Fighting Climate Change

The U.S. military, NASA, and 97% of climate scientists agree: climate change is real, it’s a problem, and it’s past time we do something about it.

The Earth’s temperature is rising at an alarming rate. Over the past century, the earth’s average temperature has increased by 1.4°F and it is expected to rise another 2°F in the next hundred years.(1) These differences in average temperature may seem small, but even small changes can trigger extreme changes in climate and weather patterns, impacting public health, the environment, and the economy.(2)

Here in Wisconsin, we are already experiencing how climate change negatively affects our public health, our lakes, and our agricultural economy. Yet U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says he doesn’t see the connection between carbon pollution from human activity and climate change.

ClimateActionWI_logo_webThat’s why we’ve teamed up with our partners at League of Conservation Voters to run a high-profile campaign called “Climate Action Wisconsin,” demanding Senator Ron Johnson stop denying climate change and start taking action. The Clean Power Plan is a commonsense approach to combat climate change that will reduce carbon emissions by 32% over the next 15 years. The plan would also result in 90,000 fewer asthma attacks, 3,600 fewer premature deaths, 300,000 fewer missed school and work days, and create tens of thousands of clean energy jobs.

However, Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel have all been vocal opponents of the Clean Power Plan. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker and Brad Schimel have joined with 23 other governors in suing the EPA over these rules. Wisconsin and Indiana are the only states in the entire Midwest who have refused to put forward a plan to meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan. In the U.S. Senate, Senator Johnson has sponsored a Senate Resolution that attempts to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The resolution is largely symbolic and wastes valuable time and taxpayer dollars.

Since launching our campaign, we have opened two brand new field offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee, engaged over 700 volunteers, and taken action over 5,000 times!

Take Action

As a member of Congress, Senator Johnson has the power to do something about the climate crisis before it’s too late. But instead, he chooses to block common sense conservation initiatives by reasoning that global warming is just “sunspot activity” and carbon pollution “gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow.”(3) Denying climate change means ignoring the effect it is already having on Wisconsinites.

WLCV Climate Change Organizer Ella Schwierske delivers 50,000+ petitions to Senator Johnson’s office. (Don’t worry, the boxes only contained electronic files of the petitions – not paper!)

WLCV Climate Change Organizer Ella Schwierske delivers 50,000+ petitions to Senator Johnson’s office. (Don’t worry, the boxes only contained electronic files of the petitions – not paper!)

Our Water

From lakes to rivers to groundwater, Wisconsin’s healthy waterways are essential to human health, biodiversity, and recreation. But changes in temperature and precipitation patterns threaten to alter our water cycles.(4) Expected consequences of climate change on Wisconsin water include:

  • Increased flooding will result in more sediment and nutrient loading in our bodies of water. This will lead to changes in lake water levels and altered habitat for aquatic life.
  • Lakes will be iced over for shorter periods, and the ice will be less thick, impacting both wildlife and ice fishermen.
  • Groundwater across the state will be impacted by changes in the seasonal distribution of precipitation.

Our Public Health

Climate change intensifies air pollution and smog, which lead to respiratory illnesses, particularly among those with asthma and allergies.

  • Smog damages lung tissue, and is especially dangerous for children. Smog is worse in the hot summer months – when children are playing outside the most.
  • Increases in intense rainfall events are expected to test the limits of our wastewater treatment facilities by increasing sanitary sewer overflows.

Our Agriculture

Unprecedented weather events can have devastating impacts on Wisconsin agriculture, impacting farmers’ income, food prices, and the state economy.

  • In 2012, Wisconsin experienced extreme summer drought conditions after several years of unusually wet weather. The result was a 19% drop in agricultural revenue from 2011 to 2012.
  • Unusually wet conditions can also lead to crop loss from flooding, and less predictable rainfall in the spring can delay planting.

Sources

  • (1) “Climate Change: Basic Information.” Climate Change. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  • (2) EPA. Ibid.
  • (3) http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/100814454.html
  • (4) “Water Resources.” Wisconsin’s Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptations. Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.