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Global Warming Case Study

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Introduction

"Because most global warming emissions remain in the atmosphere for decades or centuries, the choices we make today greatly influence the climate our children and grandchildren inherit. The quality of life they experience will depend on if and how rapidly California and the rest of the world reduce these emissions." In California and throughout western North America, Signs of a changing climate are evident. During the last 50 years, winter and spring temperatures have been warmer, spring snow levels in lower and mid elevation mountains have dropped, snow pack has been melting one to four weeks earlier, and flowers are blooming one to two weeks earlier. ...read more.

Middle

The state's vital resources and natural landscapes are already under increasing stress due to California's rapidly growing population, which is expected to grow from 35 million today to 55 million by 2050. Californians currently experience the worst air quality in the USA, with more than 90 percent of the population living in areas that violate the state's air quality standard for either ground-level ozone or airborne particulate matter. These pollutants can cause or aggravate a wide range of health problems including asthma and other acute respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and can decrease lung function in children. Combined, ozone and particulate matter contribute to 8,800 deaths and $71 billion in healthcare costs every year. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a striking increase over historical patterns, and almost twice the increase projected if temperatures remain within or below the lower warming range. As temperatures rise, Californians will face greater risk of death from dehydration, heat stroke/exhaustion, heart attack, stroke, and respiratory distress caused by extreme heat. By mid century, extreme heat events in urban centres such as Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino could cause two to three times more heat-related deaths than occur today. The members of the population most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat include people who are already ill; children; the elderly; As temperatures rise, Californians will face greater risk of death from dehydration, heat stroke, heart attack, and other heat related illnesses causing more cost to the government. ...read more.

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