Archive for November 30, 2012

UNEP Reports on “Emission Gap”

A report released on November 21st by the United Nations Environment Programme has spurred conversation around the term “Emissions Gap.” Scientists and climate experts have asserted that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be limited in order to keep global temperature rise limited to 2 degrees C or less. However, the recent UNEP report predicts that greenhouse gas emissions could rise to 58 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2020—far above what is considered a safe level.

Greenhouse gas emissions are rising globally. Total greenhouse gas emissions have risen from around 40 Gt in 2000 to an estimated 50.1 Gt in 2010.

The report encouraged urgent action to start cutting emissions in order to keep temperature rise from reaching a point at which irreparable damage occurs.

To reduce the incidence of climate-related severe weather events, such as this fall’s Hurricane Sandy, action must be taken to increase energy efficiency in buildings, improved vehicle emissions standards, and grow renewable energy. See the UNEP press release and the The Emissions Gap Report 2012 Web page for more information.

The Challenge of Controlling Something You Can’t See

The PCI Partners have been talking a lot recently about the challenge of communicating the risks of greenhouse gas emissions when you can’t see them. Pittsburgh, like many former industrial cities, has made amazing strides to clean up its air and water. People over the age of 50 can remember a time when black, dirty smoke clogged the air and visible pollution colored the rivers. It is hard to convince these people that even though the air and water looks clean, pollution is still a major environmental and health concern in this city.

Air quality and climate change advocates are struggling with this challenge across the country. This blog article shows some of the visualization projects that have arisen in recent months.

Wishing all of our PCI partners and supporters a happy and safe Thanksgiving!