About Climate Change
An international scientific consensus has emerged that our world is getting warmer. Abundant data demonstrate that global climate was warmed during the past 150 years.The increase in temperature was not constant, but rather consisted of warming and coolingcycles at intervals of several decades. Nonetheless, the long term trend is one of net globalwarming. Corresponding with this warming, alpine glaciers have been retreating, sea levelshave risen, and climatic zones are shifting.
Climate scientists around the world agree that average global temperatures could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. This increase will not be distributedevenly around the globe; in Canada, this could mean an increase in annual meantemperatures in some regions of more than 5 degrees.
Climate change is more than a warming trend. Increasing temperatures will lead tochanges in many aspects of weather, such as wind patterns, the amount and type ofprecipitation, and the types and frequency of severe weather events that may be expectedto occur. Such climate change could have far-reaching and/or unpredictable environmental,social and economic consequences.
The 1980s and 1990s are the warmest decades on record, with 1998 the warmest year. The 10 warmest years in global meteorological history have all occurred in the past 15years. The 20th century has been the warmest globally in the past 1000 years.
For more information on climate change, visit these websites:
- World Mayors Council on Climate Change
- The City Climate Catalogue
- Environment Canada — Climate Change
- Environment Canada — Canada's GHG inventory
- Canadian Centre for Environmental Modelling and Analysis
Why act locally on climate change?
Municipal governments have an important contribution to make to climate protection. Up to half of Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are under the direct or indirect control or influence of municipal governments. By 2012, communities could cut GHG emissions by 20 to 50 Mt from municipal operations and community-wide initiatives with investments in environmental infrastructure and sustainable transportation infrastructure.