Blair Feltmate, one of Canada’s foremost climate scientists and Head of the Intact Center on Climate Adaptation (ICCA) was a guest on CBC’s Maritime Noon on July 26, 2018. He shared some very interesting information.
- The world has warmed about +1 Celsius over the past 100 years which does not sound like much until one considers that the difference between our current average temperature and an ice age is only five or six degrees. In 2017, global temperatures averaged .38-.48 degrees above 1981-2010 levels according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration which includes 500 scientists in 65 countries. In July 2019, temperatures in the United States averaged 1.1+ C above normal.
- Southern Ontario ‘s maximum daily temperature is currently +37 C; by 2044 it will be +44. Whereas they now have about 20 days above +30, by 2040 it will be 60-65 days. They now have about one heat wave per year; by 2040 they will have two and a half. Temperatures in the Maritime provinces will be very similar to those in Southern Ontario by that time.
- Fossil Fuel: this energy source supplies about 80% of our overall requirements globally divided about evenly among coal, natural gas and oil. This ratio is not about to change. Scientists predict that in 2035, 17 years from now, the ratio will be the same, but we will be using about 12-15% more of each. Why? Because of population growth.
- The world population is increasing by a net 11,000 people per hour, which translates into 90 million more people each year. This means that by 2035, there will be two or three billion more people on the planet. To put things in perspective, 100 years ago this year, my grandfather began working for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). At that time, there were 2.8 billion people; today we have 6.5 billion and in 20 years we will have about 10 billion.
- CO2: according to Dr. Feltmate and his colleagues, the biggest source of carbon dioxide is domestic animals and pets. They produce more CO2 than all types of transportation on the planet combined. And according to climate scientists, if we wish to get serious about reducing carbon dioxide, we must essentially eliminate meat from our diet and initiate a “significant lifestyle reduction” which includes getting rid of our pets.
- Results of keeping the status quo: entire regions of the planet will become uninhabitable due to climate change. Dr. Feltmate says that hordes of refugees will be flooding Canada and other G-8 countries; we are not prepared for this and lack the resources to facilitate such an onslaught.
- The Paris Climate Accord and follow-up meetings: according to Dr. Feltmate, this Accord is basically meaningless and not worth the paper it is written on. He bases this conclusion on the fact that most nations who signed it are doing very little to reduce CO2 emissions. The criticism does not technically apply to the U.S. which has reduced its emissions more than any of the other signatories. According to a recent study mentioned on the CBC and other news networks, the U.S. has made significant carbon dioxide reductions by converting power plants from coal to natural gas. Needless to say, this information surprised some listeners….including me.
Dr. Feltmate, who was at the Paris Climate Summit and subsequent meetings, sums up the attitude of most signatories this way, “We will pursue energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy, but we will do so at our own pace, to our own verifiable standards and at a rate that will not negatively impact our economy.” In other words, if things do improve, it will be at a slow pace.