Climate change is a reality and the world around us is going to change. We have reached the tipping point, and even if we were to make drastic changes worldwide in our daily lives, there will be change.
What is climate change?
Climate change is the result of a build-up of greenhouse gases (GHG's) in the earth's atmosphere. These gases act much in the same way as does the glass roof of greenhouse; they allow the sun's rays to pass through and provide heat, and they stop heat from escaping. As the GHG's increase in quantity, they provide more "insulation" to the earth and trap more heat. The increased heat will have a significant impact on everything on earth, including the weather.
What effect will climate change have?
The models tell us that the average temperatures will rise, there will be significant fluctuations in precipitation amounts and in the severity of storms, and the seas are going to rise. These facts tell us the future world will be a more uncomfortable place. However, the impact on the natural environment around us will be even greater.
Specific impacts for New Brunswick include:
What can we do about climate change?
Generally, any actions which we can take in regards to climate change fall into one of two categories; they are either mitigative or adaptive measures.
Mitigation means actions taken to try to slow down or reverse climate change. These actions have been well publicized over the past few years, and they mostly seek to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that we are putting into the atmosphere. These measures include actions like energy conservation, and the use of alternative forms of energy creation (like wind farms and solar panels).
Adaptation refers to actions that will allow us and the natural world around us to more successfully weather the effects of climate change. Adaptive measures are necessary because, no matter how quickly we act on reducing our GHG emissions, we will still experience change in the years to come.
What needs to happen in New Brunswick to prepare for Climate Change
In 2007, the government of the province of New Brunswick released the document, "Climate Change Action Plan - 2007-2012". This document details the actions the government plans on implementing to combat and adapt to climate change.
For a detailed description of the effects that climate change will have on New Brunswick, we recommend reading "From Impacts to adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007", a document published by Natural Resources Canada.
To see the global picture, check out the website for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.