What is methane and what’s it have to do with the climate?

Our friends at Communitopia have launched the most recent episode of their “Do Something About Climate Change” series explaining what methane is and why it’s important to climate protection.

Building a Resilient Pittsburgh: A Community Forum

Pittsburgh Climate Initiative and its partners announce Building a Resilient Pittsburgh: A Community Forum on Climate Challenges and Opportunities. This event is open to the public and will be held October 14, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM at Carnegie Mellon University, Cohen University Center, Rangos 2&3.

Participants will help to inform efforts in Pittsburgh to prepare for climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more and register here.

Next Blitz this Saturday in Elliott!

Take an active role in reducing Pittsburgh’s carbon emissions! The Black and Gold City Goes Green is partnering up with the West End Alliance and Elliott Community Group to host the second blitz of the year on Saturday, September 13, and they are looking for volunteers to help make the event successful. As a volunteer, you will team up with a partner and distribute free energy-saving toolkits door-to-door to your neighbors in Blitz groupElliott and West End. The Black and Gold City Goes Green will provide you with adequate training in the morning so you will know what to say at each house, and upon your return from the streets you will be greeted with a free lunch courtesy of Chipotle. All you need to bring is a water bottle and a winning smile, and be sure to dress appropriately for the weather – the blitz will go on rain or shine!

The event begins at 10:00am at the New Life Center (725 Lorenz Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220) and will be finished by 2:00pm. Visit www.blackandgoldcitygoesgreen.com/volunteer to sign up today! As a bonus, the first 25 people who sign up will receive a complimentary movie ticket to the  SouthSide Works, and everyone who joins will have a chance to win tickets to Venture Outdoors.

The Black and Gold City Goes Green was created in 2009 as the residential aspect of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative.  It is a project by PennFuture that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy use at home. By using less energy and having your electricity supplied from renewable sources, you can significantly reduce your household’s carbon footprint and help make our air cleaner and communities healthier.

Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

Communitopia’s  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.

This week they have released their 20th episode, “Silence of the Clams,” a humorous look at the serious science behind climate change’s effects on our oceans.


Draft U.N. Reports Warns of “Severe, Pervasive, Irreversible Impacts”

Excerpt from the August 26, 2014 New York Post:

“Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.

The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities.”

Read the full story here.

Free Ben & Jerry’s for Climate Action this Thursday and Friday

The Climate Reality Project is teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s to offer free ice cream to folks who stop by their mobile action centers in Pittsburgh this week to comI'm Too Hotmemorate the historic EPA hearings that will be held Thursday and Friday. Stop by to learn more about the impact the proposed EPA regulations will have on global warming and how you can take action to support them. Then cool down with a free scope of ice cream!


  • Wednesday, July 30, 11:00AM to 8:00PM: Market Square
  • Thursday, July 31, 8:30AM to 1:00PM: William S. Moorhead Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Avenue
  • Thursday, July 31, 1:30 PM to 6:00PM: Carnegie Mellon University Campus

Neighborhood Blitz a Success!

Blitz groupOn July 19, PennFuture organized a group of 12 volunteers who distributed 137 free energy-saving toolkits to residents in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The contents of the bags included CFL light bulbs, a smart power strip, LED night lights, window and door caulk, and various pamphlets with energy saving tips.

Each bag helps to avoid over 3,817 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere and saves each household over $100 in electricity costs per year. The residents using these energy-saving products will help to avoid over half a million pounds of CO2 from being released, which is equivalent to taking 50 cars off the road or planting 6,082 trees.

The Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign engages residents of Pittsburgh in simple actions they can take to reduce their energy demand at home through energy efficient products and behaviors. This initiative was created by PennFuture in 2009 to carry out recommendations in the community sector of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. Neighborhood blitzes provide direct community involvement to help reduce Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gases—a major contributor to climate change—and improve the region’s air quality.

Since the neighborhood blitz was adopted as a proactive outreach model in 2010, the Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign has organized 24 blitzes throughout 16 different neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that have reached a total of 2,139 households. Read more about the most recent neighborhood blitz here.

Climate Modeling Presentation

Recent news articles have reported on a “warming hiatus,” claiming that there has been little or no warming of the planet for the past 15 years, contradicting predictions of the climate models. Researcher Neil Donahue examines the details of climate models, how they construct predictions about global warming, and whether the warming hiatus is real or imagined. The link between climate and our energy choices becomes clear as each piece of the climate model is examined for its effects on global temperature trends.

This is the first in a three-part series called “Climate Change Here and Now.” The event will take place on Wednesday, July 23rd at Bar Marco’s Union Hall, 2216 Penn Avenue, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

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! Register here.


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.