David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, states about the extreme weather effects of climate change in Canada:
“I tell people, think of the warmest summer you’ve ever experienced: it could be this one, it could be the one in 2005 or 1998 … in 50 years that’ll be the coldest summer.”
and according to Environment Canada:
“Future warming will be accompanied by other changes, including the amount and distribution of rain, snow, and ice and the risk of extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy rainfalls and related flooding, dry spells and/or droughts, and forest fires,” it continues.
Many of us have become increasingly concerned about the lip-service that Canadian governments are paying to these predictions.
Although it is important to spend resources on adaptation, it is not possible to adapt to global temperature increases of 4 degrees C or more.
We have calculated that, for Canada to act in accordance with our Paris Agreement to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees, our reduction in emissions must be at least 49% by 2020 and 100% by 2025. Our present targets will exceed the limit for a 3 degree increase in global temperatures and will not reach zero until 2060.
Canada is not on track to meet the Pan-Canadian targets. More important, these targets are far from sufficient to meet our Paris Agreement pledge of keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 2 degrees C. According to scientists there is a maximum amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which the atmosphere can hold if we want to avoid this. This maximum amount of CO2 is known as the carbon budget and has to be shared among all areas of the globe.
The fairest way of sharing this budget is on a per-capita basis (population-based). It is impossible for Canada to meet this population-based share of the global carbon budget for 2 degrees C. The chart illustrates different targets for different maximum temperatures and it is clear that we are on target to exceed the budget for 3 degrees C. (Click here for an explanation of the chart.)
The gap between our targets and our commitments is enormous. It makes a mockery of the Trudeau government's claim to be climate-friendly. They claim to be able to balance the economy and the climate; this is not possible.
A recent report by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (pdf) states that 'declining carbon emissions after 2020 is a necessity for meeting the Paris temperature limit of “well below 2 degrees”.'
It is essential that Canada do its share to prevent a climate crisis.