There is mounting evidence that human activities -- particularly the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas -- have led to the buildup of heat-retaining greenhouse gases including a rise in global CO2 concentrations from a pre-industrial level of 280 ppm to a current level of 396 ppm. This, in turn, has contributed to a warming of the earth's oceans and atmosphere, glacier melting, sea level rise and other changes in climate (for more information go to EPA and Climate Change.
. . and the Mid-Atlantic Region
The Mid-Atlantic Region is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. While the region's contribution to the problem is roughly comparable to its population (the region has 9.7 percent of the nation's population and contributes 10.5 percent of its CO2 emissions), the potential impact of rising sea levels on the region is likely to be greater than average. Not only does the region include many coastal areas, numerous cities on coasts and waterways (including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis), two major estuaries (the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays), and numerous barrier islands impacted by rising sea levels, but the relative rates sea-level rise in the Mid-Atlantic Region are much higher than most other coastal areas and are nearly twice the global rate of 1.7 (±0.5) mm per year.
Just as the region is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, so have governments and organizations in the region been involved in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A number of states are participants in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the country's first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, most state and local governments have developed plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and have been developing innovative policies to provide increased energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.
To contact people with more detailed information regarding climate change issues see the EPA Regional Climate Change Contacts page.