New Online Factsheet Details Recent Extreme Weather in Massachusetts

For Immediate Release

Amherst, MA—After a summer in which much of Massachusetts was hit by extreme weather, Environment Massachusetts today released a new online factsheet that shows the extent of recent extreme temperatures, wildfires and heavy downpours in Massachusetts. Scientists have linked some of the increased extreme weather in recent years to global warming, and have warned that we can expect even more extreme weather in the future unless we cut emissions of the carbon pollution fueling global warming.

“This factsheet is a small glimpse into the big problems that extreme weather is causing for Massachusetts and the country as a whole,” said Johanna Neumann, Regional Director with Environment Massachusetts. “Given scientists’ warnings that recent trends in extreme weather are linked to global warming, we need to cut dangerous carbon pollution now.”

The Environment Massachusetts factsheet uses information from the National Climatic Data Center, the National Interagency Fire Center, and the recent Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center Report, “When It Rains, It Pours”.

The factsheet includes the following information:

  • Already in 2012, Massachusetts has seen 1,300 wildfires burn more than 1,000 acres of land.
  • Precipitation in the Commonwealth increased 81% from 1948 to 2011 and what had been a once-a-year storm now occurs every 6.6 months.
  • From January through July 2012, the average temperature in Boston was 53.5 degrees. That’s 3.9 degrees higher than average temperatures in the past. This was the warmest January – July in Boston in 77 years.

In order to help cut the carbon pollution that is fueling global warming, Environment Massachusetts is calling on state and federal decision makers to both clean up the largest sources of carbon pollution like power plants and vehicles, and advance clean energy solutions like wind energy, solar power and energy efficiency.

Environment Massachusetts highlighted two initiatives from the Obama administration—carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards that were recently finalized for cars and light trucks through model year 2025, and the first ever carbon pollution standards for new power plants proposed in March—as critical steps toward meeting the pollution reductions called for by scientists. Both initiatives enjoy broad public support. The final carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards were applauded by environmental groups, national security organizations, consumer groups and the automakers themselves. And more than 3.1 million Americans have commented in support of the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants. At the state level, Massachusetts officials are considering ways to improve the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first-in-the-nation cap on carbon pollution from the power sector that sells permits for carbon emissions and has led to nearly $1 billion in investments in energy efficiency and clean energy solutions in the region.

“How serious this problem gets is largely within our control – but only if we act boldly to reduce the pollution that fuels global warming,” said Neumann. “Massachusetts officials can build on the progress we have made reducing emissions by strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which has been a key part of our strategy to reduce pollution and shift to clean energy.”

The new online factsheet can be found at http://environmentmassachusetts.org/page/mae/global-warming-massachusetts