Climate Change Fast Facts

Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Impacts of climate change are currently visible throughout the United States and scientists have high confidence that change will continue through this century and beyond. According to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports, released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, our region can expect heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise posing growing challenges to many aspects of life. Infrastructure, human health, agriculture and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.  

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has processed climate data at the local level to generate future scenarios. Projections are presented as either optimistic, assuming a global temperature increase will be limited to 1-3F or pessimistic, in which case global temperature increase may reach 4-9F.  

Effects & Local Impacts

  1. TEMPERATURES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE - Projections of future temperature and humidity in Montgomery County suggest that recent trends towards temperature increases will continue.  In the future, higher cooling costs and higher heat related illnesses are expected. 
  2. MORE EXTREME AND EXTENDED HEAT WAVES - Periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks are project to appear more frequently. This trend suggests magnified usage of cooling equipment and as a result energy expenditures. In contrast, in the future, milder winters are expected leading to reduced heating requirements in Montgomery County.  
  3. CHANGES IN PRECIPITATION PATTERNS - Average Montgomery County precipitation is projected to increase by five (5) to seven (7) inches annually by the end of century. These increases in precipitation will vary seasonally. The largest increases in precipitation are projected over the winter months (approximately 50% intensification). On days below freezing, record snowstorms are predicted.
  4. STORM EVENT WILL INCREASE IN FREQUENCY AND DURATION - The intensity, frequency and duration of rainfall events are expected to become extreme. In the next several decades, increases in flooding and associated loss of life and property, erosion and pollution of water bodies, and infrastructure strain is projected.    

More Information

The following are selected resources for local governments, organizations and individual citizens to discover more about climate change from both scientific and public policy perspectives.

International 

  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  - An international body established by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC is the definitive source of mainstream scientific consensus on climate science and projections of climate changes and impacts. Issues regular assessment reports on the state of knowledge on climate change. 
  2. United Nations, Climate Change – The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame, which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally, and enables sustainable development. The UNFCCC contains a plethora of key reports on climate action, climate economics, and on issues that highlight climate impacts and solutions.

United States 

  1. NASA’s Global Climate Change 
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate  
  3. U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) – USGCRP is a Federal program mandated by Congress to coordinate Federal research and investments in understanding the forces shaping the global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society. USGCRP facilitates collaboration and cooperation across its 13 Federal member agencies to advance understanding of the changing Earth system and maximize efficiencies in Federal global change research. USGCRP provide a gateway to authoritative science, tools, and resources to help people and organizations across the country manage risks and respond to changing environmental conditions. 

Pennsylvania  

The following are some key resources that may be useful to local governments and organizations regarding slowing the process of climate change, adapting to it, and addressing its impacts. 

  1. Climate Protection Center, U.S. Conference of Mayors - Provides guidance and assistance in city efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are linked to climate change. 
  2. ICLEI USA - ICLEI is an international membership association of local governments committed to advancing climate protection and sustainable development. Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments.  
  3. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) - Comprehensive site of independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing credible information and innovative solutions in the effort to address energy issues and global climate change. Offers a comprehensive collection of scientific and public policy information regarding climate change.  
  4. The Climate Registry - Nonprofit collaboration that sets consistent, transparent standards throughout North America for businesses and governments to calculate, verify and publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions in a single registry.