By John Hollins, Chair, CACOR Board of Directors. This Workshop “Adaptation to Global Warming” took place in June 2017. The background on this workshop is included.
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE CLUB OF ROME
Invitation to a Workshop on Adaptation to Global Warming
2017 June 21, starting at 10:00, Army Officers’ Mess, 149 Somerset Street West
The premise for this workshop, taken from CACOR’s action plan, is to:
Explore the actions that Canada can take starting now to address the inevitable consequences of the existing commitment to global warming:
Identify ways to counter the consequences, including topics touching the broad range of policy, population, economic approaches, and vested interests
Backgrounder Since 1993, Canada has made international commitments to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases on four occasions.
The Government of Canada in 1999 had its heart in the right place, but it did not understand the issue — In its political decision in Kyoto, it simply wished to be compared favourably with its southern neighbour. And this despite the fact that the Government of Canada had convened an ad hoc international conference in Toronto in 1988 that served to put global warming on the international environmental agenda. The following year, the Energy Council of Canada put the issue on the international energy agenda at a World Energy Congress that it hosted in Montreal. By 1999, the scientific, technological, economic, and energy systems issues were already well understood in Canada.
Canada failed to meet the commitments that it made in 1993 and in 1997.
Environment Canada reports annually on the actual emissions and projects likely emissions in the future. It appears that Canada is unlikely to meet
the commitments it made in 2009 or in 2016.
If Canada, with its current political will, is unlikely to succeed, which nations will? The intellectual case for effective mitigation remains strong, but it is not politically compelling in much of the world. The inevitable consequences of two centuries of industrial revolution require substantial and urgent attention in the interest — in the narrowest political terms — of generations of Canadians to come.
Of greater importance, widespread appreciation by Canadians of consequences and options for adaptation would make a powerful political case for more effective action on mitigation.
A view of the Paris Agreement (From an editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), 2017 June 1)
From a strictly environmental perspective, the attention paid to the Paris climate agreement — from which President Trump has now withdrawn —
has been out of all proportion. The accord is little more than the international version of virtue signaling. The agreement is non-binding and
unenforceable. It permits nations to set their own carbon-reduction targets, some of which are almost laughable:
China promises to start reducing carbon emissions in 2030, and Pakistan vows only to reduce emissions “to the extent possible,” which can mean not at all. The deal also allows countries to ignore their own pledges. India, for example, plans an expansion of coal fired electricity generation.
– Adaptation will be not be a choice; it will be essential under all likely future climate scenarios;
– Adaptation is essentially risk reduction – at all scales;
– Many risks are known: identified in the late 1990’s;
– Strategies are needed at:
o National, regional, local, corporate, and personal scales.
o Most actions will be relatively local, whereas mitigation efforts will generally be at larger scale;
o Build inventories of what is at risk at each level;
o Model most probable range of scenarios;
o Develop response tactics.
– Adaptation action may be easier to secure than mitigation:
o The beneficiary is more likely to be the person or firm paying to adapt or for insurance;
o Many of the actions that reduce risk have other more immediate and visible benefits.