Neighborhood Blitz a Success!

Blitz groupOn July 19, PennFuture organized a group of 12 volunteers who distributed 137 free energy-saving toolkits to residents in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The contents of the bags included CFL light bulbs, a smart power strip, LED night lights, window and door caulk, and various pamphlets with energy saving tips.

Each bag helps to avoid over 3,817 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere and saves each household over $100 in electricity costs per year. The residents using these energy-saving products will help to avoid over half a million pounds of CO2 from being released, which is equivalent to taking 50 cars off the road or planting 6,082 trees.

The Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign engages residents of Pittsburgh in simple actions they can take to reduce their energy demand at home through energy efficient products and behaviors. This initiative was created by PennFuture in 2009 to carry out recommendations in the community sector of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. Neighborhood blitzes provide direct community involvement to help reduce Pittsburgh’s greenhouse gases—a major contributor to climate change—and improve the region’s air quality.

Since the neighborhood blitz was adopted as a proactive outreach model in 2010, the Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign has organized 24 blitzes throughout 16 different neighborhoods in Pittsburgh that have reached a total of 2,139 households. Read more about the most recent neighborhood blitz here.

Climate Modeling Presentation

Recent news articles have reported on a “warming hiatus,” claiming that there has been little or no warming of the planet for the past 15 years, contradicting predictions of the climate models. Researcher Neil Donahue examines the details of climate models, how they construct predictions about global warming, and whether the warming hiatus is real or imagined. The link between climate and our energy choices becomes clear as each piece of the climate model is examined for its effects on global temperature trends.

This is the first in a three-part series called “Climate Change Here and Now.” The event will take place on Wednesday, July 23rd at Bar Marco’s Union Hall, 2216 Penn Avenue, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Neighborhood Blitz — Volunteer!

Take an active role in reducing Pittsburgh’s carbon emissions by helping the Black and Gold City Goes Green distribute free energy-saving toolkits to residents in Mount Washington on Saturday, July 19 from 10 am – 2:30 pm. Training will be provided, so you will feel comfortable talking about the benefits of conserving energy. The first 25 people who sign up will receive a free movie ticket to the SouthSide Works, and participants will have a chance to win tickets to Venture Outdoors!

Since its pilot in 2010, volunteers have helped with 22 blitzes in neighborhoods across Pittsburgh. Join the movement to help improve our air quality and climate! Register here.

MW-Blitz

Risky Business Report

RiskyBusinessClimate change poses a serious threat to U.S. businesses and economy, according to a recent report written by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. Their report, Risky Business, argues that climate change should be treated like any other business threat and calls for immediate bipartisan action.

The report estimates between $66 billion and $106 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2050; labor productivity of outdoor workers could be reduced by 3 percent because extremely hot days will be far more frequent; and demand for electricity to power air conditioners will require the construction of more power plants that will cost electricity customers up to $12 billion per year.

In an op-ed piece to The New York Times, Henry Paulson outlines similarities between the economic crash of 2008 to the coming climate crash.

“We are building up excesses (debt in 2008, greenhouse gas emissions that are trapping heat now). Our government policies are flawed (incentivizing us to borrow too much to finance homes then, and encouraging the overuse of carbon-based fuels now). Our experts (financial experts then, climate scientists now) try to understand what they see and to model possible futures. And the outsize risks have the potential to be tremendously damaging (to a globalized economy then, and the global climate now).

“Back then, we narrowly avoided an economic catastrophe at the last minute by rescuing a collapsing financial system through government action. But climate change is a more intractable problem. The carbon dioxide we’re sending into the atmosphere remains there for centuries, heating up the planet. … There is virtually no debate among [climate scientists] that the planet is warming and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible.”

The findings of the Risky Business report solidify the relationship of climate change to our economic and social well-being. Learn more by visiting riskybusiness.org and read Henry Paulson’s entire op-ed here.

Support Solar Power

The newest Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video highlights the power of the sun as a renewable resource and uses humor to inspire action.

SolarFestActions from this episode include using solar power (especially for drying laundry) and supporting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution. Follow this link to support the EPA’s new policy through The Climate Reality Project http://l.djst.tv/CleanPowerPlan.

To find out how much solar energy will cost where you live, visit solar-estimate.org. To learn about community-based solar financing, go to communitypowernetwork.com. In addition, you can attend the Allegheny Solar Fest on Saturday, June 21st from noon to 7 PM at Millvale Riverfront Park to learn more about solar energy through educational workshops and fun activities. The entire festival will be powered by solar energy!

PCI Hosting Green Drinks

greendrinks

Want to meet representatives from the PCI partner organizations and connect with other sustainability-minded professionals? Join us for Green Drinks on Thursday, June 19th from 5:30 – 8 pm at Uptown! Located directly across from Consol Energy Center at 1014 Fifth Avenue, Uptown’s rooftop lounge offers an exceptional view of Downtown Pittsburgh. Complimentary appetizers and drink specials provided by Uptown.
Uptown logo

PCI Partners will be on hand to talk about the recently released progress report of the plan, as well as sector-specific emissions reductions activities, like the Green Workplace Challenge, the 2030 District, and local government sustainability initiatives.

Green Drinks Pittsburgh is a sustainability network platform designed to inspire new ideas and spread awareness of what is happening in Pittsburgh. As always, this event is free and open to the public. Learn more and sign up for the email list by visiting the Green Drinks Pittsburgh website. Also, visit the Green Drinks Facebook event page.

Hearing on Carbon Pollution Standards

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a standard to limit carbon pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants, which would reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent by 2030. Power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution and contribute to climate change, which is why this proposed regulation is so crucial to protect human health and our communities.

Speak out in favor of these proposed standards at a public hearing in Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 31. Click here to register for the hearing. Make your voice heard by supporting the EPA’s decision to control dangerous air pollution and take action on climate change!

Difference Between Weather and Climate

In the next National Geographic episode of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson will cover the science of climate change. In this clip, he explains the difference between weather and climate:

“Weather is hard to predict, but climate is predictable. Climate has changed many times in the long history of the earth, but always in response to a global force. The strongest force driving climate change right now is the increasing CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, which is trapping more heat from the sun.”

Watch the entire episode on Sunday, June 1 at 9 PM on Fox. Learn more and watch additional clips on the Cosmos website.

Humorous Climate Change Video Series

Communitopia is a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh with a focus on climate communication, using new media and humor. Their Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video series makes the subject of climate change accessible – breaking the science down into short, digestible nuggets; defusing fear and dread with humor and relatable characters; keeping the topic of climate change fresh with episodic content; and empowering viewers with easy actions, at a personal and a larger advocacy level. Their most recent video, 18th episode in the series, is a music video parody focused on energy and money saving consumer actions called “Watt Chop,” featuring cameos from Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and others involved in the local green movement. Watch the video below!

Climate Change “Debate” Must End

DavittWoodwellThe incoming President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a partner organization of PCI, recently spoke to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on energy and climate issues. In the Q&A, Davitt Woodwell takes a clear stance on climate change action.

Q: In terms of environmental problems, what should Americans be the most concerned about and why?

A: Clearly, the climate change “debate” must come to an end. America must accept the science and move to act on limiting climate impacts.

It is a challenge that America is up to and represents not only environmental consequences but also considerable economic and national security concerns, as well. This is not about the weather, it is about long-term thinking and getting beyond the comfort zone of the here and now.

Read the full article here.