Confronting Global Change Atmosphere and Climate

The Maldives (consider future habitability of island state, e.g., Storlazzi et al. (2018).
Planetary Boundary for Climate

Confronting Global Change Atmosphere and Climate

ESS 205H1 Confronting Global Change Atmosphere and Climate


Today’s Agenda – Atmosphere & Climate Change

Outline • Planetary Boundary for Climate

Change • Presentation by Ontario’s

Commissioner of the Environment • Situation • Solutions

Take Home Messages • Need to connect Climate Change to

real effects on society • Connect to social stability • Connect to food

• Need action through solutions!


Rockström et al. 2009 Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecol & Society 14: 32.

In the Anthropocene, we are reaching global limits Planetary Boundaries Super-wicked problem (weeks 2 & 4)

2/14/2019 4

A timeline of the Earth’s average temperature

Climate Action in Ontario: What’s Next? 2018 Greenhouse Gas Progress Report


Dianne Saxe Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Kingston Climate Change Symposium January 17, 2019


• The ECO and the EBR

• Climate changes everything

• Opportunities for action

Who is the Environmental Commissioner?

• Impartial, independent officer of Ontario legislature • Guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights • Watchdog on:

• Greenhouse gas emissions • Energy conservation • Environmental protection

• It’s my job to report the facts without fear or favour



Annual Reports


Climate changes everything

Climate change is here. It affects us now.

Much worse is ahead. We’re determining the future now.

We must


• reduce emissions of pollutants (GHGs) that cause climate change


• cope with the impacts that have already occurred and will occur as a result of climate change


Highest Air CO2 in (Human) History

• Millions of years 180 – 280 • 1750 278 • 1860 280 • 1988 350 • 2018 410 ppm

• Now permanently above 400 ppm • Trapping extra heat

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory (full record), 2016.



Highest temperatures in human civilization


Global Temperature Variation


20th Century “normal” is gone

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Change – Global Temperature


93% of the extra heat is in oceans, lakes

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chapter 3: Observations: Oceans in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2013.


Ontario warming faster than global average

• 1.5oC warmer since 1948

• 2.5oC to 3.7oC warmer by 2050

• Differs by region • latitude, topography, water…

Source: LAMPS Climate Change Group, Ontario Frost Free Season Changes Analysis.


Annual temperatures in Toronto, 1841-2017

Source: National Centre for Atmospheric Science

Colour scale: from 7.6oC (dark blue) to 10.8oC (dark red)


“Global Warming”?

• ≠ everywhere always warmer

• higher average temperatures • But unevenly distributed • Disruption of natural cycles

• more damaging, more unpleasant extremes

• extreme weather didn’t start with climate change, but climate change did load the dice




4 x climate extremes

Source: Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Executive Summary


Floods, fires, drought, wind, heat…

Photo credit: Viv Lynch. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo credit: Ryan Forbes Photo credit: Ottawa Paramedics

Photo credit: Associated Press

Photo credit: The Canadian Press Photo credit: OPP North East


Precipitation: summer

Source: Prepared by LAMPS York University.

Average change per decade 1979-2016


Precipitation: winter

Source: Prepared by LAMPS York University.

Average change per decade 1979-2016


Insured losses (not including uninsured)









$ Bi

lli on

s ( CA


Ontario Insurance Costs due to Catastrophic Events

Loss trendline

2013 Toronto floods

$1.2 billion in first 9 months of 2018


Up to 10% of Canadian properties may soon be too high risk for private sector flood insurance, if no protective measures are taken.

Health impacts

Ontario Lyme Disease Risk Map 2018: Estimated Risk Areas Source: Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario)



• Warmer, drier conditions plus pests/ diseases = higher risk

• e.g., BC, California, Chile, Sweden, Portugal…. • Loss of winter cover • Soot/ black carbon • Who breathes the smoke?

• MNRF: 1,325 forest fires in 2018

Photo credit: US NOAA

Photo credit: MNRF

Plants, animals, fish

Photo credit: Heidi Riedner/Georgina Advocate. Used with permission. Photo credit: bcameron54, (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Impacts for food and farming?

• Longer growing seasons • But less predictable • Increased droughts and floods • Erosion • Pests

Photo credit: Shutterstock


And what else?

“Large-scale uneven impacts of climate change may destabilize existing institutional arrangements, increase incentives to violently redistribute wealth, or generate other forms of social conflict.”

Hsiang, Oliva, Walker 2017


How much worse? Depends on emissions

Source: Laboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems (LAMPS) at York University, Temperature Change for 1900 to 2100 relative to 1986- 2005 from AR5 CMIP5 subset, 2016.


And on tipping points

• Permafrost • Soil carbon loss • Forest die-back • Ocean current changes • Loss of sea ice


Is it too late?

• We are in for big changes • There is still a little time to have an impact on what’s coming

•Our choices, right now, matter

• Canadian actions really matter

Opportunities for action



Climate Action in Ontario: What’s Next?

Ontario (again) needs a climate policy

Commitment and credibility

Reducing Emissions

Getting Ready for What’s Coming



Ontario does know what works

Making polluters pay Investing in solutions

Regulating polluters


Ontario was doing so much right

Coal power plant closures

Price on carbon

GGRA/ Action Plan

Starting on adaptation


It was working












1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016

Re la

tiv e

to 1

99 0




GHG Emissions

GHG Emissions/Capita

GHG Emissions/GDP

Source: Statistics Canada


Reduced Reliance on Fossil



Economic Growth

Lower Energy Bills

Competitive Businesses

Energy Resilience

Environmental Sustainability

Human Health

Money, climate, wellbeing:

Major co-benefits of reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Source: ECO


Electricity key to Ontario’s low carbon energy future


2 Carbon PricingRevenues


Low-Carbon Ontario

1Cap & Trade


High-Carbon Ontario

Energy Efficiency Improvements


Cap and Trade was starting to work


Making polluters pay can lead to innovation, creativity, and jobs

Companies take initiative to reduce


Innovate for new ways to reduce


Make continuous improvement


Reduce pollution, resulting in annual

cost savings

Hire new jobs to

design and implement solutions

Government puts a price on

carbon Polluter-pay programs are fair and they work.


19,000 social housing units received energy efficiency upgrades

Energy retrofits at 98 hospitals, 621 schools, 48 universities and colleges

129 municipalities received funds for transit, waste, energy efficiency and cycling infrastructure

$4 invested by industry for every $1 in Cap & Trade funding

Raised billions for low-carbon initiatives

• Cap and Trade raised $2.9B since January 2017

• $1.9B was spent on programs to reduce GHG emissions

• 74% public services (hospitals, schools, social housing and municipalities)


Ontarians have great ideas

But now: a wrenching halt

• All serious provincial programs cancelled, including cap and trade and renewable energy contracts

• No meaningful replacements • Weak targets, little action • Only 1% public support

• Instead, shoot the watchdog

Ontario is sitting on its hands, or worse.

Where are we now?

Tearing up clean energy contracts

“The sanctity of contracts is fundamental. The government unilaterally cancelling contracts is harmful to business investment in Ontario.” Ashley Challinor – Director of Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

• Adverse effects on investors, public sector, First Nations, Long-Term Energy Plan

752 cancelled renewable energy projects

Source: University of Guelph the-tories-scrapped-renewable-energy-projects


Big setback to Indigenous people

Large Renewable Project (LRP) Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Total (LRP +FIT)

Number of Projects Capacity (MW)

Number of Projects

Capacity (MW)

Number of Projects

Capacity (MW)

Projects with Indigenous Participation 8 139.9 208 86.8 216 226.7

All Projects 10 174.9 741 266.9 751 441.8

% of cancelled projects with Indigenous participation 80% 80% 28% 33% 29% 51%

Source: University of Guelph


Subsidizing fossil fuels

• Existing fossil fuel tax breaks, plus

• Subsidizing natural gas pipeline expansion

• Cutting gas tax

• Fair Hydro Plan?

Sources: Ontario Ministry of Finance, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Union Gas, Ontario Solar Installers


“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation.”

– Gus Speth


When the province won’t lead

• Federal action – Pan Canadian Framework • Municipalities • Business • Investors/pension funds • Universities • Media • Everyone

The federal backstop is a good start.


What can we do?

• Climate cannot be left entirely up to government

Reduce your carbon footprint

Get ready to adapt

Speak up

Simple clear messages, repeated often, by a variety of trusted voices.


The climate crisis presents an opportunity to not just avoid catastrophe, but also to create a better world.

It’s not just a moral obligation. It’s a moral opportunity.

Joel Pett Editorial Cartoon used with the permission of Joel Pett and the Cartoonist Group. All right reserved.




#ONClimateAction a8321876.html province-of-o.html

Residents in in low-lying areas of the Marshall Islands have already faced severe flooding, underscoring their vulnerability to climate change ( AFP )

Windmills on Wolf Island by Kingston, Ontario

Assignment 6 – The Paris Agreement

Contain global temperature rise to 2oC by 2100; try to stay below 1.5oC: • Financing (minimum

$US100 billion/yr), • new technology

framework, • capacity building

Assignment 6

• Goal • What country-specific actions need to be taken now to meet the

global goal of minimizing climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement?

• Deadline: Tuesday February 19, midnight

What to do:

1. Each person represents a country: • Canada • The Maldives • Saudi Arabia or another major oil-producing nation located in the

Arabian peninsula • Denmark • Take 15 minutes to research the situation of your country noting, for

example, the magnitude of your country’s GHG emissions, vulnerability to climate change, and state capacity to fund climate change actions (mitigation and adaptation).

What to do: 2. 15 minute roundtable: present your country’s case for action or inaction. Try to persuade other countries.

3. Submit to Quercus: a. State your country’s position with respect to climate change, i.e., does your country strongly support the Paris Agreement (why or why not). Two sentences with 1-2 references.

b. Identify two top priorities for your country to reach the Paris Agreement goals for mitigation (reducing emissions of GHGs). Provide a sound justification for each priority, backed by 1 reference. Two sentences per priority, four sentences total.

c. Identify two top priorities for your country to reach the Paris Agreement goals for adaptation (coping with the effects of climate change). Provide a sound justification for each priority, backed by 1 reference. Two sentences per priority, four sentences total.


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