“The reality is that if we don’t act, we’re going to see even more severe impacts…. the longer term projections under a high-emissions scenario are very severe,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, on CBC’s The National after the release of Canada’s Changing Climate Report.
Twice As Bad In Canada
To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time. Well, Canada has a plan: the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change. And we certainly don’t have time to waste.
The report on climate change in Canada is “beyond grim” and should inspire “naked fear”, says Neil MacDonald in his CBC Opinion piece.
Highlights from the Headline Statements:
- Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human influence.
- Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming.
- Oceans surrounding Canada have warmed, become more acidic, and less oxygenated, consistent with observed global ocean changes over the past century.
- The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future.
- Precipitation is projected to increase for most of Canada, on average, although summer rainfall may decrease in some areas.
- The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing, with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.
- A warmer climate will intensify some weather extremes in the future.
- Canadian areas of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans have experienced longer and more widespread sea-ice-free conditions.
- Coastal flooding is expected to increase in many areas of Canada due to local sea level rise.
- The rate and magnitude of climate change under high versus low emission scenarios project two very different futures for Canada.
“The main takeaway: if climate change worldwide is much more frightening and immediate than we all thought, as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported six months ago, it’s at least twice as bad in Canada,” writes MacDonald.
Report Comes Hard on the Heels of Bad News
The climate news keeps getting worse and climate policies around the globe lack the ambition and the scope to meet the world’s commitment to Paris Agreement targets. The IPCC warnings and the growing emissions gap can no longer be avoided:
- The IPCC Global Warming of 1.5°C Report delivered to the world in October 2018 cannot be ignored. It warns that earth has already warmed by 1°C and will reach 1.5°C by 2050. The IPCC notes that we have less than 12 years to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C to avert devastating and irreversible climate change. To do so will require a massive reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions−45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and down to zero by 2050. For more info, see 37 things to know about IPCC’s 1.5°C report in The Energy Mix.
- Our world has just set a new carbon dioxide record of 411.66 ppm at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii. And this rise is speeding up toward critical and permanent tipping points.
- A rise of CO2 emissions of 1.7% in 2018 was recently reported by the International Energy Agency. “We are in deep trouble,” said Stanford University Earth system scientist Rob Jackson. “The climate consequences are catastrophic…we are headed for disaster, and nobody seems to be able to slow things down.”
Time to Be Bold
A few weeks ago I attended a climate town hall meeting held by Minister McKenna in her Ottawa riding. During her slide presentation, she showed extreme weather-related events− floods, wildfires, heatwaves−and lightly apologized that she didn’t mean to scare us. During the question period, I pointed out that Canadians need to hear the truth about climate change. We need to be less “polite”, less “Canadian”, and expose the brutal reality of our climate-compromised future. We must know the facts, and we must be scared enough to be compelled to act.
We must deal with climate as if it’s a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. Cancer requires immediate and drastic measures to effect a cure. Similarly, half measures and unambitious climate policies will not cure the existential threat of climate change. We need solutions that will match the scale of the climate crisis. It’s time to be bold and unapologetic. What will it take to jolt us out of our complacency?
I Want You To Panic
Students in Canada and around the world are striking for climate by the millions. The’re telling their parents, politicians, world leaders, anyone who will listen, that they don’t want their future taken away from them. THEY WANT ACTION, NOW.
I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do. Every day. And want you to act. I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is. ~ Greta Thunberg
And in Canada, its Twice. As. Bad.
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