Thursday, 3 May 2012

Connect the Dots

Climate change action starts at home

Hamiltonians need to “connect the dots” between the odd shifts in weather they are seeing locally and the global impacts of climate change, environmental leaders say. A meeting at City Hall Thursday organized by seven groups emphasized the need for municipal action to address concerns around climate change. The news conference was held to advance Saturday’s Global Day of Action, which is being hosted by the Hamilton 350 Committee

In the past eight years, there have been 17 rainstorms that flooded homes in Hamilton and at least six of them were only supposed to come once every 50 to 100 years, said Don McLean, co-ordinator of the local 350 committee. “The very strange weather that we’ve had in the last two or three months, the winter that didn’t happen ... clearly the kinds of impacts it’s going to have on food production have to make it more and more urgent we do something,” McLean said.

The 350 Committee is part of a global campaign for the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide — 350 parts per million — in the global atmosphere. Right now, it’s sitting at 394 parts per million. “We’re at a point where you have almost unanimous agreement from climate scientists that this is occurring … Let’s pull up our pants and get the job done,” said Pete Wobschall, executive director of Green Venture.

Lynda Lukasik, the executive director of Environment Hamilton, said she wanted to see city council and the province take a vocal stance against Ottawa’s pipeline projects and approaches to energy resources. Lukasik’s basement was flooded in the storm of July 2009 that swamped the Red Hill Valley Parkway. She said some of her neighbours told her they had never had a flooding issue like that before. “As it starts to hit people personally more and more … it has made people reflect and think.”

Councillor Brian McHattie, who chairs the Hamilton Conservation Authority board, noted that the predicted rise in temperature in the Hamilton area by 2050 is 2.6 C.

The increase in rainfall over the past four decades was 26 millimetres, McHattie said.
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