Seattle, WA – Young adults in Washington are experiencing hotter temperatures and more intense storms than their predecessors did in the 1970’s, according to a new report by Environment Washington Research & Policy Center.
“We used to think global warming would happen someday, but someday is now,” said Travis Madsen, State Global Warming Campaign Director for Environment America. “We’re are already seeing record heat and more extreme weather, and without bold action, the next generation will be left a dangerous inheritance.”
The analysis, Dangerous Inheritance: The Hotter, More Extreme Climate We’re Passing Down to America’s Young, found that the amount of precipitation dropped by the most extreme storms in Washington State has increased by about 17 percent since the 1970s. At the same time, average temperatures have increased by more than a degree. Without action, sea level rise could cause coastal flooding in Seattle on about 57 days per year by mid-century (when sea levels could rise by 3 feet).
The report reinforces last year’s National Climate Assessment, which found that spring snowpack has already declined 20 percent and that increased carbon dioxide pollution is acidifying ocean water and impacting the state’s oyster harvest. Moreover, hotter temperatures could quadruple the amount of forest burned in fires like last summer’s Carlton Complex wildfire by the end of this century.
“As parents, we want our children to grow up with the opportunity to be more successful than we are,” said Madsen, “but global warming is increasingly making the world more dangerous. We need action now to protect our kids’ future.”
The report found similar increases in temperatures and extreme weather across the country. In every state, young adults are experiencing warmer average temperatures than young adults in the Baby Boomer generation. Most states have experienced more extreme storms.
According to the report, If the United States and the world continue to emit more carbon pollution, by the end of the century, when today’s children will be reaching retirement age, the temperature will have risen 5-10 °F.
To avoid further warming and the dangerous weather scientists predict will come with it, Environment Washington is calling for dramatic cuts in carbon pollution, starting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires an 30 percent reduction in power plant emissions by 2030. Environment Washington is also supporting Governor Inslee’s efforts to fight global warming at the state level.
“Governor Inslee’s climate plan is a strong step in the right direction,” said Madsen.
“As a national leader, Washington needs to show the rest of the country that we can solve climate change,” concluded Madsen. “We need political leaders at all levels of government to get behind innovative ideas and reduce pollution, so that we don’t pass down a more dangerous climate to the next generation.”
Environment Washington Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentWashingtonCenter.org