Canada's failure to fight climate change 'disturbing,' environment watchdog says

Mindy Sparks
April 2, 2019

Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Northern Canada heating up at nearly three times the global average, according to a new government report.

"It's important to recognize that additional warming is unavoidable and associated changes in climate will be experienced", Elizabeth Bush, climate science adviser with Environment Canada's climate research division, told reporters during a briefing on the report.

At stake is just how bad that warming gets, said several scientists presenting the Canada's Changing Climate Report in Ottawa Monday.

In northern Canada alone, the annual average temperature has increased by 2.3 degrees Celsius since 1948.

"While both human activities and natural variations in the climate have contributed to the observed warming in Canada, the human factor is dominant".

Canada's climate will see temperature increases at double the global average, which is predicted to have drastic effects on the country's oceans and landscape unless urgent action is taken, scientists are warning in a dire federal report released this afternoon.

According to Nancy Hamzawi assistant deputy minister for science and technology at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told reporters on Monday, the report is evidence that "the science is clear - Canada's climate is warming more rapidly than the global average, and this level of warming effectively can not be changed".

The report says the national annual average temperature increase projected for the late century, compared to the reference period of 1986-2005, ranges from a "low-emission scenario" of 1.8 C to a "high-emission scenario" of 6.3 C.

"Scenarios with limited warming will only occur if Canada and the rest of the world reduce carbon emissions to near zero early in the second half of the century and reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases substantially". More rain and less snow could have a significant impact on the availability of fresh water in parts of the country, particularly in the summer, the report notes.

More intense rainfalls could increase the risk for urban floods, the report adds, while glaciers across the mountains of western Canada could lose 74 to 96 percent of their volume by the end of the 21st century.

Over the last 30 years, the amount of snow-covered land has decreased in Canada.

The authors' observations show that annual precipitation has increased across Canada since 1948, with larger increases in Northern Canada and parts of Manitoba, Ontario, northern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. But the United Nations suggests Canada needs to cut emissions even more to prevent the worst climate-change impacts.

If the world keeps emitting at the same rate, most parts of Canada will see increases of between 7C and 9C, with the far reaches of the Arctic seeing temperature changes in excess of 11 C.

The projected impacts for humans and animals are grim: more heat waves, coastal and flash flooding, droughts and wildfires are expected, along with greater risks for certain ice and marine species.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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