Cities across the United States have begun to address Climate Change. On July 25th, 2019, the City of Houston joined these efforts by releasing a Draft Climate Action Plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as a pathway to meet the Paris Agreement.
Funded in part by CenterPoint Energy and the Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation, the development of the City’s Climate Action Plan presents a way forward for Houstonians to begin mitigating Climate Change and its devastating effects. Find out more about the City’s Climate Action Plan here.
The City of Houston is accepting public comments on the draft Climate Action Plan until August 31, 2019. Comments can be submitted through an online form, or by mail or in person at: City of Houston – Office of Sustainability, 611 Walker Street, 13th Floor, Houston, TX 77002.
What is Climate Change?
“Climate Change” refers to a change in weather patterns that takes place over a long period of time. Because of climate change, we are beginning to see global sea level rise, changes in the ocean currents, and extreme weather events like more frequent 500-year floods and more intense storms that are fueled by warmer ocean temperatures. This summer, climate change has been in the news as an epic heat wave brought the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Alaska, and massive forest fires have ravaged the Arctic while Greenland’s Ice Sheet may be approaching a tipping point that would cause catastrophic sea level rise.
The primary driver of Climate Change, carbon dioxide (CO2) – also known as a “greenhouse gas” – is released when fossil fuels are burned for transportation, heating and cooling, and other uses. CO2 levels have risen sharply in recent years as more and more fossil fuels are burned. With more CO2 in the atmosphere, the Earth’s natural “greenhouse effect” is intensified, heating up the planet and causing a cascade of negative effects. Populations are now facing a global climate crisis unlike any seen before in human history.
How is Climate Change affecting Texas?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average temperature in Texas has risen by approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years. While this might seem like a small amount, the warming has contributed to 18 inches of sea level rise along Galveston’s coast since 1950, while more intense storms have affected the Houston area with three 500-year flood events in the past three years. Without reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, scientists say the effects of Climate Change could be devastating to communities, especially in coastal areas.
What Can We Do about Climate Change?
Small changes in our daily habits can add up to big changes overall. When we reduce our use of greenhouse gases, we can help to mitigate Climate Change. Check out the video below for tips on how to lower your carbon footprint while saving money and improving your family’s health at the same time.