PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Examining the reasons behind changes in our climate and finding solutions was the focus of a Climate Action Summit in Pittsburgh.
The summit — hosted by p4 Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments and Sustainable Pittsburgh — was at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Wednesday.
Scientists say climate change has caused the planet to warm significantly over the last 100 years.
Specifically, Western Pennsylvania has warmed nearly 2 degrees in the last century.
Scientists described climate change as a threat magnifier, making storms and events — like the California wildfires — more severe.
“We say, ‘Yeah, climate changed caused that,'” Dr. Raymond Najjar, Professor of Oceanography at Penn State said. “But we can say climate change made it worse.”
Researchers say it’s human drivers — like the greenhouse effect and increased land use — that are the biggest contributors to the increased temperatures on Earth.
And if these practices continue, the summers will be drier and the winters will be wetter.
“We’re at a moment where science is pointing to the need for immediate action if we’re going to address the issue of climate change in time for the planet to reasonably adjust to the changes that are coming, no matter what, at this point,” said Grant Oliphant, President of The Heinz Endowments.
Sponsors of the summit say Pittsburgh is a prime location to start.
“Pittsburgh is a center of innovation and technology. … And we also have serious issues to manage in terms of how we approach those issues,” Oliphant added.
Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto agrees and opposes businesses that contribute to the human drivers leading climate change.
“Let me be the first politician to say publicly, I oppose any petrochemical companies coming to Western PA,” Peduto said.