Climate Change

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

Pope Francis will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday morning, a first for a sitting pontiff.

And there’s no way he’s not going to talk about climate change, according to Gerard Magill, Gallagher Chair for the Integration of Science, Theology, Philosophy and Law at Duquesne University.

PA Climate Change Report Warns Of Hotter Summers, Destructive Storms, Floods

Aug 28, 2015
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Prepare for longer, hotter summers, more rain, more destructive storms, and bankrupt ski resorts. That’s the conclusion of a team from Penn State on what Pennsylvanians can expect from climate change.

Another Hottest Year On Record

Jul 20, 2015
Jessica Mullen / flickr


On average, 2014 was Earth's hottest year ever -- in the ocean and on land. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends. We were joined in studio by John Radzilowicz, adviser to the Science Communication Group at CMU, for a look at what's causing this trend and what can be done to slow it down or reverse it.

Jaime Dillen-Seibel / Flickr

Groups of local activists concerned about climate change took to New York City’s streets last September for the Climate Action March, and now they’re launching, an affiliate of the national

Warwick Powell, a member of the steering committee, said the group will work to raise awareness about the increase of carbon in the atmosphere.

Local Meets Global When It Comes to Fossil Fuel Divestment

Feb 12, 2015
Universal Pop / Flickr

Diplomats from all over the world are meeting in Geneva this week to draft a crucial plan to address climate change. For this reason, a worldwide fossil fuel divestment movement has marked February 13 and 14 Global Divestment Days.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A group of 50 climate activists made their way into Pittsburgh from Los Angeles Tuesday — on foot.

The Great March for Climate Action” is the brainchild of former Iowa State Representative Ed Fallon.

He said the idea came to him last February, after a discussion with environmental activist Bill McKibben about how best to address the what he calls the “climate crisis.”

“It’s not an issue; it’s a crisis,” Fallon said.

How Can We Take the Lead on Climate Change?

Sep 24, 2014
John Gillespie / Flickr

The United Nations Climate Summit took place in New York City this week. While more than 100 world leaders took part, and thousands demonstrated in the streets of NYC for the People's Climate March, it's not certain how much, if any, tangible action will be taken on a global scale, especially on the part of the United States. 

What's on Your Plate? Climate Change and Diet

Sep 2, 2014
Kara Holsopple / The Allegheny Front

Len Frenkel only has a minute to talk because he's rushing between presentations at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown campus. The North American Vegetarian Society has their annual gathering here. Frenkel’s traveled from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

He’s not just a vegetarian, he's vegan. That means he doesn’t eat meat or butter or anything made from animals. He started for animal welfare and health reasons. But now, climate change weighs heavily on Frenkel’s mind.

A team of researchers, including some from Carnegie Mellon University, have figured out a hard-to-understand pollutant called brown carbon.

A lot of attention is paid in the media to pollutants that contribute to climate change, especially to greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources. But, some sources are lesser-understood and don’t come from areas that can be regulated — namely brown carbon, which comes from smoke from wildfires.

Drawing Connections Between WWI and Climate Change

Aug 8, 2014
Imperial War Museum / Wikipedia

While there is little doubt in the scientific community that the globe is getting warmer, many countries balk over climate regulations given the perceived cost of such action.

David Titley, the director of Penn State's Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, believes there is connection between the climate battles of today and World War I, the world’s greatest danger a century ago.

Climate Change Keeps Allergy Sufferers Sneezing

Aug 6, 2014
Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

If even hearing the word “ragweed” makes your eyes water, you might be one the nearly 45 million Americans with seasonal allergies. And allergists say the number of people with sensitivities to ragweed and other plants is growing. Our series on the local impacts of climate change continues, with a look at how higher temperatures are fueling the rise in allergies and asthma.

Following the release of national reports on climate change, Allegheny County Health Department officials are examining how best to prepare for the changes they say are imminent over the coming decades.

“It’s going to change the air pollution levels, it’s going to change the pollen levels, it’s going to change insects, it’s going to change water quality,” said Jayme Graham, Air Quality Program manager at ACHD. “What do we need to know about that, and what do we need to start preparing for that?”

Tim McCabe/USDA

A national climate change study released earlier this week warns of drastically different climates in the future for the state of Pennsylvania.

The commonwealth is among a number of Northeast states expected to experience heat waves and extreme precipitation.

Cities such as New York have already begun to prepare for climate change effects by installing flood pumps in their subway systems.

John Radzilowicz, Director of Professional Development ASSET STEM education at CMU said, if we don’t start making big changes in industrial pollution policies and even simple conservation changes on a personal level, the Pennsylvania landscape will be completely different by 2050. 

Celebrating Earth Day In Pittsburgh

Apr 22, 2014


Virtual Earth Day

A virtual Earth Day party takes place this week. One of the highlights will be a new environmental music video on how consumers can save money and energy. The video even features a cameo from Mayor Peduto. We got details on the video and event from Joylette Portlock, President of Communitopia and creator of the Don't Just Sit There, Do Something About Climate Change web series.

Climate Change Not So Sweet For Maple Syrup

Apr 6, 2014
Julie Grant / The Allegheny Front

Maple trees could be in trouble in the Northeast U.S. in the coming decades. Federal climate models have predicted the region will lose most of its maples by next century. But producers don't seem worried: maple syrup prices are high, and with technology, the sap is flowing just fine.

Jason Blocher’s livelihood each year largely depends on the weather in February and March. He’s the third generation in his family to run Milroy Maple Farms in Somerset County, on Pennsylvania’s southern border, just a few miles from Maryland.

Is There a Rational Middle When it Comes to Energy Policy?

Feb 25, 2014
Rebecca Harris

How do you create compromise when it comes to the divisive issue of energy and sustainability? We discussed that question with Gregory Kallenberg, creator of the Rational Middle Energy Series, which is making a stop in Pittsburgh this week.

The series is made up of 22 films, so viewers can start at whatever level they want, learning about the basics of energy or something deeper like transportation or conservation.

Climate Change & Extreme Weather Threaten National Security

Feb 11, 2014
Ingo Meironke / flickr

Extreme weather caused by climate change concerns many for ecological and economic reasons, but policy researchers have found that the severe elements may also have an influence on national security.

The American Security Project (ASP) is a small non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. which investigates threats to national security.

Andrew Holland is a senior fellow for energy and climate policy at the ASP and explains that the effects of climate change are, in a way, threats to infrastructure much like terrorism. 

There is a direct connection between national security and climate change, according to the American Security Project (ASP), a small non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Senior flag officers from ASP are touring the country to talk about the connection between energy, environmental policy and national security. Senior fellow for energy and climate policy Andrew Holland said they will be talking to people outside of the traditional environmental groups, including businesses, veterans groups and lawmakers, about how a changing climate affects homeland security.

Brian Chan / Flickr

According to a more report conclusive from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and internationally renowned climatologist, Dr. Raymond Bradley, global temperatures have risen rapidly in the last 100 years, especially in the last 50 years. Experiments have also proven that greenhouse gases do create more heat in the atmosphere.

In addition to raising temperatures, greenhouse gases change precipitation patterns, meaning some areas that usually have heavy rainfall experience dry spells, and other areas get extremely heavy rainfall. Bradley says these effects will continue to occur more often if greenhouse gases continue to fill the atmosphere.

The theme of taking action today to combat climate change tomorrow ran rampant through Tuesday’s BlueGreen Alliance roundtable on president Obama’s recently released climate change plan. 

While the event spent very little time talking about the specifics of the president’s plan, it did offer several opinions on making sure climate control efforts also benefit the local economy.

David Bennett / Flickr

Before exploring the issue of creating green jobs in the 21st century economy, Essential Pittsburgh took the time to air some answers to environmental questions from listeners.

In response to a question on why the energy conversation won't embrace the possibility of more drastic advances in alternative energy such as nuclear fusion, James Clad, a consultant and distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University acknowledged that the energy conversation had been turned into a one note discussion on fossil fuels. 

"The energy world is defined by oil and gas and everything else is just an add on." said Clad

Wikipedia Commons

Extreme weather, greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and glacial melting; all these buzzwords have increasingly entered the public vernacular in the past 20 years. 

Following a UN report by the World Meteorological Organization, scientists expect that the topic of global warming and climate change will continue to be a hot issue.  The report, “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Extremes,” cites that the past decade has seen an abundance of greenhouse gas emissions that has caused increased temperatures on both hemispheres, all oceans and an accompanying rapid decline in arctic sea ice and glaciers. 

Director of Science at the Carnegie Science Center, John Radzilowicz, has been following the topic of global climate change and was not necessarily surprised by the UN report.  He was optimistic, however, that the report was gaining attention and combined a multitude of data pointing to the extremes in weather conditions throughout the world.

Don't Just Sit There, Do Something About Climate Change

Apr 24, 2013

Ever more people are concerned about global warming and climate change but perhaps no group more so than women, since air quality issues caused by C02 emissions can have such damaging consequences on our children (asthma), babies and unborn children (mercury poisoning). We'll talk with Joylette Portlock who has launched, a humorous and informative volley to get people to listen, and act.