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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Action On Climate Change - The New Frontier?

by Doug Harvey

When it comes to substantial action on Climate Change in Canada or even any place in the world, there seems to be a reluctance to let go of the tried and true formula of capitalism, unless faced with the undeniable proof that our climate is changing.

Our climate is changing and there is overwhelming scientific evidence that accelerated climate change is happening and being caused by human activities. Simple everyday human activities such as our use of fossil fuels to run our vehicles, heat our homes, and power our industries, fuels that all produce greenhouse gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere like a blanket, trapping heat and raising global temperatures.

Part of the climate change challenge is that even if significant reductions in emissions were put in place tomorrow, past emissions would continue to affect the climate for several decades to come. Adapting to climate change is therefore an essential part of ensuring our communities remain safe and sustainable.

Affecting change in our everyday living will be a measure of our success in adapting to the issues of Climate Change and our only hope for success can only be accomplished by taking the first step into this "New Frontier". The following is an example of actions taken by the Government of Prince Edward Island because of Climate Change.

Our Changing Climate

Source: Government of Prince Edward Island

What is the climate of Prince Edward Island?

Prince Edward Island has a mild maritime climate, strongly influenced by the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Each year, the Island gets about 890 mm of rain and 290 cm of snow. The average temperature is -7 °C (19 °F) in January and 19 °C (67 °F) in July.

Is our climate changing?

Yes, temperatures are about 0.5 °C warmer than they were 100 years ago. Most of this increase is happening in the winter. Prince Edward Island has also been drier in recent years, with less rain and snow falling. Sea level has risen by 30 cm since 1911.

What will our climate be in the future?

We can't say for certain what PEI's future climate will look like, but some reasonable descriptions or models have been developed. These are called climate scenarios. Using the scenarios, we can plan to maximize any benefits, and minimize any negative impacts, that climate change may bring.

Based on the latest climate scenarios (from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment and the UPEI Climate Lab), over the next 40 years we can expect:

Warmer Temperatures: Warmer weather is on the way. Temperatures are expected to be, on average, 1.6 °C warmer by the 2050s.

More Rain and Less Snow: It is likely that this rain and snow will fall less often than it does now. This means that on those days when it does come—we may experience heavy rainfall or snow rather than smaller accumulations over many days. Annual total precipitation (rain, snow, sleet) is expected to decrease, on average, by 6% by the 2020s, making it drier and more susceptible to drought conditions. Models show precipitation returning to today's normal by the 2080s.

Rising Seas: Sea level will continue to rise. A recent hazard assessment for the Charlottetown waterfront suggested a sea level rise scenario of 73 cm by 2090. Storm surges are expected to reach farther inland, resulting in more frequent coastal flooding.

Less Sea Ice: The Gulf of St. Lawrence is expected to be almost completely ice free by 2100. As sea ice levels decrease over the coming years, and as sea level continues to rise, PEI is expected to experience increased rates of coastal erosion. The video "PEI: Life on a sinking island" is provided to show the crude reality that people face along the Canada's' coastal shores.

The following links offer further evidence that our climate is changing!

NASA Global Climate Change - Vital Signs of the Planet

PEI: Life on a sinking island

Toronto and Climate Change

Wind Power on the Prairies

Renewables in the heart of the Tar Sands

Vancouver - Greenest City in the World

Climate change challenges sinking city of Venice

The reality of climate change | David Puttnam | TEDxDublin

Causes and Effects of Climate Change | National Geographic

Climate change: what to expect and are there really two sides? | Ask Bob

Last Updated: Tuesday, 08 October 2019 12:51:08 PM EST

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