How global climate change is impacting Rochester

Environment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Warmer temperatures and more precipitation are key indicators in Rochester that climate change is already impacting the city.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Monday states that global temperatures are rising and that human activities, like burning fossil fuels, are the main cause.

Abigail McHugh-Grifa, executive director of Climate Solutions Accelerator said the local impact of climate change on citizens will be staggered.

“Climate change will affect all 1.2 million residents of our nine county region, but we’re not all going to be impacted equally,” said McHugh-Grifa.

“Some people are going to be more able to respond to the climate crisis than others, and so we often talk about being an injustice accelerator.”

One of the big questions this leaves is: “How do we make sure that everyone can participate in this transition to clean energy, and that no-one is left behind?” said McHugh-Grifa.

Dr. Tony Wong, an assistant professor at RIT said Rochester is seeing an impact, but not as extreme as other locations.

“Rochester is in some ways getting off easy. There are places where sea level hazards are starting to inundate, there are areas—and it’s not just recreation that’s being affected, it’s people’s homes,” said Dr. Wong.

But, as weather events like flooding become more extreme, the city will need to adapt.

“We’ll need to think about what sorts of strategies Rochester could pursue to adapt what we have right now to make our infrastructure more resilient,” said Dr. Wong.

Frank Regan has run RochesterEnvironment.com since 1998 and has focused his website on climate change for the past 5 years.

“The reality is our planet is warming up very quickly, and it’s us. But, we still have time to change some of the worst case scenarios,” said Regan.

The IPCC is in its sixth assessment cycle and will release the final report of the cycle in 2022.

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