What is “normal” in a time of climate change?

The Toronto Globe and Mail (January 22) carried an interesting article under the title “What’s ‘Normal’ nowadays?” The article explains that Environment Canada is adjusting benchmarks to reflect a rapidly changing climate.  As we said in our comment “Paris in January”, all countries will have to get used to a new “normal” in weather patterns.  The difficulty is that slowly but surely the new normal will have to be revised again as increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to cause a warming world.

Quoting the director of Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Project, the Globe article states:

“Climate change is a done deal.  There is nothing you can do to turn it off.  . . . . How do we adapt to that new reality?”

4RG recognizes that adaptation is essential, because the atmosphere already holds a higher amount of greenhouse gases than at any time in the last two centuries.  This high level of greenhouse gases will continue for a long time and ultimately nudge the world average temperatures significantly higher. 

Adaptation was one of the messages conveyed at “Sleep Walking to Disaster”, our Climate Change Forum and Town Hall meeting held last May.  Glenn McGillivary, the Managing Director of the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction, told the Forum how the insurance industry is campaigning for new standards for municipal infrastructure and buildings.  Without standards appropriate for the extreme weather conditions that we can more frequently expect, the damages will be much greater and insurance costs will rise.

Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (mitigation) must remain the priority strategy.  That way the world can avoid the most devastating results that could result from “business as usual”.

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