The burning of fossil fuels in the energy and transportation sectors, combined with unwise land-use practices like deforestation, have led to increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations—most notably carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons.
In turn, the increased concentration of these gases over the past 250 years has caused Earth’s average temperatures to rise dramatically, especially over the past few decades.
Global climate change is a major concern because it poses serious risks to human health and it will continue to negatively affect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, especially as temperatures are projected to rise through the 21st Century. Delaware is not immune to its effects. In fact, there are strong indications that climate change is occurring in Delaware and that it is affecting the state's natural resources.
Delaware has a rich coastal environment that includes tidal flats, salt marshes, and beaches, all of which serve important ecological, recreational, and economic functions. These resources all are at substantial risk not only from continued climate change, but also from other problems such as pollution, overdevelopment, and wetlands loss, among other things.
Click on the links below to learn more about the current and potential future climate change impacts in Delaware:
Also, recognizing that continued climate change is a reality and a signficant problem that must be addressed at all levels of government, Delaware is pursuing a number of climate change initiatives and policies, including:
The Delaware Estuary is one of the largest tidal estuaries in the world, but continued climate change could threaten its diverse wildlife and marine life, along with surrounding forest and wetlands habitat.