The Union of Concerned Scientists projects Pittsburgh will experience significantly higher temperatures if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut. By the end of the century, the union projects Pittsburgh could experience more than 60 days per year with temperatures above 90 F, up from about 10 per year now. Furthermore, the scientists say Western Pennsylvania residents could expect a climate similar to that found in northern Alabama today.
What is Climate Change?
Sometimes referred to as global warming, climate change is the process by which human emissions of greenhouse gases are changing the Earth’s climate system.
The Earth’s surface temperature has risen by more than one degree Fahrenheit since the early 1900s, with accelerated warming the past 30 years.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academies of Science, warming the past several decades is likely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, industrial and agricultural processes and the decomposition from municipal landfills, which release greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
As a result, these added heat-trapping gases have the potential to shift temperature patterns and increase the frequency and severity of weather events on a global scale, which could have dramatic consequences for Pittsburgh’s economic and human health.