The World Meteorological Office has confirmed that the year 2015 was the hottest ever. The month of February just past was the hottest February the world has experienced since 1880, the first year temperature records were kept. For Toronto and other parts of Canada, February 3rd was the hottest day ever in that month.
Climatologists have concluded that these records are the results of climate change on top of a powerful El Nino. The only encouragement they give us is that El Nino is weakening so North America will not see a continuation of such record high temperatures in the immediate future!
So global warming is apparent to everyone, and its cause is rarely disputed. Now what?
One serious impact of global warming will be experienced in the low lying Western Pacific Coral atolls and other islands like the Maldives. They will be inundated by rising sea levels. Some island countries will disappear. A more widespread impact will be experienced by our grandchildren during their lifetimes.
That is why 4RG joined with other Grandparents organizations to urge countries at COP 21 to aim for a limit on global warming to 1.5 degrees C over pre-industrial times. Canada, the European Union and other countries pressed for the inclusion of the 1.5 target in the COP21 official text.
We were far too optimistic! Perhaps we were lulled by the “pause” in global warming into thinking that there was more time for a transition. Thomas Homer-Dixon, Professor of the Environment, University of Waterloo, was emphatic in his criticism of such wishful thinking. He said:
“. . . using reasonable estimates of climate sensitivity – that is, of the amount of warming a certain level of CO2 will produce – we’re already virtually certain to shoot past the 1.5 degree threshold. . . “
“. . . Now, when the skeptics are in retreat and the world finally sees climate change for the appalling crisis it is, those of us who have been working for action shouldn’t be peddling new fantasies.”
His words were the first to bring reality home to many. Now a number of environmental organizations accept that it is likely we will blow through the 1.5 limit by 2020!
So back to reality – this is no time for extended negotiations. No time to maintain the blinkers on our thinking. Let’s get started before it’s too late!
Our thanks to the Council of Canadians for permission to use their image at COP 21. Read their December 9, 2015 blog pointing out the inconsistencies between the proposed large pipeline infrastructure in Canada and Canada’s adoption of a 1.5 limit.