Why is climate change a concern?
The rapid rise in greenhouse gases is a problem because it is changing the climate faster than some living things may be able to adapt. As concentrations of greenhouse gases rising, Earth's remaining ice sheets are melting. The extra water could potentially raise sea levels significantly and cause flooding problems in coastal communities. Across the globe, weather is expected to become more extreme. This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts (a challenge for growing crops), changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.
Climate change is the defining challenge for the 21st century. Leading scientists worldwide have concluded that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are destabilizing Earth's climate, and that the need to reduce emissions is urgent.
How will Napa County be affected by climate change?
Sea Level Rise: According to the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the sea level in the Bay Area is expected to rise up to 55 inches during the next hundred years. BCDC's models illustrate that portions of Napa County, particularly along the Napa River, may be subject to increased flooding with just 16 inches of sea level rise.
Agriculture: Climate change is projected to have significant impacts on conditions affecting agriculture, including temperature, carbon dioxide, snow pack run-off, precipitation and the interaction of these elements.
Native Plants and Wildlife: Napa County is home to a particularly diverse population of plants. Native plants and animals are also at risk as temperatures rise.
Water: With warmer average temperatures, more winter precipitation will fall in the form of rain instead of snow, shortening the winter snowfall season and accelerating the rate at which the snowpack melts in the spring. The Sierra snowpack provides approximately 80% of California's annual water supply.
Who should be involved in climate protection?
- Institute new ordinances, zoning, laws, pricing policies, and land use practices
- Strengthen general plans and environmental impact reports
- Be a voice for entrepreneurial innovation and bold action
- Take advantage of new market opportunities
- Set up employee incentives to reduce driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles
- Urge elected representatives to take action
- Support the introduction of new pricing policies and financing solutions
- Make choices with the future in mind, and encourage others to do the same.
What can you do?
Calculate your greenhouse gas emissions - EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculater
Be aware of what your government is doing - Napa County Climate Action Planning
Get involved locally - Sustainable Napa County