My Clean Break column today draws attention to the record heat wave in Russia, as well as flooding in Pakistan and other extreme events in other parts of the world. It may seem like a world away, but we have to keep in mind: it could just as easily be happening here, whether it be cottage country in Ontario or in West Vancouver or Halifax, or wherever. I think the media in North America are doing a terrible job of making the connection with climate change, and that’s partly because they don’t want to be knee-jerk and partly because they don’t understand that climate change is about extremes, not just gradually higher temperatures over time. They don’t want to make the connection between high wheat prices and climate change, and how this is a perfect example of the economic costs that will increase over time.
Shortly after my column appeared online this morning, I got an e-mail from a scientist at Environment Canada who wanted to point me to some information on the government’s Web site that, while not easily accessible or promoted as being available, is there nonetheless. “We may be muzzled,” wrote this scientist, “but there is still a lot of climate science material available on Environment Canada Web pages.”
He said “government scientists were very unhappy” that this science, funded by Canadian taxpayers, was not being made known and easily accessible to the general public.”And yes, I fear reprisals if my name is attached to anything,” he wrote.
Here are two links he provided. The first shows graphically how temperatures are expected to rise between now and 2100 in Canada and throughout the rest of North America. The graphic simulation is based on the Canadian Global Climate Model, and it’s shocking to watch as mean temperature climbs by 4.5 degrees C across much of Canada. The second shows that the national average temperature in Canada this spring was 4.1 degrees C above normal, “which makes this the warmest spring on record since nationwide records began in 1948.” The previous record was in 1998, which was 3.2 degrees C above normal. “This is the second season in a row to set a record for above normal temperatures.”
This data, against the backdrop of the Russia heat wave and Pakistan flooding, should be front-page news.