(Originally published as part of the Faith in Action Climate Series at St. Mary’s Anglican Church.)
By Andrew Mathis
When faced with the reality of human-produced greenhouse gasses causing global warming, a common response may be something like “Well that’s okay, Canada is cold, we could use the extra heat,” or “Who cares if the planet is 2 degrees warmer, it’s only 2 degrees!”
The first thing to realize is that it is the average temperature of the planet that is rising; some places will cool while others will heat up faster. In fact, Canada is warming at twice the average rate of the planet. Our glaciers and ice sheets have already been retreating since the 1980’s1. The ice melt causes ocean levels to rise all around the world; and has already forced people in coastal areas to abandon their homes and move inland.
A warmer climate increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and flooding2. As we’ve heard in the news extreme weather events are becoming more and more common everywhere. 2020 was the 2nd hottest year on record on this planet, pushing 2019 down to third3. If fact, all the top 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2005. In 2021, Lytton, B.C. recorded the hottest temperatures ever seen in Canada three days in a row4 and on the fourth day, the village caught fire and burned to the ground. In Fredericton, 2020 was a drought year, and the floods of 2008, 2018, and 2019 raised water levels to heights not seen since 1973 and 19795.
Warming of the planet, even by a degree or two, is cause for concern, and both a present and future reality. We have the knowledge needed to face this challenge; we just need the collective will to change our ways.
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