From the Clinton campaign, this is one of the most important reasons that we all need to vote for Clinton and stop Trump this election – the future of the planet and everything/everyone that lives on it!
Ahead of today’s event with Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in Florida, Hillary for Virginia is releasing a new report detailing Clinton’s plans for building Virginia’s clean energy future and fighting climate change.
Clinton knows that climate change is real and poses a grave threat to our national security. That’s why she has a comprehensive action plan to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century, create millions of good-paying jobs, and protect the future of our children and grandchildren.
Clinton’s plan is set on achieving bold, national goals for the next decade to:
- Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term.
- Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
- Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.
For Virginia, Clinton’s plans mean:
- Reducing annual energy costs for Virginia’s families and businesses by $2 billion a year, or more than $615 for the average household.
- Protecting Virginians from the economic risks of climate change, from rising seas or more severe storms.
- Reinvesting in Virginia’s parks, forests, wildlife refuges and seashores, from Shenandoah to Assateague.
- Creating more than 135,000 new jobs in the state’s outdoor economy, and $14 billion in new economic activity.
The report also highlights how Virginia’s geography and patterns of development make it particularly vulnerable to climate change-related impacts such as sea level rise, extreme events, including hurricanes and heatwaves, and water shortages and flooding:
Observed and Projected Changes:
- Over the next 50 or so years, annual average temperature in the Southeast is projected to increase by about 3.2 to 4°F. By the end of the century, annual average temperature in the Southeast is projected to increase by 4.5 to 7.8°F. Over the past three decades, the typical Virginian has experienced an average of about six days per year of temperatures above 95°F. That number is likely to more than triple to as many as 20 such days by 2020-2039 and as many as 33 days per year by mid-century.
- Virginia’s patterns of rain and snow have changed. On average, less rain falls now in the summer but more in autumn (by about the same amount). And the extremes have changed—bringing more intense wet and dry periods, like the 2010 drought. Heavy rain and snowstorms have seen a 33% increase in frequency in the past 60 years, and the largest storms bring an average of 11% more precipitation.
- Sea level in the Hampton Roads area, where the land is sinking as oceans are rising, increased approximately 16.5 inches between 1923 and 2015. By 2100, sea level in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads area is likely to rise about 1.8-3.1 feet over 2000 levels if we act to cut carbon pollution, but by 2.5-4.4 feet if we continue our current path. In addition, new science on Antarctica shows the situation may be even worse, with additional sea level rise of 1-3 feet or so above current global projections possible by the end of the century. For low-lying communities, this means greater risk from storm surges. Hampton Roads is the second largest U.S. population center at risk from sea level rise, after New Orleans.
- Rising carbon dioxide content in Chesapeake Bay waters will raise acidity, which can make shell formation difficult for oysters and other mollusks, and water temperatures are projected to rise between 3.6 and 10.8°F throughout the century, making the bay more susceptible to algal blooms that use up oxygen in the water. These changes will have major negative implications for fish and wildlife, including Virginia’s iconic blue crab and oysters.
Vulnerabilities, Risks and Potential Impacts: Virginia already experiences many climate-related disasters, including flooding and extreme events such as storms and heat waves. The sea level rise, increased temperatures, and changing patterns of precipitation that are projected over the next century will pose major challenges for infrastructure, water management, fisheries, tourism and recreation, and agriculture. Major risks include:
- Property and Coastal Infrastructure: As sea level rises and storm surges gain in intensity under a changing climate, Virginia’s homes and infrastructure are at increased risk. If we do not take action to reduce carbon pollution, $17 billion worth of additional property is likely to be below mean high tide by 2030, $17 to $20 billion in 2050, and $29 to $92 billion in 2100 (compared to 2011). More than 877 miles of road are in or near areas that would be flooded with three or more feet of sea level rise—the equivalent of four times the miles traveled from Washington, D.C. to Virginia Beach.
- Tourism and National Heritage Sites: Travel and tourism in Virginia Beach were estimated to support 12,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in associated activity in 2012. Sea level rise will drastically reduce the size of ocean beaches. With three feet of sea-level rise, up to 90% of the open beaches on the lower Delmarva Peninsula, which includes Chincoteague Island, could be lost. Similarly, virtually all of Jamestown Island, the first permanent settlement of the English in North America, is less than three feet above the level of the tidal James River, making this site vulnerable to complete inundation in this century.
- Military Assets: Hampton Roads is home to 1.7 million people and over two dozen military sites, including Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, and Naval Station (NS) Norfolk – the largest naval installation in the world. Department of Defense spending on salaries, retirement, and procurement accounts for approximately 393,000 employees, or 40% of all employees in the region. The Department of Defense has identified these assets as facing significant threats from rising sea levels. Norfolk, home of the largest naval base in the world and U.S. Fleet Forces Command, faces threats from flooding and sea level rise—by 2050 low-lying areas could flood between 260 and 540 times per year, essentially flooding with each high tide. By 2070, parts of the station could be completely submerged.
- Human Health: Climate change exacerbates public health threats. Increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation are projected to make conditions more favorable for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus. In general, increasing temperatures also decrease air quality (for example with increases in smog); and increase the risk of heat stroke and related conditions. In Virginia, extreme heat driven by climate change will likely claim as many as 420 additional lives each year by 2020-2039, and as many as 580 additional lives by 2040-2059. By comparison, there were 740 auto fatalities in Virginia in 2013.
- Iconic and Valuable Wildlife: As water temperature, salinity, and acidity changes in the Chesapeake Bay, blue crabs and oysters, the most economically valuable shellfish of the Bay area (almost $80 million of economic activity), could decline or disappear. Habitat degradation or loss related to climate change is expected to affect some 900 Virginia wildlife species. For example, wild turkey, a popular game species, may lose 87% of its current national winter range by 2080, including most or all of what is in Virginia.
- Agriculture: Agriculture, Virginia’s largest private industry, faces risks of impacts of extreme heat on livestock, as well as the effects of drought on water supplies and crops. With a combined annual value of $457 million, corn and soybeans are Virginia’s two most valuable agricultural commodities after hay. Absent significant agricultural adaptation, corn yields will most likely decrease by about 9% by 2020-2039 and by 20% in the following 20 years. Meanwhile, soybean yields will most likely drop about 2% by 2020-2039 and 3% by 2040-2059. Milk production, with annual economic receipts over $470 million in 2014, is projected to decrease because of dairy cow sensitivity to heat and humidity.