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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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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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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, 8:41 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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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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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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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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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:49 PM
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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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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 8:52 PM
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LOL
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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, 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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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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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 9:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadillaccc View Post
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



Full story: https://calgaryherald.com/news/local...-limit-by-2036
That article isn't really about climate change. While flow volumes in the Bow river may decline, Calgary's water entitlement isn't in question. If Calgary does run up against its entitlement, the root cause will be growth, not a possible reduction of the entitlement due to climate change.

Another point to consider is that the vast majority (78%) of water entitlement in the Bow basin is to agriculture. See page 9 of: https://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/irr13053/$FILE/ssrb2010.pdf. Agriculture accounts for 78% of water use in the Bow basin.

Maybe Alberta should consider additional water storage in conjunction with flood protection when looking at new dam and diversion projects. The Springbank project would do nothing for storage. No storage has been added upstream of Calgary since the Bearspaw Dam in 1954.
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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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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?

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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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:30 PM
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In Shanghai, the problem with climate change will not be too little water, but too much. Shanghai is already one of the world's most flood prone cities, and with rising water levels due to melting polar ice, as well as increased typhoon activity due to atmospheric and ocean warming, it's only going to get worse. Shanghai is more fortunate than many other cities in its situation as it is able to afford to build coastal defences (they've built over 500km of flood walls in recent years) and institute other anti-flooding measures that other poorer coastal cities (example Dhaka, Bangladesh) cannot afford.
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:36 PM
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The latest from here...

It's not your imagination. N.L.'s weather is getting weirder

Quote:
...

"It's not something in Bangaladesh or Botswana, it's in Bonavista and Buchans ... nobody can escape it."

A few decades ago, Phillips says, the climate across North America "was probably one of the more stable and static periods of climate in the world," he said, noting temperatures in Atlantic Canada were actually dropping during the baby boomer era.

But in the lifetimes of today's Generation Z, the vast majority of years have been hotter than average. Where "you could depend on the climate and the weather ... now it just seems like wild cards," he said.

"It's almost like weather whiplash."



...

"If I was defining climate it would be the statistics of weather: every day you've got storms, temperature, winds, humidity," Phillips explained.

"If you average all that together it gives you the climate of the area."

And as the climate changes, he said, "the weather will be affected. It will be stormier storms, it could be heavier rainfalls. It could be shorter winters, longer summers, more beer-drinking weather."

All that means that a century ago, Newfoundland and Labrador could rely on fairly predictable seasonal patterns.

Now, it could be the hottest season on record one year, and frigid the next.

This year, spring, in particular, hasn't yet appeared. The bad news is, it probably won't at all, Phillips said.

Northeasterly winds are carrying in cold air off the North Atlantic, he explained, and we haven't been in the path of any warm fronts from the southern United States.

"We're going to have to be more patient. My sense is that spring is going to last days, not months," he said.

But when summer does hit, Phillips said models are showing it'll be hotter than usual across the province from mid-June through August.

"There is some light at the end of the tunnel," he chuckled. "Don't think summer is cancelled."

...

"What we need to do is to build our cities or neighbourhoods to withstand the kind of extremes of weather that we're going to see in the future," Phillips said, like preparing for floods or increases in pests from warmer winters.

"It's not as if what we're going to see here in Newfoundland are sandstorms or typhoons ... It's just the same old climate, but it's going to have different frequency statistics, more extremes. Things that would be something you'd expect once in a lifetime, it might happen every two or three years."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfo...g-nl-1.5128073
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Old Posted May 14, 2019, 10:40 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?

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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