Canada warms twice as fast as the rest of the world, a milestone government report has found, and warns that drastic action is the only way to avoid catastrophic results.
"Science is clear – Canada's climate is warming faster than the global average, and this level of warming cannot effectively change," said Nancy Hamzawi, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Environment and Climate Change Canada, on Monday.
The report, published late on Monday by Environment and Climate Change Canada, paints a bleak picture of Canada's future, where deadly heat waves and heavy rainfall become a common occurrence. Thirty-three government researchers and academics explained the peer-reviewed report.
While global temperatures have risen 0.8C since 1948, Canada has seen an increase of 1.7C – more than twice the global average.
And in the Arctic, the heating is at a much faster rate of 2.3 ° C, the report says.
Although the increased warming in the Arctic is not yet fully understood, snow and ice play a crucial role in reflecting the sun's radiation and heat. But scientists say withdrawal of glaciers and vanishing sea ice, both contributing to a feedback loop of heating, which is one of the factors contributing to Canada's disproportionate temperature rise.
The report suggests the bulk of heating in Canada and around the world is a result of burning fossil fuels.
Canada has already committed itself to reducing emissions by 200m by 2030 – a cornerstone of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's national climate strategy – mainly through a federal mandate and coal-growing coal-fired plant. 19659002] Trudeau has pushed for a national strategy for CO2 pricing, and on Monday, the federal government imposed the tax on four provinces refusing to implement one. Conservative politicians have promised to remove the treasure if they win this fall election election and argue that it is too much of a burden for Canadians.
But under the current plan, households will receive rebate controls from the federal government to compensate for any incremental tax charges – meaning the cost to the average consumer is negligible.
The report makes clear that Canada is facing significantly different results depending on the policies it chooses to reduce emissions.
Under a scenario where global emissions are dramatically reduced, average temperatures will only increase 3C across the country within 2100, including the Arctic region.
However, if countries – including Canada – fail to act aggressively, there are likely to be 7-9-degree increases, and the Arctic faces 11-degree warming prospects.
During the worst case scenario, the risk of fatal heat waves increases tenfold causing drought and forest fires. Western Canada has already hit two years of record forest seasons. The risk of major rainfalls also doubles, which means that cities will be flooded with catastrophic city currents.
Access to critical fresh water sources will also be limited, mainly due to reduced winter fall, which in turn becomes a source of clean water when the snow pack melts.
Many of the previously documented effects – melting permafrost, vanishing sea ice and glacial withdrawal are only set to intensify in the coming years.
"We already see the effects of widespread warming in Canada," said Elizabeth Bush, a climate science advisor at Environment Canada, told reporters. "Clearly, science supports the fact that adaptation to climate change is an absolute necessity. Emergency action is needed to reduce emissions."