Reducing Climate Change and Moving to Clean Energy
Click on the Campaign Below to find out more about Clean Energy in Wisconsin!
The Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter has made reducing the threat of climate change in Wisconsin and promoting smarter energy solutions our top priority. Overreliance on fossil fuels pollutes our air and water, contributes to climate change, and threatens public health. Over 2.1 million Wisconsinites live in areas that contain unhealthy levels of soot or smog.
In the face of these concerns, Wisconsin has an opportunity. By investing in efficiency and conservation, transitioning to homegrown renewable energy sources, and increasing transportation options, Wisconsin can grow our economy, provide family-supporting jobs, and prevent further damage to our natural resources. In fact, a University of Massachusetts study found that a significant investment in this kind of clean energy infrastructure could create over 37,000 new jobs here in Wisconsin.
Climate change is caused by excessive greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels (including carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. These gases cause heat to be trapped into the atmosphere and can't escape into space. These gases keep the planet warm and liveable. However, with the increased burning of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, the warming is increasing the overall temperature of the planet, and on a scale that can't be controlled.
Scientists say the safe cap of carbon dioxide is 350 parts per million. Currently, we are closer to 380 PPM. It will take a lot of work to reverse these trends, but if we don't, the impacts will be devestating. The effects of climate change will reek havoc on Wisconsin's air and water, economy, and agriculture. The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts found that in Wisconsin, climate change will have the following impacts:
Water resources and Coastal Areas
-Rising winter temperatures will continue to shorten the duration of lake ice cover.
- More frequent heavy rains will wash polluted runoff into lakes, triggering more algae blooms.
- Diminishing ice cover, changing water levels, and higher winds over the Great Lakes could increase shoreline erosion and risks to shoreline property.
- Increased runoff and flooding could affect the biological integrity of coastal wetlands.
Natural habitats and Agriculture
- Earlier onset of spring may alter relationships between plants and pollinators, affecting reproduction cycles.
- Some wildlife, fish, and tree species now at the southern edge of their ranges in Wisconsin may move out of the state, while species more tolerant of warmer temperatures will expand.
- Hotter summers could reduce yields of crops such as corn and soybeans.
Public health and Infrastructure
- Summer heat waves may become more frequent and last longer.
- Accumulations of smog and ground-level ozone could pose more frequent air-quality hazards.
- Roads, bridges, and urban areas will face greater risk of damage from intense storms.
- More heavy rain events could overwhelm storm sewers.
The Wisconsin Blue Green Alliance and the
Launched in 2006, the Blue Green Alliance is a strategic initiative led by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club and including many other "blue" (blue collar/labor) and "green" (environmental) partners. The BGA creates a formal structure for creating a renewed, vibrant base of Americans who will work for good jobs, a clean environment, and a safer world. In Wisconsin, the BGA leverages the power and size of the USW's 35,000 members and retirees, and the Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter, with its 15,000 members.