Denver, CO—After a summer in which much of the state was hit by extreme weather, Environment Colorado today released a new online factsheet that shows the extent of recent extreme temperatures, wildfires and heavy downpours in Colorado. Scientists have linked some of the increased extreme weather in recent years to global warming, and have warned that we can expect even more extreme weather in the future unless we cut emissions of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.
“These factsheets are a small glimpse into the big problems that extreme weather is causing for Colorado and the country as a whole,” said Jeanne Bassett, Senior Associate, with Environment Colorado. “Given scientists’ warnings that recent trends in extreme weather are linked to global warming, we need to cut dangerous carbon pollution now.”
The Environment Colorado factsheet uses information from the National Climatic Data Center, the National Interagency Fire Center, and the recent Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center Report, “When It Rains, It Pours.”
The factsheet includes the following information:
- Already in 2012, Colorado has seen more than 1,200 wildfires burn over 230,000 acres within the state.
- Colorado experienced a 25% increase in extreme precipitation between 1948-2012, and what was a once-in-a-year storm now occurs every 9.6 months.
- From Jan.- July 2012, Colorado Springs average temperature was 54 degrees, 5.3 degrees higher than average temperatures in the past. This was the warmest Jan.-July in Colorado Springs in 64 years, and the hottest summer on record for the entire state.
In order to help cut the carbon pollution that is fueling global warming, Environment Colorado is calling on state and federal decision makers to both clean up the largest sources of carbon pollution like power plants and vehicles, and advance clean energy solutions like wind energy, solar power and energy efficiency.
Environment Colorado highlighted two initiatives from the Obama administration—carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards that were recently finalized for cars and light trucks through model year 2025, and the first ever carbon pollution standards for new power plants proposed in March—as critical steps toward meeting the pollution reductions called for by scientists. Both initiatives enjoy broad public support. The final carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards were applauded by environmental groups, national security organizations, consumer groups and the automakers themselves. And more than 3.1 million Americans have commented in support of the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants.
“How serious this problem gets is largely within our control – but only if we act boldly to reduce the pollution that fuels global warming,” said Bassett. “We applaud the Obama administration for their efforts to cut carbon pollution from vehicles and new power plants.”
The new online factsheet can be found at http://environmentcolorado.org/page/coe/global-warming-colorado. (If you're having trouble with the link, try copying the URL into your web browser.)