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  #1  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 4:25 PM
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The Climate Change Discussion Thread

I was shocked to find we didn't have a climate change discussion thread in the Canada section yet. As anthropogenic global climate change is beginning to affect Canadian urban areas, I feel like it is a topic of concern for most of us here.

Some disturbing new information about climate change in Southwestern Alberta and Calgary's abilities to keep the region adequately... moist? in the future was released today. While Calgary appears (temperature-wise) to be one of the cities least affected by climate change over the next 50 years, we are to be severely impacted by the disappearance of glaciers and extreme weather events as the primary clash zone between Pacific and Arctic systems.





Calgary could reach daily water licence limit by 2036
Calgary could reach the provincial limit on daily water withdrawals from the Bow and Elbow rivers within less than 20 years, thanks to population growth and climate change, the city said Monday.
MEGHAN POTKINS | CALGARY HERALD | May 14, 2019

Quote:
The warning was issued during a day-long strategic council meeting devoted to watershed management issues in the Calgary region.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, but by about 2036, we’re going to hit the limit of our water licence particularly on hot days in the summer and the water shortages will only increase from there,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Monday.

“It’s important now that we start making the decisions we have to make around development (and) growth throughout the region (to) make sure that we can accommodate the growth that we expect here over the next decades.”

The City of Calgary currently provides water to nearly one in three Albertans as a provincial water licence holder.

City staff warned that on high-demand days, typically during the summer months, it could become increasingly difficult to provide sufficient supply to meet peak demand in future decades.

Independent municipal and scientific experts who presented in council chambers Monday also painted a stark portrait of the effect of climate change on water supplies for the region which are fed primarily through snow melt and glacier ice in the Rocky Mountains.

Dr. David Sauchyn, director of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, pointed to data suggesting average annual flow rates on the Bow River are in decline, despite a significant amount of variability from year to year.

“The reason the river is declining slowly is the loss of the glacier ice and snow pack at high elevation,” Sauchyn said. “Calgary actually has been able to deal with this gradually declining water supply (but) it’s not going to last forever — fairly soon the glaciers won’t exist anymore.”

While the long-term picture is one of declining water supply, the interim impact of climate change in Calgary will likely involve intermittent periods of severe flooding, Sauchyn said.

He said recent reports on a new federal study suggesting Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world didn’t drill down enough into regional differences in warming and he pointed to data that suggests the Prairies could be in far worse shape than other parts of the country.

“The fastest rate of warming is in (the) Arctic and the Canadian Prairies, so our part of the world is actually warming at three to four times the global rate,” he said.

“We have lots of science to indicate that we can expect severe flooding and severe drought in the near future in Calgary.”

Nenshi called the presentation “terrifying and harrowing.”

...
Full story: https://calgaryherald.com/news/local...-limit-by-2036
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  #2  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 5:20 PM
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Great thread. I’ll certainly participate in this. Yes, climate change is happening, but this unfortunately reads like the now all too common fearmongering. It’s hard to tell from the piece whether the writer twisted what the scientist said, to create fear and drive clicks, or whether it was the scientist himself. People are making a career out of this now. There’s quite a bit here to respond to but I’ll pick a couple of points and maybe come back for more.

- “The reason the river is declining slowly is the loss of the glacier ice and snow pack at high elevation.”
This statement doesn’t make sense. I just looked at this link quickly but it looks ok.
https://albertawater.com/nexus/conve...ow-river-basin
You can see from the graph that glaciers account for about 1% of the river flow, and that’s when they’re melting back. Think about the mountains in the winter. They are covered in meters and meters of snow. That and the rain that falls in the watershed produce essentially all the water in the bow. The tip of each glacier that melts back each year produces about 1%. River flow actually increases by this amount when glaciers are melting. If there’s been a loss of snowpack then that’s another matter, but there would have to be some other reason for that. That would have nothing to do with the glaciers. And he has not given any here.

- “the interim impact of climate change in Calgary will likely involve intermittent periods of severe flooding”
I have seen no evidence for this, and he has presented none here. Yes, we had a big flood in 2013, but we had two bigger floods in the late 1800s. Big floods just happen from time to time. When you build a house on a floodplain you should be aware that that floodplain is there because there was a flood, and most likely it took more than one to create it. And where there was one flood there will likely be another. For this to be convincing he would have to make some argument for why climate change would produce more floods here, and he has not done so.

There is so much just straight fearmongering going on these days that you should reject all fear without facts. If someone has a real point to make they will present the facts to convince you.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:32 PM
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Here is Doug Ford's BS attack ad on the Carbon Tax. He has no plan. This is all just meant to help get Sheer(is that his name?) elected in the fall.

Video Link
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  #4  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:36 PM
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"Calgary won't have enough water for its projected population by 2076" is nonsense.

Out of curiosity, I went and took Ireland's population growth during their boom (~1750 to ~1820) and I just realized we have a HUGE problem - there are 150+ million Irish nowadays in 2019 populating that little green island, and there's no way to feed all of these people!
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
there are 150+ million Irish nowadays in 2019 populating that little green island, and there's no way to feed all of these people!

What? Try 6,572,728 (2016)

The U.K and Northern Ireland combined amount to 71,891,524 (2019)
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  #6  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TorontoDrew View Post
What? Try 6,572,728 (2016)
No, that's impossible! My projection can't be wrong, it's pure math! ~4 million Irish in the late 1700s and a 1.6% yearly growth rate says there are ~150 million of them today.

(You probably could've figured my point from my original post, but if not then it should be more clear now)
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  #7  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:52 PM
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LOL
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  #8  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 9:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorontoDrew View Post
What? Try 6,572,728 (2016)

The U.K and Northern Ireland combined amount to 71,891,524 (2019)
I think you mean UK which includes N.I.(65 M) + Ireland (6M)

Fun fact: Ireland has still not yet reached it's pre-1840s population high of 7 million.
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
I just realized we have a HUGE problem - there are 150+ million Irish nowadays in 2019 populating that little green island, and there's no way to feed all of these people!
The problem is the climate. We need to finally eliminate the climate and make the world carbon free.

We started with those plastic six pack holder things and drinking straws but it's not enough. We will need to find at least 5,000 more Swedish girls to protest at Davos and identify many more small consumer items to ban. I suggest banning oversized plastic hipster eyeglass frames, and making people use more reasonable-sized ones (instead of LITERALLY DESTROYING THE PLANET WITH THEIR STUPID FASHION CHOICES). If we all make at least 500 tweets per day *we* *can* *do* *this*.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 9:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
"Calgary won't have enough water for its projected population by 2076" is nonsense.

Out of curiosity, I went and took Ireland's population growth during their boom (~1750 to ~1820) and I just realized we have a HUGE problem - there are 150+ million Irish nowadays in 2019 populating that little green island, and there's no way to feed all of these people!
Calgary going from 1.3m to 2.5m in 58 years doesn't seem implausible to me. In 1960 Calgary was less than 250,000, so if anything the projection seems conservative.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 9:31 PM
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Calgary going from 1.3m to 2.5m in 58 years doesn't seem implausible to me. In 1960 Calgary was less than 250,000, so if anything the projection seems conservative.
Calgary growth in the second half of the 20th century was on the back of oil, the resource of the moment. What could possibly cause a further doubling in merely half a century in a post-oil world?

Ireland had ~3 million in 1780 and close to 8 million in the 1820s, surely ~35 million (same as Canada) in 2019 is a very very very conservative projection...?
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  #12  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Calgary growth in the second half of the 20th century was on the back of oil, the resource of the moment. What could possibly cause a further doubling in merely half a century in a post-oil world?
Calgary population growth has slowed down a lot. In the 1960's it was growing by around 6% a year. Last year it grew by 1.8%, right on the Canadian CMA average (which admittedly seems to have gone up a bit lately - https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/dail...g-b001-eng.htm).

Nobody has a crystal ball but my prediction for Calgary is "regression to the mean".

(This is a tangent but I can't help but notice how Statistics Canada's CMA population growth ranking in the link I posted doesn't match up very well with SSP Canada triumphalism levels. For example last year, Edmonton growth was faster than Calgary and Ottawa faster than Toronto. Vancouver has fallen down between St. Catherine's and Moncton.)
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Calgary growth in the second half of the 20th century was on the back of oil, the resource of the moment. What could possibly cause a further doubling in merely half a century in a post-oil world?

Ireland had ~3 million in 1780 and close to 8 million in the 1820s, surely ~35 million (same as Canada) in 2019 is a very very very conservative projection...?
Not entirely true. Calgary's growth was in part because of oil, but moreso from natural gas, as well as agriculture.

While over the long-term, a matter of decades, global oil demand will eventually decline, however, with LNG plants being built around the globe, including LNG Canada's $40 billion plant in Kitimat, among others, natural gas will supply the world for much of its energy needs for the long-term, far beyond oil. While Calgary is well known for oil companies headquarters, the same producers of oil produce natural gas, which will continue to support Calgary's economy for a long time, especially with global natural gas demand rising to hopefully replace coal fired power plants around the globe. Natural gas is a clean burning fossil fuel (marginally more ghg intensive compared to many hydro powerplants), that would significantly decrease the worlds ghg's if all coal fired power plant were converted to NG. This is good news for BC's economy as well.
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Calgary growth in the second half of the 20th century was on the back of oil, the resource of the moment. What could possibly cause a further doubling in merely half a century in a post-oil world?
A competitive business climate (ex. low corporate taxes, balanced budget, perhaps right to work legislation and privatization of some government services to break the public sector's monopoly). Calgary grew like crazy in the 90's, a period of low energy prices, mainly due to corporate relocations. Being the most business friendly city in Canada is not difficult.
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  #15  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Calgary growth in the second half of the 20th century was on the back of oil, the resource of the moment. What could possibly cause a further doubling in merely half a century in a post-oil world?

Ireland had ~3 million in 1780 and close to 8 million in the 1820s, surely ~35 million (same as Canada) in 2019 is a very very very conservative projection...?
It isn't a doubling, it's increasing by ~60%, compared to the population increasing by 400% in the last 58 years. I'm sure the city of Calgary has done more research into this and has more data than you have but obviously population projections are just that, projections. It could be lower, it could be higher, the value they have put on that graph is probably the mid range.

Alternatively, Calgary is a hell hole and no one could possibly want to live here if it weren't for us all being up to our knees in tar to fund our jacked up trucks and McMansions. Maybe that is the future, but the City of Calgary's job is to plan for infrastructure, so it's prudent to make sure we have planned adequate capacity for what they see as a realistic scenario.
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Old Posted May 15, 2019, 3:43 PM
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To wrap this up, there are soooo many things wrong with that article. Canada is not magically warming 2x faster than the rest of the globe. Northern parts of the globe are warming faster, and really just northern parts of Canada, but that obviously wouldn’t generate the same kind of fear as, “CANADA IS WARMING 2X AS FAST AS THE REST OF THE WORD!” But this is such a clearly ridiculous statement that I doubt that very many people bought into it. This is the kind of thing that makes a mockery out of the climate change issue. Good thing we have real scientists working hard on the problem behind the scenes.

On the issue itself, it appears that the flow in the Bow is down by about 10% over the last century, and that could be part of a long term trend. It’s definitely something to watch, but there’s no reason to believe that it has anything with to do with AGM. Calgary’s growth is the much bigger issue. Every city in Canada, and North American save possibly LA and Phoenix, uses far more potable water than it needs to. We need about 30 liters of potable water per day for drinking and cooking, but in Calgary we use over 10x that amount. The rest goes to things like taking showers, flushing toilets, and watering lawns, and there is a lot of potential for savings here. We probably want to keep showering with treated water, but we don’t need to flush our toilets or water our lawns with it. Long term we could move to some kind of grey water system, but in the short term we could keep using it but switch to very high efficiency toilets, lawns that don’t require as much water, drip irrigation systems, and even rain barrels to collect rain water from roofs for use on the lawn and garden. Lots of potential savings.
https://www.calgary.ca/uep/water/pag...-the-home.aspx
https://www.calgary.ca/UEP/Water/Pag...fficiency.aspx
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Old Posted May 15, 2019, 4:21 PM
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
It isn't a doubling, it's increasing by ~60%, compared to the population increasing by 400% in the last 58 years.
? No it's not. It's (very close to) a doubling. Approximately, it's okay to call it a doubling. I'm using your own numbers, see post below - it's an increase of 192.3%. (A true doubling would be 200.0%)

(Similarly, 58 years is what I approximately call "a half century".)

Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Calgary going from 1.3m to 2.5m in 58 years doesn't seem implausible to me. In 1960 Calgary was less than 250,000, so if anything the projection seems conservative.


Quote:
I'm sure the city of Calgary has done more research into this and has more data than you have but obviously population projections are just that, projections.
It's really easy to find projections that were totally wrong in retrospect.


Quote:
Maybe that is the future, but the City of Calgary's job is to plan for infrastructure, so it's prudent to make sure we have planned adequate capacity for what they see as a realistic scenario.
Sure. I just don't think we need to panic because there isn't enough water in one given location for hypothetical people. If water is truly a limiting factor, then Calgary likely won't grow past that point where it'd need more water.

Notice how projection of growth was directly leading to the conclusion "Ireland won't have anywhere near enough food for all that people then!", and how in reality this limitation is precisely what caused the projection to be grossly incorrect...
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  #18  
Old Posted May 15, 2019, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Calgary going from 1.3m to 2.5m in 58 years doesn't seem implausible to me. In 1960 Calgary was less than 250,000, so if anything the projection seems conservative.
Cities of Regina and Saskatoon each have growth plans for half a million people in the next 30 to 40 years so I wouldn't be surprised if Calgary has a growth plan for doubling it's population too in the coming decades.

https://globalnews.ca/news/2568282/o...oon-residents/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saska...-000-1.1396257


Even with 100-year-old record breaking cold temperatures in Saskatchewan this month of May, the province is preparing for climate change as predicted.

https://www.wsask.ca/About-WSA/News-...limate-Change/


Quote:
Climate records show a 1.5 C to 2 C temperature rise in northern Saskatchewan during the past 60 years, the difference was as much as four degrees in winter.

Those are some of the biggest temperature increases on the planet during that period. Climate modelling done by U of S researchers predicts an even greater rise, 2.5 to 3 C, during the next 50 years.
https://thestarphoenix.com/news/loca...-sask-s-future

A few months ago Saskatchewan completed it's 250-page Provincial Flood and Natural Hazard Risk Assessment due to climate change.
Quote:
The Saskatchewan Flood and Natural Hazard Risk Assessment concludes that drought and convective summer storms are the province’s highest risk natural hazards...

...It had been 140 years since the last devastating tornado struck Regina.

This one was far worse.

The tornado of 2052 traced a path much like the one that scarred the city in 1912. But this time it killed 150 people, injured 1,000 and left 13,000 homeless.

The punishing 325-km/h winds damaged the Legislature, levelled much of downtown and triggered catastrophe at the Co-op Refinery Complex.

But the destruction didn’t end there. Four of every five Reginans emerged to find their homes damaged by the ensuing hail, which also battered surrounding farms still recovering from the province’s 10-year mega-drought.

The traumatized city took a decade to get back on its feet. The provincial government, already weakened by the drought’s $5-billion economic toll, lacked the means to quell unrest among the ruins.
That task was left to the armed forces...

...It’s a hypothetical scenario, but a realistic one, according to the Saskatchewan Flood and Natural Hazard Risk Assessment released on Monday.

“A supercell convective weather system that includes an EF5 tornado, heavy rains, strong winds and hail having a direct hit on a large urban centre like Regina and surrounding communities is possible,” the assessment says.
https://leaderpost.com/news/saskatch...ays-new-report
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  #19  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:41 PM
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Since we have two climate change threads going, can this one be merged into the original?
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  #20  
Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:42 PM
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Since we have two climate change threads going, can this one be merged into the original?
I'll be glad to do it as soon as someone gives me mod powers
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