Environment File


Hundreds of Albertans will rally at the legislature this Sunday to call on world leaders to act on climate change.

Up to 500 people are expected to turn out at the Alberta Legislature grounds this Nov. 29 for the Edmonton People’s Climate March.

The march is one of many being held in about 2,000 cities Sunday to call for action on climate change. It’s meant to lead into the COP21 climate conference in Paris, France, Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, where world leaders will attempt to forge a binding agreement to keep global warming below 2 C above pre-industrial levels.

Edmonton’s event will be more of a rally than a march due to weather and logistical concerns, said co-organizer Kim Pudde.

It will feature free hot chocolate and three guest speakers discussing climate change, including former St. Albert resident and Carbon Busters founder Godo Stoyke.

Stoyke said COP21 is very important when it comes to moving the world forward on climate change, as it will be the first binding agreement on the topic since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement.

China has made an agreement with the United States to reduce emissions and India is moving on such a deal, Stoyke said.

“It’s the first time really that we have both developed and developing nations urging action on climate change.”

Pudde said the march is also meant to show the Alberta government that people approve of its recently announced climate change strategy, which the province is bringing to COP21.

“We want to show the world that here in Edmonton we do care about climate change.”

The Edmonton rally starts at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Earth will pass a grim milestone this year as, for the first time in human history, it warms by a full degree above pre-industrial temperatures.

The World Meteorological Organization released a report Wednesday in advance of next week’s COP21 conference on the state of the world’s climate.

Like last September’s report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it said that 2015 was almost certain to be the warmest year on record.

It also said that this year would be the first in recorded history to be 1 C above pre-industrial temperatures – halfway to the internationally acknowledged danger line of 2 C.

And it noted that the last five years were also the warmest five years in recorded history, with climate change influencing many heat-waves during it.

“This is all bad news for the planet,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a press release.

“Greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing climate change, can be controlled. We have the knowledge and the tools to act. We have a choice. Future generations will not.”

The WMO found that the January-October period was about 1 C over the 1880-1899 pre-industrial average, making it likely that 2015 would be the warmest year ever.

Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips said the only way this won’t be the hottest year on record is if November and December are colder than average worldwide – and we haven’t had a colder-than-normal month globally in 30 years.

“It’s a slam dunk.”

Phillips said the great warmth is due both to a superheated El Niño and leftover heat from 2014, the previous warmest year ever.

El Niño means that Canada can expect a warmer than average winter and a dry spring, which could be a problem given Alberta’s recent dry summer, Phillips said.

“Moisture shortages may be an issue going into the growing season next year for parts of central Alberta.”

The WMO’s report is available at www.wmo.int.


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