Report | Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

The Way Forward on Global Warming

Humanity is running out of time to stop the most dangerous impacts of global warming. Signs of global warming are appearing around the world—including in the United States—and the latest science suggests that future impacts are likely to occur sooner and be more severe than previously thought.

The failure of the international community to take strong action to limit global warming pollution and the death of comprehensive energy and climate legislation in the U.S. Congress in 2010 have been major setbacks in the battle to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. But there is still hope—there are plenty of opportunities to reduce emissions of global warming pollution in the United States, while restoring momentum in the fight against global warming.

By adopting a suite of clean energy policies at the local, state and federal levels, the United States could curb emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use by as much as 20 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels). These savings represent a significant down payment on the emission reductions America must achieve to prevent the worst impacts of global warming, and put the nation on a path to achieve further emission reductions in the years ahead.

Report | Environment Florida Research and Policy Center

When it Rains, it Pours

Global warming is happening now and its effects are being felt in the United States and around the world. Among the expected consequences of global warming is an increase in the heaviest rain and snow storms, fueled by increased evaporation and the ability of a warmer atmosphere to hold more moisture. An analysis of more than 80 million daily precipitation records from across the contiguous United States reveals that intense rainstorms and snowstorms have already become more frequent and more severe. Extreme downpours are now happening 30 percent more often nationwide than in 1948. In other words, large rain or snowstorms that happened once every 12 months, on average, in the middle of the 20th century now happen every nine months. Moreover, the largest annual storms now produce 10 percent more precipitation, on average. An increase in extreme downpours has costly ramifications for the United States, with the potential to cause more flooding that jeopardizes property and lives. With scientists predicting even greater increases in extreme precipitation in the years ahead, the United States and the world must take action to reduce pollution that contributes to global warming.

Report | Environment Florida Research and Policy Center

Summer on the Road

Our oil dependence risks our environment to disasters like oil spills, endangers our climate with the nearly 2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution each year, and threatens our families’ health. With prices in some areas hitting $4 per gallon once again, our oil consumption is also putting an incredible burden on American families’ finances. It’s time for us to break our dependence on oil. Recognizing this, the Obama administration is working to finalize standards for our cars and light trucks that would achieve 54.5 mpg by 2025--that would be the single biggest step we have ever taken to get off oil. A new report, Summer on the Road: Going Farther on a Gallon of Gas, demonstrates the enormous benefits we would see just from having these cleaner cars on the road during this summer driving season.

Report | Environment Florida Research and Policy Center

In the Path of the Storm

After a year that saw many parts of the country hit by scorching heat, devastating wildfires, severe storms and record flooding, a new Environment America report documents how global warming could lead to certain extreme weather events becoming even more common or more severe in the future. The report found that, already, 4 out of 5 Americans live in counties affected by federally declared weather-related disasters since 2006. Last year’s Hurricane Irene, which resulted in the death of 45 people in the 13 states hit by the storm, and an estimated $7.3 billion in damage, is one of the extreme weather events highlighted in the report.

Report | Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

Building a Better America

We can save money and help solve global warming by reducing the amount of energy we use, including in the buildings where we live and work every day. More than 40 percent of our energy — and 10 percent of all the energy used in the world — goes toward powering America’s buildings. But today’s high-efficiency homes and buildings prove that we have the technology and skills to drastically improve the efficiency of our buildings while simultaneously improving their comfort and affordability.

If we apply those lessons to all buildings, we can reduce energy use in our homes and workplaces by a quarter, lowering global warming pollution from buildings 30 percent by 2030.

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