues to affect our water supply, here are some easy tips for conserving water for the upcoming holidays.

Meanwhile, Democrats and climate activists generally supported President Biden's decision to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from America's strategic reserve, even as the move appeared to contradict his long-term vision of combating climate change.

Monday, Nov. 15

President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes historic funding to protect the country against the detrimental affects of human-caused climate change.

An article via CNBC examines if the United States will ever put a price on carbon. Check it here.

Meanwhile, climate change is also impacting cuffing season, aka the search for a mate to keep you company when the world hunkers down for the winter. Here's the LX report on it.

Sunday, Nov. 14

Media outlets around the world have been giving their verdict on the COP26 deal, an agreement struck Saturday which tries to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Here's what to know.

After two years of preparation and 13 days of tough talks, did negotiators at the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow save the plane? Check out a few takeaways here.

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