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Tag Archives: global warming

How Is Climate Change Affecting Hurricanes?

Earth melting into water

Earth melting into waterThe 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is already the worst this country has seen, and we're barely halfway through it.  But this is what climate scientists predicted: As global temperatures continue to rise, we will continue to see bigger, more destructive storms.

Hurricane Harvey, Photo by Karl Spencer/Getty Images

The reason behind this comes down to one thing: The air can hold 7% more water with every degree Celsius that the temperature increases. It's not that climate change is causing more storms; it's causing existing storms to become major ones.

As Christopher Joyce put it from the National Public Radio, "Heat is the fuel that takes garden-variety storms and supercharges them."

The data comes from a widely-accepted physical law called the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, which was established centuries ago before climate change became a politicized issue.

hurricane irma sept 5 2017 cira rammb

Hurricane Irma, Photo Courtesy of NOAA

Warmer oceans also feed hurricanes by giving them strength. One study looked at hurricanes over the course of two decades and found that storms today reach Category 3 wind speeds nine hours faster than they did in the 1980s.

Now more than ever, it's important to recognize what we're doing to contribute to climate change and work toward living a greener lifestyle. At UCLA Transportation, we promote alternative commute modes in order to reduce carbon emissions and our overall footprint.

You don't have to make a monumental change. Start small. Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum. Walk to the store instead of driving. Maybe bike to work one day a week, or month. Explore the options you have to create more sustainable habits. Individual events have led to climate change, so individual events can also fight it.

 

Transportation is Now Largest Source of Pollution in US

smog
smogPhoto By Dave Herholz (flickr)

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the transportation sector in the US has produced more carbon pollution over the past 12 months than any other sector of the economy.

The new data from the US Energy and Information Administration (EIA) shows that carbon emissions from transportation have exceeded emissions from the electric power, industrial, residential and commercial sectors.

"These recent findings are an important wake-up call that highlights the need for urgent action to combat global-warming-causing pollution from transportation sources," said John Olivieri, National Campaign Director for 21st Century Transportation at the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG). "Over reliance on single-occupant vehicle travel and a failure to prioritize non-driving modes of transportation like transit, biking and pedestrian alternatives is having a profound impact on the health of our planet and the health of our citizens."Smoggy LA

Here at UCLA Transportation, we are committed to getting solo drivers out of their car and into some form of alternative transportation. Not only can alternative commute modes reduce the impact of climate change and improve our overall health, it can save you time, money and the stress of driving in traffic.

To incentivize our commuters, we are constantly striving to offer promotional items such as free transit passesfree bicyclescarpool discounts (with guaranteed parking for eligible students) and one month of free vanpool.

Do you want to do your part to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions? Find out about our alternative commute programs here.

 

 

Weekly Wrap-Up

 

This week's biggest headlines in transportation:

Have You Taken the Cool Campus Challenge?

coolcampuschallenge

coolcampuschallengeHere at UCLA, we're all about being the best. So when UC President Janet Napolitano issued the Cool Campus Challenge to see which UC campus is most committed to climate change, we only had two words to say: challenge accepted.

We're squaring off in a friendly competition with the nine other UC campuses (and within UCLA by joining or forming teams!) from now until December 10.

So what's the goal of all this? It's a bit more admirable than just winning (FYI: UCLA is currently ranked 4th). We're trying to become carbon neutral by 2025. And the key is getting the UCLA family to pledge to take small steps in changing their habits to be a little greener.

Sign up today, commit to simple actions like turning off lights and taking public transportation, and earn points for you, your team and your campus.

All UC faculty, staff and students are invited to participate. Help us reduce UC's carbon footprint and create a culture of sustainability across the UC system.

Beating out the nine other UC campuses would be pretty cool too.

Climate Change: This is an Emergency

mainpic

mainpicIt’s hard for people to grasp the devastating reality of global warming. Yes, we’re seeing record-breaking summers, polar vortexes and the worst drought in the history of California. But is it drastically affecting our individual lives, here and now? Not really. And that’s why no one gets it.climatedenial

So let me paint a picture: Within 45 years, hundreds of millions of people from major cities like New York, London and Paris may be fleeing for safety because the homes they once knew have become uninhabitable. Within 85 years, Miami may be completely under water. Between 150 and 200 species are going extinct every day—a rate that is 1,000 times extinctionfaster than what’s “natural” (i.e. before humans started messing with the environment). Which means that by the end of the century, up to 50% of all species on Earth could be extinct. And ultimately, humans will join its ranks.

Extinction is part of the evolutionary process. All species eventually die out. Humans, however, will be the first to do it to themselves.

Some scientists think that the damage is irrevocable. Others believe that the Earth’s climate has yet to pass its tipping point. All of them agree that something has to be done. So today, on Earth Day, we urge you to do your part. Go green. There are seven billion people in this world, and if everyone did one, small thing, it could have a huge impact on what’s to come.

To make it easier for you, I've laid out 15 ways you can save our future.

  1. Use alternative forms of transportation: public transit, bike, vanpool, publictransitcarpool or walk. Transportation accounts for 24% of our carbon emissions.
  2. If you have to drive, make sure it’s a fuel-efficient, low greenhouse gas emission vehicle.
  3. Be water conscious. Only launder a full load, use a low-flow showerhead and brush your teeth without running the water.
  4. Switch to reusable grocery bags.
  5. Limit your waste! Trash gets tossed into landfills and decomposes into landfillmethane, a far more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  6. Recycle your old cell phone. More than 140 million cell phones will end up in a landfill this year, comprising 70% of all toxins.
  7. Use green cleaning products.
  8. Rethink bottled water. Last year, Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles. That’s 1,500 water bottlesbottles per second, enough energy to power 190,000 homes. Nearly 90% of water bottles aren’t recycled.
  9. Recycle glass. It reduces air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%. Glass can take a million years to decompose.
  10. Switch to ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs, and turn off all lights and electronic devices when you aren’t using them.
  11. Buy local. Consider how much pollution it takes to get your food from the farm to your table.
  12. Pay your bills online and stop junk mail and paper statements.
  13. Use one less napkin. On average, we use six every day. That’s 2,200 a year. One less napkincoffeethermos means more than a billion pounds of napkins saved from landfills annually.
  14. Use your own coffee cup or thermos both at work and for that morning commute.
  15. Adjust your thermostat. One degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter will save about 10% of energy use.