What is climate change?
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases (GHGs) that trap heat in our atmosphere.
What are the primary sources of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing Sea level rise, Temperature rise, and Ocean acidification?
- Electricity and Heat Production (25% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Industry (21% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily involve fossil fuels burned on-site at facilities for energy. This sector also includes emissions from chemical, metallurgical, and mineral transformation processes not associated with energy consumption and emissions from waste management activities. (Note: Emissions from industrial electricity use are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)
- Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (24% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector come mostly from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. This estimate does not include the CO2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass, dead organic matter and soils, which offset approximately 20% of emissions from this sector.
- Transportation (14% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector primarily involve fossil fuels burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation. Almost all (95%) of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel.
- Buildings (6% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector arise from on-site energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes. (Note: Emissions from electricity use in buildings are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)
- Other Energy (10% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – This source of greenhouse gas emissions refers to all emissions from the energy sector which are not directly associated with electricity or heat production, such as fuel extraction, refining, processing, and transportation.
Climate Change and the Ocean
What are the primary threats to our ocean, waves, and beaches caused by human-induced climate change?
Sea level rise: Sea levels are projected to rise by at least one vertical foot in San Diego by 2035. This will result in 50-100 feet of beach loss and will be further exacerbated by high tides and more severe storms.
Temperature rise: Ocean warming, due to increasing heat-trapping Co2 is causing coral bleaching and reef die-off, thus damaging reef breaks and marine life.
Ways you can cut emissions to help our coast!
The transport we use, the food we eat, the type of energy we use, and the things we buy all have an effect on the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We need to support aggressive emissions-reductions policies (San Diego is already leading the way with the city’s Climate Action Plan!, but there are steps you can take TODAY to decrease your contribution to climate change. Challenge yourself to reduce your emissions and monitor your improvements with this carbon calculator!
Here are some quick tips to cut your emissions TODAY!
TRANSPORT: Use ocean-friendly zero emissions transport: Transport is the biggest source of emissions in San Diego County: Never drive when you can bike! Look into commuting to work by bike by checking out this interactive map, make a board rack for your bike so you don’t have to drive to the beach, and walk when the distance is short! Don’t have a bike? Check out DecoBike’s city-wide rental program!
Switch to fuel-efficient vehicle: Drive as little as possible and drive the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can afford! Carpool and combine trips whenever you can.
DIET: Eat blue: Animal agriculture makes a significant contribution to climate change, from not only the Co2 released with deforestation but from the methane and nitrous oxide (in cattle flatulence and fertilizer) that have twice the heat-trapping capacity of Co2. Reduce your emissions by eating less meat (especially red meat), choosing plant-based options when possible, limiting dairy, choosing sustainable seafood, and avoiding palm oil. Learn more here and check out this report on the relative emissions of different types of food.
HOME: Consume less energy: Dry clothes in the sun, turn off the AC, have “unplugged” tech-free days, buy a solar powered phone charger. Use renewable energy: Switch to solar panels and other alternative energy sources. Conserve water: Take short showers, use rain barrels and recycle grey water. Revamp your garden: Plant an Ocean Friendly Garden with drought-resistant species, compost waste and use permeable soil to help sequester CO2.
CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM: Consume less: We often don’t think about the emissions that go into manufacturing the products we buy, but one study found that up to 60% of our emissions come from household consumption Only buy things you need, buy secondhand whenever you can, and swap boards, wetsuits, and clothes with other people in your community. Refuse single-use products: Always bring your own cup/bag to avoid contributing waste to landfills, which are another source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Vote with your dollar: When you do make purchases, look for recycled products and choose companies that use renewable energy.
Get educated: Research politicians to make sure they take action against climate change!
Take Action! Engage with Surfrider San Diego to help STOP coastal climate change!
Connect with the STOP Coastal Climate Change committee!
Come to our next meeting! Meeting are held the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 at the Surfrider office or a local brewery. These are informal brainstorming sessions to discuss our plans for policy advocacy and outreach in the community.
Join our group on Facebook to share and discuss the latest news and events related to climate change.