Concern about the climate crisis continues to grow as extreme weather becomes the norm. The drought in California is unprecedented--see the Drought Talking Points below and share them with others.
350 Sacramento is seeking solutions to climate change on many fronts. We have low-carbon lifestyle activities like the book group on Feb 22 and our bike team for May is Bike Month, we encourage politicians to do the right thing by supporting the anti-fracking gathering on March 15 and sending comments to the State Dept (if you haven't submitted yours, time is running out--see below), we support other organizations working on climate issues, and we are planning a Town Hall meeting in May to network and share ideas on what needs to be done locally.
Get involved in whatever way you prefer. Participate in events, volunteer, bike, send in comments, go to rallies. It's going to take all of us to address this huge challenge. 350 Sac needs volunteers to table, help with the Town Hall, and other activities. Join us.
Feb 22, Saturday--Book group meetup on Saturday, February 22 from 10am–12 pm at Shine Cafe (1400 E St) to discuss "Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste" by Bea Johnson. All are welcome.
Mar 8, Saturday, 1:30 to 3:30 pm--Faith in Action: Forum on Climate Change, Hagen Community Center, Rancho Cordova, http://www.sacramentoccl.org/upcoming-chapter-events/faith-in-action-1
Mar 15, Saturday—Don't Frack Sacramento. Each and every fracking well uses millions of gallons of water, which becomes so toxic it has to be permanently removed from the water cycle. On Saturday, March 15, from 12–5 pm, thousands of people from all over the state are coming to Sacramento to tell Governor Brown that it's time to stop fracking in California. Join us at noon at the Capitol Lawn to save our water and our climate.
Apr 10, Thursday—“What does Faith have to do with Floods, Farms, Fins, and Feathers?”—Larry Rasmussen, author of Earth-Honoring Faith. Save the date (more details to come).
Apr 17, Thursday, 10-3--Sac State Earth Day on the Library Quad.
Apr 19, Saturday, 11-4—Sacramento's 45th Annual Earth Day sponsored by ECOS. http://www.sacramentoearthday.net/
Apr 25, Friday--Sacramento Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour at the Crest Theater.
May 1–31—May is Bike Month; join the 350 Sacramento team and bike your heart out. We have a good time and rack up carbon-free miles for fun and errands.
May 8, Thursday, 11–1--Bike Fest celebration of May is Bike Month.
May 17, Saturday—The 1st Annual Town Hall Meeting on Climate Change will be an opportunity to learn what is happening locally and talk about what needs to be done to address the climate crisis. There will be speakers, elected officials, a crowd-sourced wiki Action Plan, a people-powered PA system, and a chance to share your own ideas. We are still in the planning stages and welcome your involvement. Contact Laurie for more information.
May 20, Tuesday--Climate Ride will arrive in Sacramento.
There are 21 more days to send comments to the State Dept about the Keystone XL pipeline: act.350.org/letter/kxl-feis/
The 3 major messages we need to get across to President Obama:
1) he has all the evidence he needs to stop the pipeline. It’s simple: building an 830,000 barrel-per-day pipeline of the world’s dirtiest oil will have an impact on the climate. No amount of spin can change the underlying economic reality that Keystone XL will allow big oil to dig up, refine and burn more tar sands than they could with any other available options. We take the President at his word when he said that he would reject the pipeline if it has a significant impact on the climate, and now the evidence is in: it does.
2) any effort to build the pipeline would be deeply compromised by big oil’s corruption of the process. ERM, one of the main contractors behind the State Department’s report, is a dues-paying member of the American Petroleum Institute, big oil’s main lobbying group, and counts TransCanada as one of their clients. This is like the fox guarding the henhouse, only it’s our climate that needs defending.
3) we can either have Keystone XL or a safe and livable climate -- ‘all of the above’ is not an option. We are past the point of building fossil fuel infrastructure and hoping for the best -- Keystone XL isn’t compatible with even the President’s weak climate goals. After 6 years of supporting more fossil fuel projects while saying he’s committed to climate science, President Obama needs to finally decide if he wants to be a climate champion, or be remembered as the pipeline president.
Drought Talking Points (from Climate Nexus)
California is in the midst of a three-year drought. 2013 was the state’s driest calendar year on record, and is currently on track for its driest water year in nearly 500 years. Climate change is intensifying the drought by driving record-breaking warm temperatures that evaporate snow pack and dry out soils. In addition, it may be at least partly responsible for the unprecedented weather pattern blocking storms from the state.
Contributors to Drought
Loss of Snowpack
o Snowpack makes up about a third of California’s water supply overall.
o California has been experiencing record high temperatures this winter, and these warmer conditions have lead to mountain snow melting earlier and the resulting soil moisture evaporating faster.
o Late December 2013 snowpack levels were just 20% of normal, tying the 2012 readings for the driest on record for the same date.
o The current high-pressure “ridge” in the Pacific Ocean - unprecedented in modern weather records – is being held in place by a large, static bend in the jet stream, preventing winter storms from making landfall.
o Scientists are beginning to detect a connection between these abnormal jet stream waves, and the warming of the Arctic.
o A 2005 study predicted the impact of Arctic warming on Californian precipitation using climate models, which produced a similar high-pressure ridge to the one that has remained in place throughout 2013.
The Big Picture
o A key indicator of climate change is that, on average, wet regions are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier.
o The Southwestern U.S. is a naturally dry region, and as it gets drier, California’s ability to compensate for drought by drawing water from other areas is reduced.
o Currently the Colorado River, which supplies the greater Los Angeles area with much of its water, is experiencing drought conditions nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years.
o According to industry group California Farm Water Coalition, lost revenue for farming and associated businesses like trucking and processing could reach $5 billion in 2014 alone.
People and the Economy
o As of January 28, 2014, seventeen communities across the state were in danger of running out of water within 60 to 120 days.
o Droughts are known to threaten human health by depleting water supplies, lowering crop yields and worsening water quality.
o Governor Brown warned that the severity of and uncertainties over the current drought threaten to slow economic recovery.
o High temperatures and drought, both linked to climate change, lead to the tree deaths and insect outbreaks that make wildfires worse.
o Red-flag fire warnings have been issued in Southern California this January, and the recent Colby fire burned over 1,900 acres.
o The Sierra Nevada Mountains also present a fire risk due to lack of normal snowpack. A small fire nearby in Nevada was contained, but officials are on edge.
o The drought stands to do significant harm to the state’s ability to generate hydroelectric power, which typically provides15 per cent of its total energy in a non-drought year.
o Reductions in hydropower generation have been costly in the past. An analysis by the Pacific Institute estimated that the 2007-09 drought cost Californian ratepayers $1.7 billion to replace lost hydropower with natural gas generation.