Climate change, Global warming, and Canada

Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world. When federal scientists and academics are warning that Canada’s climate is warming rapidly and faster than the global average, they point to what is happening to Canada’s fast-melting glaciers, ice sheets, bays, and shores.

By Max Singh

In 2019, officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada presented the first study of its kind, titled Canada’s Changing Climate Report. The CCCR report is the first in an essential series of stories aimed at informing policy decisions and increasing public awareness and understanding of Canada’s changing climate. The conclusion? Canada must review and act on its climate change policy along with the rest of the world as the globe gets hotter through higher human-sourced carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels.

The effect of climate change for Canada.

Chris Derksen, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said that the changing climate had meant extreme heat and less extreme cold. Then it will lead to the rapidly thinning glaciers and warming and thawing of permafrost and rising sea levels in Canada’s coastal regions. “The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future,” Mr. Derksen said.

The report also says that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and that Northern Canada is warming even more quickly, at nearly three times the global standard. Nancy Hamzawi, the assistant deputy minister of the science and technology branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada, said “the science is clear, global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity will largely determine how much more warming Canada and the world will experience in the future,”

The world has warmed by 0.8°C since pre-industrial times, according to NASA, the MET, Japan’s Meteorological Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and indicate that even hotter years since 2014’s record-breaking temperatures ae forecast.

The science is clear. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity will largely determine how much more warming Canada and the world will experience in the future.” Nancy Hamzawi, Environment and Climate Change Canada

 

What the world must do to stop climate change 

Under the 2015 Paris accord treaty to which Canada is a signatory, countries agreed to limit the average global temperature increase to well below two degrees, with a goal of no more than 1.5 degrees. Last fall, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the goal is still achievable. But it would require an unprecedented political commitment to limit the use of coal, oil, and natural gas—to deploy technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rapidly. The IPCC has said the world is currently on track to see between 2.7 and 3.4 degrees of warming. Tellingly, US President Donald Trump has ignored the scientific proof of global warming and has pulled out of the Paris accord, to the dismay of both American and other global climate change experts.

The Canadian government has tried to act on climate change, imposing a federal carbon tax initiated in provinces that lack provincial carbon pricing plans, including New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. It has not proved popular in some regions, especially in Alberta, where the provincial government has threatened to remove the carbon tax levy, an essential part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policy. The carbon tax now remains subject to court challenges and is deeply opposed by some provincial premiers as well as federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has vowed to fight it should he become Prime Minister. Climate change had been one of the major issues during the recent Canadian federal election.

Climate Change Is Bad for Our Health 

Climate change impacts human health in countless ways, the significant risks as temperatures climb around the globe are the fact certain populations are more at risk from the impacts of heatwaves than others, including the elderly, children, and the poor.

Pollution from burning fossil fuels also impacts air quality, mainly linked to significant wildfires, as seen in British Columbia and Alberta in recent years. Wildfire smoke carries fine particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs. Exposure can cause burning eyes, heart and lung diseases, and even death.

As climate change means a warmer planet, the increase of vector-borne diseases spread by insects or arachnids like mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and ticks are likely to happen. Lyme disease and West Nile or Zika viruses are all carried by insects that migrate to new warmer regions.

Extreme weather has also been linked to climate change, as hurricanes, storms, and floods increase and become more powerful. As the world warms, the rate of evaporation from oceans seems to be increasing, powering ever-stronger storms as hurricanes and typhoons use warm, moist air as fuel, wreaking devastation on coastal and inland communities

As climate change leads to more droughts, floods, and extreme weather, it also impacts food supply as farmers see harvests destroyed or washed away. Scientific research has revealed high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere that can affect typically nutritious foods, speeding up photosynthesis, so plants are producing more and more carbohydrates, instead of precious minerals, vitamins, and proteins. Seasonal shifts, extreme weather conditions, change in precipitation patterns caused by climate change have impacted farming and agriculture, a source of food, and livelihood for more than half of the global population.

 Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage environmental activist, has gained international recognition recently. Thunberg first became known in 2018 when, at age 15, she staged a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament with a simple sign calling for stronger action on global warming.

It takes a teenager to make us rethink climate change 

Climate change might seem too huge or too abstract a challenge, but real impact i– Greenpeace and other environmental groups have been beating the drum on climate change for years. But now, a new voice has emerged to sound the alarm. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage environmental activist, has gained international recognition recently. Thunberg first became known in 2018 when, at age 15, she staged a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament with a simple sign calling for stronger action on global warming. Soon Thunberg’s protest led to other students to engage in a national, and then international series of protests. After Thunberg, aged only 16 addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were dozens of coordinated multi-city protests involving up to a million people.

In October 2019, a crowd of about 4,000 people of all ages packed the Edmonton legislature grounds to hear Thunberg speak on the need to urge politicians and corporations to take positive steps on climate change. The rock star activist has now inspired millions to March and protest as she travels the world, spreading the message for governments to act now for the future of the young.

Activate, agitate and organize 

Groups such as Extinction Rebellion, along with other organizations, have also staged protest against the lack of action for climate change in Canada, blocking bridges and roads, to bring attention to the issue. As the world increasingly realizes the impact of climate change, we should all stay informed on what our government is doing to fight climate change and share in the concern. We need to activate, agitate, and organize and remember that climate change affects us all.

Source for facts/reports: WWF. Government of Canada, Environment, and Climate Change Canada. StatsCan. Global World Report and Greenpeace.

 

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