Was the storm the shape of things to come or a once on a lifetime outlier? Is climate change making itself felt in BC and in particular on Salt Spring Island or can we claim that any changes in the weather are due entirely to cyclical climate variability?
BC Hydro certainly feel that change is happening, this was the worst storm they have ever had to deal with but more importantly they are seeing a year on year increase in power outages. This is from one of their recent reports: “… storms and extreme weather events in B.C. are becoming more frequent and severe. In the past five years, the number of individual storm events BC Hydro has responded to has tripled. The December windstorm is another indicator that this trend is not slowing down, and the frequency and severity of the storms are now increasing. For example, this storm generated more than twice the number of storm-related outages than BC Hydro experienced in all of 2013.”
Is it time for us to move from trying to combat climate change to accepting that it is here already and we have to plan for, and adapt to, the changes, and they include sea level rise, reduced summer rainfall, warmer summers with increased fire risk, and the possibility of further storms of equal severity to our experiences on December 20th?
The Islands Trust Council is having its next quarterly meeting on March 13-15 which will be held on Salt Spring at the Harbour House Hotel.
The Council schedule includes a working session for Trustees on “ Adapting to Climate Change” that will take place from 9.30-11.00 am on Wednesday the 14th, this session is open to the public.
In the afternoon David Denning is appearing as a delegation from the Community Energy and Climate Action Groups of Transition Salt Spring on the subject of Climate Change. Delegations will start at 2.00 pm.
After the delegations have presented there will be a Town Hall open discussion until 3.00pm
From CBC News, 13th February 2018
“British Columbia has no clear plan to prevent threats such as wildfires, flooding and drought as it works to adapt to the risks posed by climate change, the province’s auditor general says.
Carol Bellringer says there is little monitoring of progress and reporting on performance involving the ministries of environment, agriculture, transportation, forestry and housing, as well as Emergency Management B.C.
The province may not be able to manage flood risks because roles and responsibilities are spread across many agencies and levels of government that could lack staff or technical capacity, Bellringer said in a report released Thursday.”
In response BC Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister, George Heyman, released a comment:
“We accept the recommendations in the report and will work to ensure their intent is achieved.
Our government understands that B.C. needs to prepare for, and adapt to, climate change. In 2017, B.C. experienced the worst wildfire season in our history. We expect to see more impacts from extreme weather in the future and we must do whatever we can to prepare for the effects of climate change.”
The government news release can be found here:
The full report can be found here:
2017 was recorded as the third warmest year in the period 1880 to 2017, only beaten by 2016 and 2015. This was despite the lack of an El Nino, which is believed to have affected the temperatures in the two previous years. The anomaly was around 0.9 C above the average for the period.
Last Monday at the meeting of the Climate Action Council Society it was agreed that we should reform under the umbrella of the Transition Salt Spring Society. Initially we will become the Climate Action Council group. The motion was also passed to dissolve the Society as a separate entity, this may take a few months to be carried out by the BC Registrar of Companies but the Council will carry out all its work in the future under the new structure. The outstanding financial assets of the society will be transferred to a Climate Action Council folio held in the TSSS bank account.
“Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data.
Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century.
Five of the first six months of 2016 also set records for the smallest respective monthly Arctic sea ice extent since consistent satellite records began in 1979, according to analyses developed by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. The one exception, March, recorded the second smallest extent for that month.”
We need to work together to plan the way forward to a zero emissions society