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Rockford’s climate warming at the same pace as the rest of the US – WREX-TV

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Since the first Earth Day in 1970, Rockford’s climate has roughly warmed at the same rate as the United States. While Rockford isn’t one of the fastest warming places in the U.S., climate change has still left its mark on the local climate.

Rockford’s climate is nearly 3 degrees warmer than the first Earth Day in 1970. While we’ve had some cold years, you can see the overall trend keeps warming.

Over the last 50 years, Rockford has warmed almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit. While that doesn’t sound like a ton of change, imagine how high you would have to set your thermostat to get the average temperature in your house up a few degrees. Now multiply that to a much larger scale and timeline, and you have the changes going on across the planet.

The U.S. as a whole is over 2 degrees warmer than 50 years ago.

The United States as a whole is around 2 1/2 degrees warmer since 1970, so Rockford roughly matches that pace. Not all areas are warming at the same rate. Some spots, like Reno, NV, are warming at nearly 3 times that rate!

Not all places are warming at the same rate. Some spots in the south and west are warming at 2 to 3 times the national rate!

How do we help stop this rapid and dangerous warming of the Earth’s climate? It can start on a local scale around your house. Find ways to reduce how much energy you use, which in turn reduces your carbon emissions. Weatherize your house to cut down on heat loss in the winter and cooling costs in the summer (which in turns helps your bank account by lowering your energy bills!).

Think of all the ways you can cut down on energy use, carbon emissions, and garbage and pollution in general.

Find ways to waste less water, especially hot water. A large amount of the energy you use in your household comes from heating up your water. Can you reduce, or eliminate in some cases, the amount of hot water you use? Turning the faucet off as much as possible while washing the dishes, taking shorter and/or cooler showers, and washing your laundry in cold water are good places to start.

Find ways to leave the car at home and carpool or use mass transit. The less cars on the road, the less green house gases go into our atmosphere.

If you are able, using green energy is a step in the right direction. Getting electricity from solar panels, or driving an electric car greatly reduces greenhouse gases.

Why are greenhouse gases mentioned so many times? This is the root cause of the climate crisis we are in. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane act like a blanket in the Earth’s atmosphere. They allow heat in from the Sun, but trap any outgoing heat as the Earth tries to cool and balance out. We get these greenhouse gases primarily from burning fossil fuels like oil and coal to power our cars, houses, and devices, and to make all of our plastics. After decades of burning these fuels, we’ve pumped so much greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that the climate is warming at an unnatural rate. This leads to more extreme weather, more wildfires and drought, and loss of habitat and eventually extinction for many plants and animals.

While making an effort on the local level helps, remember that this is a global issue. We need to take drastic and sweeping efforts on a national and global scale.

We are running out of time to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s goals. Drastic changes are needed very soon to cut down on the amount of warming we cause to the climate.

This is where your local representatives come in. Contact them and express your concern to fight climate change on a national level. The more we can pull together on a local and national scale, the quicker we can end decades of destruction we’ve caused to our planet’s climate.

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