Citizen Action Monitor

Future lethal heat waves predicted for 50% of world population, including parts of Ontario, Quebec

BREAKING – Southern Quebec death toll at 21, and more expected, as heat wave continues.

No 2328 Posted by fw, July 5, 2018

BREAKINGDeath toll rises to 21 as heat wave continues to bake southern Quebec by CBC News — As of early morning, Montérégie’s public health department reported two more deaths caused by the worst heat wave Quebec has seen in decades. Montreal’s health department has reported 12, and five have been reported in the Eastern Townships. One death in Laval and another in Mauricie brought the total number of heat-related deaths in the province up to 21, and more are expected.

Escaping the heat wave

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“You have to remember that the difference between the temperature we have on the planet today versus an ice age is only five or six degrees Celsius, so being up one degree Celsius over a period of 100 years is a really big deal,” —Blair Feltmate, climate scientist, University of Waterloo.

Blair’s quote appeared in an article in yesterday’s National Observer. My repost, below, of the story by Mia Rabson, includes these attention-grabbing subheadings –

  • Likelihood of connection between heat wave and climate change can’t be ignored, says climate scientist
  • Can there be any doubt, any longer, of the link between climate change and severe weather events?
  • It’s likely that by the year 2100 the world will be 3°C hotter
  • One-third of earth’s population already lives in regions where daily temperatures are lethal more than 20 days a year
  • And lethal temperatures will reach 50% of the population in next 75-years, including parts of Ontario, Quebec
  • Canadians should brace themselves for an influx of eco-migrants 
  • Environment Canada predicts average summer temperatures across Ontario rising 3.5°C higher than previous highs
  • Current heat wave is longest since 1944, contributing to heat-related illness and death

On a related note, although the warnings are dire, how likely is it that politicians or citizens living in capitalist countries will take action to mitigate increasing carbon emissions, the primary driver of the climate crisis? Not likely, suggests  Dr. Nate Hagens, professor at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament.

In a recent talk, Hagens explains why most humans are unlikely to worry about something that might happen in the distant future —

“As biological organisms, we care about right now. We care about this weekend. We care about watching an NBA playoff game and having some chicken wings and some beer rather than worry about climate change or species extinction or energy depletion or any of the other stuff I’m going to talk about tonight. Why? Because our ancestors that focused on the present, out-competed those ancestors that were worried about some esoteric event in the future. We are hyper-focused on the near-term, and that’s a problem because most of our societal, cultural, environmental challenges are in the long-term, in the future.”

This quote is from a recent talk by Hagens. To watch his illuminating 60-minute presentation, and access an index to all 45, very brief parts of my transcript of his talk, click on this link: Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens ~ Links to All 45 Posts. The links will take you to the full text of Hagens’ talk.

As I mentioned, below is a repost of Mia Rabson’s article on the link between climate change and heat waves. Alternatively, to read her story on the National Observer’s website, click on the following linked title.

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Climate change not one heat wave, but a pattern of extremes: scientist by Mia Rabson, National Observer, July 4, 2018

Likelihood of connection between heat wave and climate change can’t be ignored, says climate scientist

The scorching heat wave that set records in Ontario and Quebec over the Canada Day long weekend can’t be directly attributed to climate change — but neither can the likelihood of a connection be ignored outright, says a University of Waterloo climate scientist.

Suggesting the two aren’t linked would be akin to arguing that no particular home run can be attributed to steroids when a baseball player on a hitting streak is caught doping, said Blair Feltmate, who’s also the head of the Waterloo-based Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.

Can there be any doubt, any longer, of the link between climate change and severe weather events?

While a single isolated event might be normal, there’s little doubt that the world and Canada are together seeing more extreme weather events — patterns that can be attributed to climate change, Feltmate said.

“All the predictions illustrate that going forward in Canada, things are going to be hotter, wetter and wilder,” he said. “It’s not any particular year that matters. What matters is the overall, the long-term trend.”

On a geological time frame, it’s a “really big deal” that the average global temperature is 1°C warmer than it was 100 years ago

Globally, the world’s average annual temperature is one degree Celsius warmer than it was a century ago, says Feltmate.

“You have to remember that the difference between the temperature we have on the planet today versus an ice age is only five or six degrees Celsius, so being up one degree Celsius over a period of 100 years is a really big deal,” said Feltmate.

It’s likely that by the year 2100 the world will be 3°C hotter

The Paris climate change agreement Canada signed in 2015 with the rest of the world aims to keep global warming at 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. 1.5°C would be even better, scientists say. Canada’s current plans to cut emissions are nowhere near sufficient; even if implemented — a prospect that’s in serious doubt — the world will get 3°C hotter than it used to be by the next century.

One-third of earth’s population already lives in regions where daily temperatures are lethal more than 20 days a year

A 2017 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that about one-third of the world’s population already lives somewhere where the daily temperatures are considered lethal more than 20 days a year.

And lethal temperatures will reach 50% of the population in next 75-years, including parts of Ontario, Quebec

Even with drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in the next 75 years, that number is still expected to grow to 50 per cent of the population — or 75 per cent, including parts of Ontario and Quebec, if nothing is done at all. With limited mitigation, parts of India, Africa and South America would hit lethal temperatures every day of the year.

Canadians should brace themselves for an influx of eco-migrants 

Canadians need to brace themselves for an influx of eco-migrants over the next century, Feltmate warned — people who are fleeing their homelands because they are simply too hot.

Environment Canada predicts average summer temperatures across Ontario rising 3.5°C higher than previous highs

Environment Canada modelling suggests the average summer temperature across Ontario between 2041 and 2070 will be 3.5°C higher than it was between 1981 and 2010. The city of Toronto has modelling from 2011 that showed between 2000 and 2010 there were on average 20 days over 30°C, and with climate change that will more than triple to 66 days by 2040.

Current heat wave is longest since 1944, contributing to heat-related illness and death

Rolf Campbell, a weather historian behind the Twitter account “YOW Weather Records,” says Ottawa hit its highest-ever humidex measurement on Sunday: 47.2°C. Temperatures in Ottawa have gone above 32°C for five days in a row, the longest heat wave since 2001. With the forecast set to hit 35°C on Wednesday, a six-day heat wave would be the longest since 1944.

The temperature on Canada Day was 10°C higher than average, leaving paramedics to treat more than 100 people at various Canada Day events. Some 18 people were taken to hospital with heat-related illnesses.

Montreal, also experiencing extreme temperatures, reported six deaths this week due to the heat.

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