Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sorry Steve But You Couldn't Keep this Quiet Forever

Bad news for the Petro-Pols of Parliament Hill.   Since he took over, Furious Leader, with the convenient silence of the opposition leader, has gagged the public service, locked it away in a closet to which only Stevie has a key.  Thanks to this despotic trick Harper has been able to choke off any meaningful discussion about global warming and the climate change impacts Canada is facing.   After all, it's pretty hard to support Canada as the world's filthy fossil fuel superpower when your mind is on the realities of climate change, now and yet to come.
Fortunately (for you and me that is) municipalities have been banding together to do what Canadian federal politicians won't.  32 municipalities in Canada have joined the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives and the Canadian contingent has just released a guide and a workbook to help municipal and regional authorities begin the process of preparing for climate change.  Here's the link:  http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=11710
More than anything else, the guide offers a methodology for dealing with climate change, its impacts and, yes, opportunities.   With Canada's regional diversity, east to west and north to south, each region must find its own solutions.   The goal isn't stopping global warming but finding means to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The guide notes that Canada has been undergoing climate change for the past half century: 
"On average, Canada has warmed by more than 1.3 degrees celsius since 1948, a rate of warming that is approximately twice the global average.   All regions of Canada have experienced warming however the greatest temperature increases have been in the Yukon and Northwest Territories.   Under a medium emissions scenario, Canada is expected to warm by 2 degrees celsius by 2050 and 4 degrees celsius by 2080."
Warming, however, is but one issue.   We're also in for some challenging precipitation changes.   The Prairies face the possibility of the return of mega-drought.   Some regions including southern BC and southeastern Canada will see significant increases in spring and autumn precipitation.  Water levels in much of Canada will continue to decline.   The guide notes that a one degree celsius temperature increase triggers a 7-8% increase in evaporation/transpiration rates.   Then there's sea level rise, a particular threat to the Fraser River delta where a lot of British Columbia's population resides.
The ICLEI report thanks Natural Resources Canada for their assistance but is curiously silent on Environment Canada or the federal government.   The organization plainly believes that we all have to rely on our municipal and regional authorities to carry the ball that the Petro-Pols of Parliament Hill don't want to touch.


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