Climate change is not coming… it’s here

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The latest news about climate change in Canada should have been a bombshell that shook the country to its core.

A report last week revealed the climate in Canada is warming about twice as fast as in the rest of the world, and the North is warming even faster.

The two pertinent numbers in the report are sobering. Since 1948, the average annual temperature in Canada increased by 1.7 degrees Celsius. In the North, the increase over that time period was a shocking 2.3 degrees Celsius.

Those numbers show that climate change is not coming to Canada, especially the North, it’s already here.

The only real question that remains is how much worse is climate change going to get in the coming decades. Our guess is that it will get a whole lot worse.

The problem is worldwide and needs a worldwide response, but the international efforts so far have been ineffective. (At this point, we would normally offer our obligatory criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump and his continued denial of manmade climate change. However, the more we listen to Trump, the more we suspect he has only a tenuous grasp on reality, and we don’t feel it’s right to criticize an unstable person.)

Of course, there are some positive things happening – wind power, electric cars, etc. – but it is much too little, much too late to stop climate change.

Instead, what we seem to see is a shift to talk about perhaps slowing it down and adjust our ways to deal with it. We recall one meeting where a GNWT official talked about how climate change will impact construction of buildings and roads. That is perhaps a practical way to think, but it is also enlightening that many people now believe climate change can’t be avoided.

Then there are some government and business types who talk about how to benefit from climate change – the opening of the Arctic to development as the ice recedes, for example.

For the rest of us, we will just have to wait and see how much it affects our lives.

This spring with its record temperatures in Hay River and quickly disappearing snow and ice is concerning. It may be just a taste of things to come.

In the past, countries have sometimes joined forces in the face of a common foe, but, of course, that almost always required fighting a war.

We don’t see a group of allies – which should be every country – taking up the battle against climate change. That is an impossibility.

Instead each country is focused on its own concerns, which seem trivial when compared to climate change.

In Canada, we heard the dire numbers in the latest report, and were quickly back to focusing on the really important things – a scandal in Ottawa, an election in Alberta and the tragedy that the Montreal Canadiens missed the NHL playoffs.

The climate report disappeared from the news after a day or two. That, as much as anything, tells you everything you need to know about climate change.

There is no national or international will to seriously try to stop it.