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‘Temperatures are rising here:’ Environmental experts urge action against climate change

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data shows July of 2021 is the hottest month on record. Environmental experts say carbon emissions caused using fossil fuels.

“When we think about what effects we’re already seeing, they’re pretty bad,” said Kirstin Dow, climate change researcher and Professor of Geography at UofSC.

She says the data isn’t surprising, but it is concerning. The temperature in July was 1.67 degrees (F) higher than the average temperature of the past century, according to NOAA.

Research shows the increase in the amount of severe weather events such as hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires is caused by increasing global temperatures.

“All these things are indications of how the weather patterns in total are changing,” said Dow.

Dow says the changes are already being felt here in SC.

“What’s interesting is that the overnight low temperatures are rising here,” said Dow.

“So, you may not have felt like 5 o’clock in the afternoon was the hottest you’ve experienced, but when you leave the house in the morning, you think, ‘Wow. It didn’t cool off overnight,’ because it didn’t. It’s substantially warmer overnight than it has been in the past.”

Individuals can make a change, she says. To conserve energy, Dow suggests using high efficiency appliances, or by simply making sure your air ducts aren’t leaking. Another tip: inflate your air tires to save fuel. All are small changes that she says will make a difference if we all take part.

Shelley Welton, Associate Law Professor at UofSC focusing on climate change and US energy policy, says action is also needed on a national level.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports the most carbon emission is caused by transportation at 29%. Welton says we should hold companies responsible for the high emissions by asking leaders to consider using clean energy for transportation.

“We can take actions as individuals to change our own emissions, but we also as individuals, I think, need to band together to demand change at a level that’ll help us all be the kinds of citizens we would like to be,” said Welton.

Welton says checking in with your local representatives on their progress towards lower carbon emissions is one way to spark a change.

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