Chicago, IL – Young adults in Illinois are experiencing hotter temperatures and more intense storms than their predecessors did in the 1970’s, according to a new report by Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center.
“We used to think global warming would happen someday, but someday is now,” said Rachel Konowitz, campaign organizer with Environment Illinois. “We’re are already seeing record heat and more extreme weather, and without bold action, the next generation will be left a dangerous inheritance.”
Intense storms have led to the 7% increase in precipitation Illinoisans have experienced over the last 40 years, according to the analysis, Dangerous Inheritance: The Hotter, More Extreme Climate We’re Passing Down to America’s Young.
The report also shows that temperatures have risen 1.6 degrees over the last five generations, leading to more intense summer heatwaves across the state.
“The climate has changed noticeably since my childhood, and I want to do everything I can to mitigate as many future impacts as possible to give my kids a planet on which to live,” said Kelly Nichols, Illinois Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force. “I can buy car seats, food low on pesticides and personal care products without nasty chemicals to keep them safe, but I can’t buy them clean air, so I fight for it every chance I get.”
Researchers found similar increases in temperatures and extreme weather across the country. In every state, young adults are experiencing warmer average temperatures than young adults in the Baby Boomer generation. The biggest rain and snowstorms produce 10 percent more rainfall in 2011 than they did in 1948.
According to the report, If the United States and the world continue to emit more carbon pollution, by the end of the century, when today’s children will be reaching retirement age, the temperature will have risen 5-10 °F.
To avoid increasing average temperature and the dangerous weather scientists predict will come with it, Environment Illinois advocates dramatic cuts in carbon pollution, starting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires a 30% reduction in power plant emissions by 2030. Senator Mark Kirk’s support of that plan is critical, advocates said today.
“We need leaders like Senator Kirk to back dramatic cuts in pollution, starting with the Clean Power Plan, so that we don’t pass down a more dangerous climate to the next generation,” concluded Konowitz.
Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentIllinoiscenter.org