Search for "Climate Change"

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Earth Has Warmest June Ever Recorded

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been monitoring the weather and recording temperatures since 1880, announced that the global temperature in June 2019 averaged 15.9˚C, beating out June 2016 as the hottest on record. Regional temperature records for June were also set in Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and South America. “Earth is running a fever that won't break thanks to climate change,” reported North Carolina state climatologist Kathie Dello. “This won’t be the last record warm summer month that we will see.”

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Scientists Say Canada’s Warming Is Twice the Global Rate and Is “Effectively Irreversible”

A report issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada that was based on the work of more than 40 scientists concluded that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Canada’s average temperature is 1.7°C higher than it was 70 years ago, while average temperature during winter is 3.3°C higher, and average temperature in the Arctic is 2.3°C higher. The report stated that the effects of climate change are “effectively irreversible” and will last for “centuries.”

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Arctic Ocean Will Be Ice-Free in 50 Years, Study Warns

In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers at the University of California concluded that if global carbon emissions maintain their current pace, the Arctic Ocean will be almost entirely ice-free at least part of every year by sometime between 2044 and 2067. Currently, Arctic ice covers about 4.5 million km2 at its lowest amount each September — a sharp reduction from the historic level of around 6 million km2. The study predicts that 50 years from now, ice will only cover about 1 million km2 of the Arctic Ocean, mostly close to land, leaving the open ocean virtually ice-free. (See also: Climate Change; Endangered Arctic Animals.)

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Climate Change

Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.

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Inuit Group Releases Climate Change Adaptation Plan

The organization Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami released a 48-page plan for adapting to a changing climate in the Arctic, which is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet. “Inuit have decided we are going to seek a partnership with the Government of Canada and start to adapt any way we can through coordinated action,” said Natan Obed, the head of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The plan calls for improvements to infrastructure threatened by thawing permafrost, increased spending on transportation, improvements to telecommunications and the incorporation of traditional Inuit knowledge in building codes and practices.

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Invasive Species in Canada: Animals

Invasive species are any species that have, primarily with human help, become established in a new ecosystem. While it’s impossible to say exactly how many invasive species are living in Canada, in 2002 researchers estimated that at least 1,442 invasive species — including fish, plants, insects and invertebrates — now live in the country’s farmlands, forests and waterways. The complex environmental impacts of so many invasive species is unknown and, maybe, unknowable. Typically, non-natives are feared for their ability to reproduce much faster than native species and outcompete natives for food, habitat and other resources. Economically, invasive species are estimated to cost Canadians billions of dollars each year in lost revenue from natural resources and impacts on ecosystem services.

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UN Warns of Impending Climate Change Tipping Point

A report issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that for climate change to be kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, greenhouse gas emissions would need to be reduced at least 45 per cent (of 2010 emissions levels) by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. Otherwise, the most dire “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth” may not be avoided. 

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Invasive Species in Canada: Plants

Invasive species are any species that have, primarily with human help, become established in a new ecosystem. While it’s impossible to say exactly how many invasive species are living in Canada, in 2002 researchers estimated that at least 1,442 invasive species — including fish, plants, insects and invertebrates — now live in the country’s farmlands, forests and waterways. The complex environmental impacts of so many invasive species is unknown and, maybe, unknowable. Typically, non-natives are feared for their ability to reproduce much faster than native species and outcompete natives for food, habitat and other resources. Economically, invasives are estimated to cost Canadians billions of dollars each year in lost revenue from natural resources and impacts on ecosystem services.

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Growth in Canada’s Clean Energy Sector Outpacing Rest of Economy, Study Finds

A study conducted by Clean Energy Canada, a think tank at Simon Fraser University, found that the clean energy sector represented about 3 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2017. Between 2010 and 2017, it grew at a rate of around 5 per cent annually, compared to 3.6 per cent growth in the overall economy. The number of jobs in the sector increased by 2.2 per cent per year from 2010 to 2017, compared to 1.4 per cent for total jobs in Canada.

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BC Declares State of Emergency due to Forest Fires

A province-wide state of emergency was issued after 566 forest fires across the province forced more than 3,000 people to evacuate their homes. The federal government deployed 220 Armed Forces personnel, two helicopters and an airplane to assist  3,372 firefighters already on the ground. By the end of August, more than 12,984 sq. km had burned, making 2018 the worst forest fire season in BC history.

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Muskeg

Muskeg (from Cree maskek and Ojibwe mashkiig, meaning “grassy bog”) is a type of northern landscape characterized by a wet environment, vegetation and peat deposits. Chiefly used in North America, the term muskeg escapes precise scientific definition. It encompasses various types of wetlands found in the boreal zone, including bogs, fens, swamps and mires. In Canada, muskeg and other peatlands cover up to 1.2 million km2, or 12 per cent of the country’s surface.

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Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL is a 1,897 km long crude oil pipeline project. It is owned by Calgary-based TC Energy. The pipeline is named XL for “export limited.” First proposed in July 2008, it is the fourth phase of TC Energy’s existing Keystone Pipeline system. Keystone XL has federal approval on both sides of the Canada-US border, but a Montana judge has ordered a more thorough environmental assessment before construction can begin.

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Ottawa Declares Climate Emergency and Green-lights Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

The Trudeau government passed a motion in the House of Commons declaring “that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement.” The next day, 18 June, the government announced it had given a second green light to expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline. The first green light had been rejected by the Federal Court of Appeal for failing to properly consult with Indigenous peoples. The two announcements were widely criticized for being contradictory and at odds with each other.

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Coal in Canada

Coal is a fossil fuel that has been used as a source of energy in Canada since the 18th century. Canada is home to 0.6 per cent of the world’s coal resources. Most of the country’s coal reserves (over 95 per cent) are found in AlbertaBritish Columbia and Saskatchewan. In recent years, the environmental movement has opposed the coal industry for disrupting local ecosystems, creating adverse health effects and for its large contribution to the carbon-dioxide emissions that drive climate change. In an effort to curb harmful emissions, the federal government has signalled its intention to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030, and Alberta has a plan to achieve the same goal as a province.

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Statistics

Statistics is the science concerned with the collection and analysis of numerical information to answer questions wisely. The term also refers to the numerical information that has been collected. Statistics has many applications in Canada, from government censuses and surveys, to decision making in industry, to medical research and technological innovation.

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Solar Energy

The energy contained in sunlight is the source of life on Earth. Humans can harness it to generate power for our activities without producing harmful pollutants. There are many methods of converting solar energy into more readily usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity. The technologies we use to convert solar energy have a relatively small impact on the environment. However, they each have disadvantages that have kept them from being widely adopted.

In Canada, the use of solar energy to generate electricity and heat is growing quickly and is helping reduce pollution related to energy production. Despite Canada’s cold climate and high latitudes (which get less direct sunlight than mid-latitudes), solar power technologies are used in many places, from household rooftops to large power plants. The Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) expects solar power to make up 3 per cent of Canada’s total electricity generation capacity by 2040.

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Andrew Weaver

Andrew John Weaver, OBC, FRSC, leader of the BC Green Party 2015–present, climate scientist (born 16 November 1961 in Victoria, BC). Andrew Weaver is a leading climate change researcher who has made historic gains for the Green Party of British Columbia in his second career as a politician. In 2013, he was elected the province’s first Green MLA. In 2017, he led the Greens to three seats. After the 2017 election, he engineered a power-sharing deal with the BC New Democratic Party and toppled the Liberal government of Christy Clark to help John Horgan become premier.