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Climate Change

Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators. Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including, for example, extreme events.

Factors that cause climate change can be divided into two categories - those related to natural processes and those related to human activity.

The Earth's climate can be affected by natural factors that are external to the climate system, such as changes in volcanic activity, solar output, and the Earth's orbit around the Sun. However, since the Industrial Revolution, the effect of additions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere has been over 50 times that of changes in the Sun's output.

 

Climate Graphic

 

The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has led to an enhancement of the natural “greenhouse effect.”  It is this human-induced enhancement of the greenhouse effect that is of concern because ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases have the potential to warm the planet to levels that have never been experienced in the history of human civilization. Such climate change could have far-reaching and/or unpredictable environmental, social, and economic consequences. -  Environment Canada.

 

Climate Graphic

There is an opportunity for all of use to improve our environmental performance each and every day and have a positive impact on reducing the impacts of climate change. Whether it is diverting organic (food, soiled paper and yard) waste from the landfill by using your green organics cart, recycling, idling your vehicle less, using less energy and water in your home and yard, everyone can make a positive difference and be good stewards of the environment. A lot of these practices can also save you money.

Benefits to taking action against Climate Change

  • Cleaner air and water
  • Healthier plants, animals and people
  • Less disease and invasive species
  • Leaving a healthy planet for future generations
  • Recognition of cost savings through conservation, efficiency and the emergence of new technologies

Click here for more ideas about being environmentally conscious in your home, yard and in your community.

“Canada is a low emitter, especially compared to China, we shouldn’t care about our personal actions or the environment.”

Per capita Canada ranks 15 out of 17 OECD countries for GHG emissions. With the population of the Edmonton Capital region and the rest of Canada expected to grow, action needs to be taken on by all of us.

"It's freaking cold!"

A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.

“There was an ice age predicted in the 1970’s”

The vast majority of papers printed in the 1970’s predicted warming

“Climate’s Changed Before”

Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant force.

“It’s the sun”

In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions.

"Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2emissions"

The natural cycle adds and removes CO2 to keep a balance; humans add extra CO2 without removing any.

“There is no consensus”

97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming

“Models are unreliable”

Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally by land, in the air and the ocean.

“Animals and plants can adapt”

Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales

"Glaciers are growing"

Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water.

"It's not urgent"

A large amount of warming is delayed, and if we don’t act now we could pass tipping points

"Extreme weather isn't caused by global warming"

Extreme weather events are being made more frequent and worse by global warming.

"CO2 limits will harm the economy"

The benefits of a price on carbon outweigh the costs several times over.

"2009-2010 winter saw record cold spells"

A cold day in Chicago in winter has nothing to do with the trend of global warming.

"Scientists can't even predict weather"

Weather and climate are different; climate predictions do not need weather detail.

"It's methane"

Methane plays a minor role in global warming but could get much worse if permafrost starts to melt.

"Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun"

The sun has not warmed since 1970 and so cannot be driving global warming.

"It's waste heat"

Greenhouse warming is adding 100 times more heatto the climate than waste heat.

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