The impacts of climate change are being felt around the world, but the effects look different depending on where people are.
Delawareans can test their knowledge of climate change’s impacts in the state by taking a quick, interactive quiz developed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as a way to recognize and celebrate Earth Day 2021.
In June 2017, Gov. John Carney announced Delaware had joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
“Climate change is a very real threat to our future,” Carney said at the time.
A key component of the Paris Agreement is for nations to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which have increased dramatically since the industrial revolution. In particular, the burning of coal, natural gas and oil for energy and heat has raised atmospheric carbon dioxide to record levels, according to a 2020 NASA report, Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming.
The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy has several energy-related programs designed to help businesses and residents become more energy efficient as a way to reduce emissions. Additional programs provide incentives for alternative-fuel vehicles. And in February, Carney signed legislation that increased Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, mandating that 40 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2035.
In conjunction with these efforts, Delaware has been working for more than a decade to address the impacts of climate change the state is already witnessing, and preparing for future impacts.
The Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, created in 2010, issued a series of reports, Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide, on how the state could prepare for rising sea levels. Other resources include reports on preparing a climate-ready workforce, climate mitigation and adaption planning, and avoiding or minimizing risks of flood damage.
Residents agree that the state needs to take action. In a 2019 survey, 56 percent said they had personally experienced the impacts of climate change, and 70 percent said the state needs to take action to address it.
Delaware is also in the process of developing a Climate Action Plan. Due to be released in the coming months, the plan provides a roadmap for strategies the state could take to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize its resilience to the impacts residents are already experiencing, and which are projected to get worse.
Everyone plays a role in addressing the causes and consequences of climate change in Delaware. Take the quiz at delawarednrec.outgrow.us/climate-expert, then take a few moments to explore what the state has done and the path Delaware will need to follow to ensure a bright future for its citizens in generations to come.