April’s snow and freezing rain, on top of several months of seemingly erratic weather, is a reminder that climate change is not a future scenario but a current reality.
Last week the federal government released a report, Canada in a Changing Climate. The report gathers the science on the effects of climate change in Canada, and sets out what is expected to happen with and without significant climate action.
One of the report’s main findings: Canada’s climate is warming more than twice as fast as the global average, due to a complexity of factors.
With climate change, we’ll continue to experience increased weather extremes and their effects: hotter temperatures, higher likelihood of high precipitation, flooding, changes to snow and ice cover, and risk of freshwater shortages, to name a few.
The report indicates that the degree to which we will experience these changes depends on how much and how fast we act.
For example, in Ontario, if greenhouse gas emissions are kept relatively low, the number of days over 30 degrees Celsius will increase by four in the latter part of this century. If emissions are high, the number of 30+ degree days is projected to increase by 38. The lower emissions scenario requires “rapid and deep emission reductions.”
Making those reductions requires concerted effort at all levels: individual, local, national and international. It’s daunting, but here’s a place to start:
- The City of Ottawa has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience, but translating that commitment to planning, action and funding has not been fast or deep enough. Ottawa City Council’s Environment Committee is expected to vote on a motion on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 to declare a climate emergency, with the aim of prompting action. Ecology Ottawa is encouraging people to call their City Councillors before April 16 to ask them to support the motion.
- Ecology Ottawa is also encouraging people to attend the Environment Committee meeting on April 16 at 9:30 a.m., and is holding a rally outside City Hall at 8:30 a.m. for people to show support for the motion and urgent climate action.
- Future Rising Ottawa is holding a gathering on Parliament Hill on Friday, April 12, 2019 from 12-1 p.m. to call for federal climate action.
- Fridays for Future Ottawa is organizing a national climate strike on Parliament Hill on May 3, 2019 for students and supporters of action on climate change.
Everyone is welcome to follow and contribute perspectives to the federal Canada in a Changing Climate initiative.