Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing us today.  By making several small, simple lifestyle changes we can all do our part to help reduce our impact both on our environment and our climate.  Making these changes today will ensure a safe, beautiful future for our children tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions

By now, most of us have heard about climate change, but many of us still don’t really know what it is, or why it’s happening.  The following are some frequently asked questions that will help clear the air.

Q: What is Climate Change?

A:    Climate change refers to the gradual change of the global temperature on earth.  Climate change has been occurring naturally since our planet was created several billion years ago.

Q:  Has the earth been getting warmer?

A:  Yes.  The globe has been in a general warming trend since detailed climate records began being kept in 1850.  In the United States, the average temperature has increased by almost 1ºC since the 1970’s.  This increase is more dramatic than analytical models have predicted.  Scientists are becoming more concerned about this warming trend and fear that it may be due, in part, to an increase in man-made greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Q:  What are Greenhouse Gases?

A:  Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere and are also produced by man-made activities generally associated with the burning of fossil fuels.  Greenhouse gases act to absorb heat from the sun.  The higher the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere the more heat can be absorbed.  This can lead to an increase in the global temperature.  Common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

Q:  Why do scientists think human activity is impacting our climate?

A:    Scientists are able to measure the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.  Since the industrial revolution in the late 1800’s, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been increasing.  Scientific models indicate that the current warming trend can not be explained by natural sources of greenhouse gases alone.

Q:   What man-made activities cause greenhouse gases?

A:    The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, roughly 35% is created by coal burning power plants used to generate electricity and over 25% is attributed to emissions from vehicles.  Tailpipe exhaust from passenger cars contributes the most greenhouse gas emissions than any other type of vehicle.  The remaining emissions are caused by buildings (industries, businesses and homes) and agriculture.

Q:   What impacts will climate change have?

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that, if left unchecked, climate change will have several significant impacts by the end of this century.  These include an average global temperature increase of between 1.8ºC and 4.0ºC, and an average sea level rise of between 6 inches and 20 inches. Both heat waves and precipitation will become more frequent, and snowpack on local mountains will be reduced.

Q:   Are there things I can do to help reduce my impact on climate change?

A:    Yes!  By making several simple changes to your lifestyle you can dramatically reduce the impact you and your community have on climate change.

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Climate Action Plan

In January 2011, the City of Santa Clarita began the process of completing a Climate Action Plan. This ambitious project measures the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated within the City and develops strategies to reduce them in the future. Want to learn more about the City’s Climate Action Plan?  Click here!

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What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

Have you ever wondered exactly how much greenhouse gas you and your family produces each year?  This interactive calculator will help you figure that out and provide a variety of practical tips customized to your own home and lifestyle.

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What Can You Do To Help?

Everyone can help reduce the impact of climate change.  Whether you’re at home, on the road, at work, or at school the following tips are practical and easy to follow.

  • At Home: Actions you can take around the house.
  • On the Road: Actions you can take to minimize vehicle emissions.
  • Green Vehicle Guide: Looking for a new car?  This guide will sort almost every make and model by fuel efficiency, emissions and more.
  • At Work: Take a leadership role in your office by implementing several simple strategies.
  • At School: Green up your class room.  Whether you’re a teacher or a student, this site is for you.
  • Kid’s Climate Change Page: Are you a teacher and want to teach your class about climate change?  Or are you a parent and want to start talking about climate change to your kids?  An interactive approach makes learning fun.
  • How “walkable” is your neighborhood?  Did you know that the number of miles the average American drives every year has grown at a rate three times as fast as the national population since 1980?  Moreover, fully one-quarter of the trips we take in our cars are one mile or less.  In addition to the obvious health benefits, walking can help reduce your carbon footprint.  This helpful tool identifies a variety of destinations including grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants, within walking distance of your home.

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Climate Change Resource Library

Catch up on your reading! Whether you have been following the conversation on climate change from the beginning or have just now tuned in, the Climate Change Resource Library will help you understand the many issues that climate change encompasses, from endangered tortoises to the economics of carbon taxes and everything in between!

Articles Pre-September 2008 (arranged by category)

Articles from September 2008 and Later (arranged chronologically)

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PhotoWant to know more about climate change?  These helpful links can get you up to speed and provide you with a wide range of resources.