Helping Solve the Climate Crisis: Winchester's Approach
Climate change can can be hard to think about - its causes and solutions often seem complex. But Winchester's approach to climate change can be explained in a straightforward way:
- THE CAUSE: We are causing climate change by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, which release carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
- THE SOLUTION: We need to stop making climate change worse, by getting our energy from renewable sources like wind and solar.
- A RESILIENT COMMUNITY: While we work on the solution, we also need to prepare for some changes to our climate, which are now inevitable due to the burning of fossil fuels in the past. We can ensure Winchester remains a resilient and thriving community.
THE SOLUTION: SWITCH FROM FOSSIL FUELS TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
As noted above, Winchester can be part of the solution to climate change by putting an end to fossil fuel use. This is how we will accomplish that goal:
- Make buildings energy efficient
- Electrify everything - buildings and transportation
- Use only renewable electricity to power everything.
The more we reduce the burning of fossil fuels to heat our buildings and fuel our vehicles, and the more electricity we use from renewable sources like wind and solar, the lower our carbon pollution will be. We must work to make our buildings well-insulated so they are highly efficient, and then heat and cool them with electric heat pumps. We must encourage walking and bicycling, but also purchase electric vehicles. Finally, we must power our all-electric buildings and vehicles with renewable electricity, both from within and outside of Winchester. If we can do those things, we will eliminate Winchester's contribution to climate change. The rest of this website suggests specific ways we can all do our part to achieve the three goals listed above.
A RESILIENT COMMUNITY
We must work hard to end the fossil fuel use that is causing climate change. However, due to the ability of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to remain in the atmosphere for decades, the past burning of fossil fuels means that some amount of climate change is now inevitable. We must prepare ourselves for the impacts of that climate change.
The expected impacts of climate change in Winchester are as follows:
- Heat and Drought
- Intense Storms
- Vector-Borne Diseases.
Climate change is not just a future challenge - it is already here. Heat waves are getting more intense, and winters are getting milder overall but are punctuated by periods of frigid cold. The whole region is increasingly being whipsawed between more intense storms (often with extreme rainfall and flooding), and periods of extended drought. Milder winters are resulting in an increase in vector-borne diseases like Lyme and Babesiosis (caused by ticks) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, caused by mosquitos. The impacts of climate change are already being felt, and those impacts will increase in severity in the coming years and decades.
The good news is that there are ways to address the impacts of climate change that will ensure Winchester remains a resilient, thriving community. We can mitigate increased heat by planting more trees, which shade and cool homes and entire neighborhoods. We can make sure everyone has access to air conditioning at home and cooling centers in the community. We can reduce flooding by helping more rainfall infiltrate into the ground instead of along streets. And we can provide effective educational programs and resources about ways to prevent vector-borne diseases. The menu item Preparing for a Changing Climate, at left, contains more information about these and other ways we can prepare now to remain a resilient community in the future.