By WES VENTEICHER | Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 7:36 p.m.
Climate change is impacting life in Pennsylvania, and its effects will become increasingly obvious as the century progresses, former vice president Al Gore told a room of 1,300 people at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Gore tucked state-specific stats into a two-hour presentation peppered with images of melting roads, collapsing glaciers, flooded cities and other dramatic weather events scientists have linked to climate change.
The presentation was part of a Climate Reality Leadership Corps meeting, the 36th in a series in which Gore trains attendees to advocate for changes that could help slow global warming.
The warming, linked to greenhouse gases that linger in Earth’s atmosphere and impede the planet’s release of heat, could raise Pennsylvania’s average temperatures by 5.4 degrees by 2050 if emissions continue at present rates, Gore told the crowd.
With higher temperatures come more days when extreme heat can be linked to deaths, he said.
Pittsburgh, which recorded five so-called “excessive heat events” per year from 1975 to 1995, could experience 45 of them per year between 2020 and 2029, Gore said, and even more toward the end of the century.
The presentation drew on parts of Gore’s new documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” a follow-up to his 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Gore referenced a July 28-29 rainstorm that dropped 3 to 5 inches of rain in 24 hours around Pittsburgh.
“Every storm is different now,” Gore said.
Not everyone who attended was impressed with the figures. William Northy, 68, of Moon Township said he stopped in for the presentation since he had to be in Pittsburgh anyway for a doctor’s appointment. “I think it’s overly hyped,” said Northy, a retired airline pilot. He said he was skeptical of the barrage of statistics Gore presented. While he believes the climate is changing, he doesn’t believe humans’ contributions are very significant. “Every time you belch or fart, it affects the climate in a minuscule way,” he said, adding that he feels there are few “tangible” things people can do to change the trends.