EDITORIAL: No escaping wrath of climate change

The political fight over the carbon tax continues to rage on across the country, with the federal government at odds with several provinces who vow to take on Ottawa on behalf of beleaguered taxpayers.

While both sides look to position themselves to win the battle of political optics, the war itself continues on, and it appears we all will come out on the losing end.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last month that suggests unless something changes quickly, the world is going to surpass its main climate goal in a little over two decades. The report shows the earth is on track to warm up by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040.

The world’s temperature is currently rising about 0.2 C each decade, and the 2015 Paris climate change agreement set a goal to reduce emissions by the end of this century enough to keep the world from warming up more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Climate change scientists suggest the warming of 1.5 C would bring an average sea level rise of 48 cm.

With President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, and Canadian premiers like Doug Ford in Ontario and Scott Moe in Saskatchewan fighting tooth and nail against anything that would disrupt the profits of corporate polluters, it’s clear the most dire consequences of climate change are no longer an if, but a when.

While we shouldn’t lose focus on the overall goal to turn back the clock on climate change, we must begin directing more of our efforts towards stemming the tide of the catastrophic effects that our sure to come. Extreme weather events are predicted to occur more frequently, and more resources need to be directed to responding to meet that threat. And regions like Vancouver Island must look more closely at the new reality that rising sea levels will create.

Many Island farmers are already responding to meet the challenge. Rob Galey of Saanich’s Galey Farms has responded to take advantage of the increasing growing season, which he expects to increase by almost 60 days by the 2050s. Other Canadian governments and industry must now show the same ingenuity to meet the inevitable wrath that climate change will bring.

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