Climate change report finds humans are warming the atmosphere


(WTRF) – The UN’s climate report is in, and it shows just how big of an impact humans are having on the environment.

The report concluded that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land”.

This is the first of a three-part report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the United Nations body for assessing science related to climate change. It’s made up of 195 scientists from around the world.

According to the assessment, humans are warming the climate at an “unprecedented” rate in the last 2,000 years. It’s due to emissions from human activities, like greenhouse gases and aerosol cooling.

But what does this mean for the Ohio Valley?

Diana Barber, who is an Associate Professor of Biology at West Liberty University said this climate change means oceans will rise and there will be more severe weather events, like flooding. She explained it may not always be river related. We could get to a point where the ground can’t hold any more water. 

We’re looking at more flooding, more extreme wet, the flooding may not always be river related. There may be what’s called pluvial flooding where the ground can’t soak up any more water and you just get flooding from rain events.

I’m not an insurer, but I know that 100-year flood zones aren’t going to be every 100 years anymore. IF you are in an are that doesn’t need flood insurance now, that may not be the same in 10 years, five years even.

Diana Barber, Associate Professor of Biology, West Liberty University

However, Barber says we are not yet at the point where we can’t make a difference. So, it’s up to individuals to start making changes.

It’s bleak, but it’s not too late. Don’t feel like because it’s so bleak that there’s nothing you can do because the only thing we can do to make it worse is to do nothing.

Diana Barber, Associate Professor of Biology, West Liberty University

Barber said we can help by trying to drive less and burn less fossil fuels. She suggested doing what’s called trip chaining, meaning you run all your errands at once. The longer the engine runs, the warmer and more efficient it gets.  

She also suggests keeping your house a few degrees warmer in the summer and colder in the winter so your heat and air don’t run as much. 

Even a change in diet can help the climate. Barber explained that beef is a carbon and methane intensive food.

There is something we can all do. Every single person can make a choice that reduces your impact. What you choose to do in this region is also probably gonna save you money. So, you can save money and help the planet and help your  kids and your grandkids have the same kind of life that you have.

Diana Barber, Associate Professor of Biology, West Liberty University

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and public Works Committee released the following statement:

The United States has been and must remain the world’s leader of developing innovative technologies to address a changing climate, which is why I have consistently supported legislation that promotes innovation to address this global challenge. At the same time, our solutions to climate change must consider the impacts on the average American as well, and policymakers must avoid imposing higher costs on American households or job losses on American workers. As the world’s overall emissions increase, U.S. emissions continue to trend down even as our economy grows—much of both can be attributed to increased use of natural gas. It’s time for other countries to do their part. We should not be giving the heaviest polluters a free pass while unilaterally disarming our own economy.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown also shared his reaction:

The findings in the UN’s climate report were alarming and reaffirm the urgent need for Congress to heed this call to action. More than ever, people in Ohio and around the country are experiencing how climate change affects their lives – from harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, to landslides in Cincinnati, to erratic farming seasons across the Midwest. Climate change is one of the defining moral issues of our time. It’s past time for the United States to live up to the standards we already agreed to in the Paris agreement, and be the leader the world looks to – before it’s too late.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio

Read the full IPCC report here.

7News will also be speaking to local experts to find out what this information means for the Ohio Valley, and how we can help reverse the impacts of climate change.

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