Archive for PCI Partners

Neighborhood Blitz — Volunteer!

Take an active role in reducing Pittsburgh’s carbon emissions by helping the Black and Gold City Goes Green distribute free energy-saving toolkits to residents in Mount Washington on Saturday, July 19 from 10 am – 2:30 pm. Training will be provided, so you will feel comfortable talking about the benefits of conserving energy. The first 25 people who sign up will receive a free movie ticket to the SouthSide Works, and participants will have a chance to win tickets to Venture Outdoors!

Since its pilot in 2010, volunteers have helped with 22 blitzes in neighborhoods across Pittsburgh. Join the movement to help improve our air quality and climate! .

Risky Business Report

RiskyBusinessClimate change poses a serious threat to U.S. businesses and economy, according to a recent report written by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Their report, Risky Business, argues that climate change should be treated like any other business threat and calls for immediate bipartisan action.

The report estimates between $66 billion and $106 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2050; labor productivity of outdoor workers could be reduced by 3 percent because extremely hot days will be far more frequent; and demand for electricity to power air conditioners will require the construction of more power plants that will cost electricity customers up to $12 billion per year.

In an op-ed piece to The New York Times, Henry Paulson outlines similarities between the economic crash of 2008 to the coming climate crash.

“We are building up excesses (debt in 2008, greenhouse gas emissions that are trapping heat now). Our government policies are flawed (incentivizing us to borrow too much to finance homes then, and encouraging the overuse of carbon-based fuels now). Our experts (financial experts then, climate scientists now) try to understand what they see and to model possible futures. And the outsize risks have the potential to be tremendously damaging (to a globalized economy then, and the global climate now).

“Back then, we narrowly avoided an economic catastrophe at the last minute by rescuing a collapsing financial system through government action. But climate change is a more intractable problem. The carbon dioxide we’re sending into the atmosphere remains there for centuries, heating up the planet. … There is virtually no debate among [climate scientists] that the planet is warming and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible.”

The findings of the Risky Business report solidify the relationship of climate change to our economic and social well-being. Learn more by visiting riskybusiness.org and read Henry Paulson’s entire op-ed here.

Support Solar Power

The newest Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video highlights the power of the sun as a renewable resource and uses humor to inspire action.

SolarFestActions from this episode include using solar power (especially for drying laundry) and supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution. Follow this link to support the EPA’s new policy through The Climate Reality Project http://l.djst.tv/CleanPowerPlan.

To find out how much solar energy will cost where you live, visit solar-estimate.org. To learn about community-based solar financing, go to communitypowernetwork.com. In addition, you can attend the Allegheny Solar Fest on Saturday, June 21st from noon to 7 PM at Millvale Riverfront Park to learn more about solar energy through educational workshops and fun activities. The entire festival will be powered by solar energy!

PCI Hosting Green Drinks

greendrinks

Want to meet representatives from the PCI partner organizations and connect with other sustainability-minded professionals? Join us for Green Drinks on Thursday, June 19th from 5:30 – 8 pm at Uptown! Located directly across from Consol Energy Center at 1014 Fifth Avenue, Uptown’s rooftop lounge offers an exceptional view of Downtown Pittsburgh. Complimentary appetizers and drink specials provided by Uptown.
Uptown logo

PCI Partners will be on hand to talk about the recently released progress report of the plan, as well as sector-specific emissions reductions activities, like the Green Workplace Challenge, the 2030 District, and local government sustainability initiatives.

Green Drinks Pittsburgh is a sustainability network platform designed to inspire new ideas and spread awareness of what is happening in Pittsburgh. As always, this event is free and open to the public. Learn more and sign up for the email list by visiting the Green Drinks Pittsburgh website. Also, visit the Green Drinks Facebook event page.

Hearing on Carbon Pollution Standards

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a standard to limit carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants, which would reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent by 2030. Power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution and contribute to climate change, which is why this proposed regulation is so crucial to protect human health and our communities.

Speak out in favor of these proposed standards at a public hearing in Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 31. Click here to register for the hearing. Make your voice heard by supporting the EPA’s decision to control dangerous air pollution and take action on climate change!

Difference Between Weather and Climate

In the next National Geographic episode of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson will cover the science of climate change. In this clip, he explains the difference between weather and climate:

“Weather is hard to predict, but climate is predictable. Climate has changed many times in the long history of the earth, but always in response to a global force. The strongest force driving climate change right now is the increasing CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, which is trapping more heat from the sun.”

Watch the entire episode on Sunday, June 1 at 9 PM on Fox. Learn more and watch additional clips on the Cosmos website.

Humorous Climate Change Video Series

Communitopia is a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh with a focus on climate communication, using new media and humor. Their Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video series makes the subject of climate change accessible – breaking the science down into short, digestible nuggets; defusing fear and dread with humor and relatable characters; keeping the topic of climate change fresh with episodic content; and empowering viewers with easy actions, at a personal and a larger advocacy level. Their most recent video, 18th episode in the series, is a music video parody focused on energy and money saving consumer actions called “Watt Chop,” featuring cameos from Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and others involved in the local green movement. Watch the video below!

Climate Change “Debate” Must End

DavittWoodwellThe incoming President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a partner organization of PCI, recently spoke to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on energy and climate issues. In the Q&A, Davitt Woodwell takes a clear stance on climate change action.

Q: In terms of environmental problems, what should Americans be the most concerned about and why?

A: Clearly, the climate change “debate” must come to an end. America must accept the science and move to act on limiting climate impacts.

It is a challenge that America is up to and represents not only environmental consequences but also considerable economic and national security concerns, as well. This is not about the weather, it is about long-term thinking and getting beyond the comfort zone of the here and now.

Read the full article here.

National Climate Assessment Released

Pennsylvanians will need to adapt quickly to already occurring climate change that is causing more frequent and intense flooding events and more deadly summer heat waves, according to the third U.S. National Climate Assessment released today.

The assessment of possible climate change impacts also predicted that Pennsylvania will experience warmer winters and less snowfall, and increased flooding events that will severely damage water, sewer and electrical systems and human health.

Projected increase in the number of days per year with a maximum temperature greater than 90°F averaged between 2041 and 2070, compared to 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2) and substantial reductions in future emissions (B1). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

Projected increase in the number of days per year with a maximum temperature greater than 90°F averaged between 2041 and 2070, compared to 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

A regional heat map projects the Pittsburgh region will experience more than 20 additional days above 90°F per year by 2070 compared to the end of last century. Urban residents are more vulnerable to higher temperatures, since concrete and asphalt retain heat. The “urban heat island” effect can be mitigated by planting vegetation, such as trees or green roofs. These green infrastructure features can also help reduce flooding damage by retaining water during extreme weather events.

Explore the 2014 National Climate Assessment by visiting this interactive website: nca2014.globalchange.gov and read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Music Video Showcases Pittsburgh Green Movement; Gets Laughs for Earth Day

There’s a new name in environmental communication with an unusual approach to climate change education: humor. Communitopia, a nonprofit that uses video and new media to reach viewers, is hosting a virtual party from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on April 24, two days after Earth Day. The event will include giveaways, special guests, behind-the-scenes footage, and the release of a new music video. The new video – a parody of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit “Thrift Shop” - is about both climate change and consumer choices that save energy and money, featuring cameos by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and several other prominent Pittsburghers working on sustainability issues. Viewers can RSVP for the party at the event watch page.

“Throughout this Earth Day event we intend stay true to our mission to engage and empower people on climate change,” says Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Communitopia’s new president, “The DoSomethingconsequences of climate change are far-reaching and serious, and we’re diligent about reporting the science. But we also always do our best to inspire and engage viewers, and humor is a great way to do that. ” Humor is a hallmark of Communitopia’s main project, the Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video series that stars Portlock performing as a wide range of characters. Each video discusses a short topic about climate change, incorporating science, news, humor, and easy actions for viewers to take. The new music video is the 18th in the series, but the first to be produced under the Communitopia banner.

“It doesn’t make sense to try to depress people into action, and we urgently need climate action,” says Portlock. “Therefore, we’re pretty serious about the silly.”