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We Have a Climate Emergency

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—carbon dioxide in particular— is causing the steady increase in global temperature, and that burning fossil fuels is the primary cause of this warming trend. Climate change is already leading to large-scale problems including ocean acidification and rising sea levels; more frequent, extreme, and damaging weather events such as heat waves, storms, heavy rainfall and flooding, and droughts; more frequent and intense wildfires; disrupted ecosystems affecting biodiversity and food production; and an increase in heat-related deaths. Many of these impacts are already being felt in the Bay Area region, including rising sea levels, reduced snowpack in the Sierras, and extreme weather. These impacts carry real social and economic costs. 

To avoid these climate impacts, it is imperative to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The City of Albany shares the responsibility to mitigate emissions to reduce the impact of our changing climate, including the threat of rising sea levels and rising temperatures. Albany and other cities around the globe are challenged with the momentous responsibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to stabilize the global climate while preparing for the effects of climate change.

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Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change.

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy. In addition, deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere. 

Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping heat in the atmosphere and the planet to warm. The buildup of greenhouse gases changes Earth's climate, resulting in dangerous effects to human health and welfare, and to ecosystems. The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.

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Climate change affects everyone.

Our lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety. Although it's difficult to predict the exact impacts of climate change, what's clear is that the climate we are accustomed to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.

We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we can reduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

We can make a difference.

You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps can save you money; some, such as walking or biking to work can even improve your health! You can also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energy programs, or other climate programs.

Calculate your household's footprint, and take action to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions with Carbon-Free Albany

The City of Albany is committed to climate action. On December 2, 2019 the City of Albany City Council unanimously adopted a new Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan outlines a course of action to achieve carbon-neutrality in Albany by 2045.