A Massachusetts environmental group today released a report on Thursday outlining how global warming could lead to greater frequency of extreme weather events across the country.
Representatives from the organization Environment Massachusetts gathered in Holyoke to talk about the report and to present an interactive map using data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They document which counties and how many people were hardest hit by 2011 weather-related disasters, including the June tornadoes, Hurricane Irene, and the October snowstorm. MacKenzie Clark is a field associate with Environment Massachusetts.
"Millions of people in Massachusetts have lived through extreme weather, causing extremely big problems for our economy and our public safety. And given that global warming will likely fuel even more of these extreme weather events, we need to cut dangerous carbon pollution now."
The reports says the major weather events of the past year are giving New Englanders a taste of what global warming may bring to the area in the coming decades.
Holyoke resident Ramiro Davaro-Comas saw it first hand. He manages several community gardens and a farm in the city. He says CuentaConMigo, a community garden near the downtown, usually grows peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables all summer long. But he says last summer, Hurricane Irene nearly destroyed it.
"We had a pretty devastating year with all of our projects. We suffered 90 percent loss of all the produce that we have on our farm and our community gardens also got affected. We lost a lot of produce that goes to all the farmers' markets out here and that really feeds a lot of people with good natural vegetables."
The report is being released as Massachusetts officials consider ways to improve the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, the first-in-the-nation cap on the carbon pollution that fuels global warming.
Here is a link to the full report: http://www.environmentmassachusetts.org/reports/mae/path-storm