Climate Porn

At the risk of posting some hot & sweaty climate porn, I’d like to respond to a question that was asked in class last night. We all know that climate change is a real thing… but “What will it really be like?

google earth

The best place to go if you’re looking to get a picture in your mind about the impacts of climate change is the IPCC reports. The models used by the IPCC make predictions based on different emissions scenarios. These reports give us projections, numbers, and figures. But it’s kind of easy to get swamped in data and still not really have a view of what it will be like. The IPCC also concentrates on a very global view (because we’d need to use different models for each idiosyncratic local climate). Remember, climate change is a global effect but it won’t be felt equally. Even if we don’t feel the effects ourselves, we’ll certainly hear about them on the news. Whether or not you do have a view of ‘what it will be like’ in your minds eye, we know climate change is a problem, so we know we need to talk about solutions.

So what ‘s going to happen here? What are the solutions that we need to be thinking about? I’m going to suggest that you post your own views of what climate change will be like for the Vancouver region. If you post a comment that has some doomsday prediction, MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW UP WITH AN IDEA FOR A SOLUTION. I’ll start us off…

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terryman

Joanne often gets really excited when she talks about Science. Luckily, she works in the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory, the educational arm of the Michael Smith Labs. She likes all kinds of science but has a special spot in her heart for biology, technology, and well, sports. As a scientist and educator at UBC, she hopes that she never becomes so specialized that she loses her global perspective. (When she gets around to writing an intro post, I'm sure that she'll link to it here).

3 Responses to “Climate Porn”

  1. Joanne Fox

    One of the stats we hear about with climate change is sea level rises. You can download a patch for google earth that let’s you look at what the projections mean for the Lower Mainland:
    http://www.sierraclub.ca/bc/media/item.shtml?x=798

    If you live in Richmond like me, you’ll look at this map and think, “Uh Oh?!?” But, as I mentioned every problem has a solution. We already have the technology that we need to address climate change. For Richmond, we’ll have to put more money into infrastructure like dykes – no problem – we do that already. This problem has a solution.

  2. Anne Dalziel

    Hi Joanne,
    Great question! For some BC specific climate change info I checked out the David Suzuki Foundation’s Webpage:
    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Impacts/British_Columbia

    I started with the “impacts” link and read up on the long and quite scary list of what we can expect (e.g. warming rivers causing overheating salmon which will in turn cause their predators to starve, increased smog due to warmer temperatures causing respiratory problems, increases in non-native species and decreases in native flora and fauna, & decreases in mountain snowpack affecting our drinking water and our favorite BC activity- that’s right skiiers and boarders!). Cleary, our changing climate is going to be a big problem for Canadians; it’s not just going to lead to more warm sunny days on the ski hills. At this point I was starting to feel that typical climate change porn response –panic leading to despair (ahhhhh!). But I remembered to breathe deeply and focus on solutions. Of course, we all know the solution lies in reducing our CO2 emissions, but how to do this and do it effectively?

    For this I checked out Environment Canada’s webpage (http://www.ec.gc.ca/EnviroZine/english/issues/26/feature1_e.cfm). As an individual citizen, transportation accounts for almost 50% of personal greenhouse gas emissions and ~30% comes from heating our homes, so these seem like a good place to start. Personally, I’m going to continue to ride the bus (not having a car makes this easy!) and offset my carbon when flying home to Nova Scotia. In terms of heating, I’m going to seal m

  3. Anne Dalziel

    Personally, I’m going to continue to ride the bus (not having a car makes this easy!) and offset my carbon when flying home to Nova Scotia. In terms of heating, I’m going to seal my windows in our quite drafty apartment. Plus cutting energy saves MONEY, which is key for a poor grad student like me.

    ….but…. what about big industry….how to get them to cut back…I’ll get back to you on that one.
    Cheers,
    Anne

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