What happens to Southern California if we don't combat climate change?

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Los Angeles in a heat wave. Photo credit: Pixabay

As leaders from around the world convene at the United Nations to talk about climate change, young people in Greater LA are also drawing attention to the problem. There are some dire predictions about its impact on Southern California, from hotter days to bigger wildfires.

“We’ve already seen significant warming in California on the order of a degree or two fahrenheit over the past century, and we’ll continue to see rising temperatures over the coming decades,” says Alex Hall, the director of the UCLA Center for Climate Science. “By mid century, we should see temperature increases on average of three to four degrees fahrenheit.”

By the end of the 21st Century, Hall says if we keep increasing greenhouse gas emissions as we have, those temperature increases will become more extreme.

“You really see Los Angeles becoming a very different place. The winters would become much more like the spring and fall, and the spring and fall we have now will become much more like summer, and our summers would become something much closer to Phoenix.”

His advice for Angelenos? 

“The first thing we have to do is acknowledge we’re part of bigger systems, and we have to get involved in politics if we want to make changes.” 

Also: bike, walk, use public transit, or go electric.

“If you look in Los Angeles, about half of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector,” says Hall. “When you make a new vehicle purchase, you need to make sure that you buy either an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. You need to make sure you’re buying a car that emits as few greenhouse gases as possible.”

Credits

Guest:
Alex Hall - UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Kathryn Barnes