PEI Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Public Consultation

The UPEI Climate Lab is developing the Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Recommendations Report for the Government of Prince Edward Island.  We are seeking public input to help us develop relevant, practical, and innovative recommendations for climate change adaptation.  Climate change adaptation refers to the ways in which we can take advantage of the opportunities arising from climate change, as well as reduce the negative impacts from climate change.

The recommendations included in this draft report were developed in four stages.  First, the public and sector stakeholders were consulted on their concerns regarding climate change and adaptation.  Second, adaptation approaches used in other jurisdictions regionally, nationally and internationally were reviewed to prepare a discussion document for each sector.  Third, roundtable discussions with stakeholders for each sector were held to review the relevance and practicality of the approaches in the discussion document for the Island and to suggest additional recommendations.  Last, the sectors’ input was incorporated in the discussion documents, which form the sector chapters of this draft report.

We are hosting a final round of public consultations next month.  They are open to everyone – individuals, businesses, organizations, etc.  You can provide feedback online until Friday October 20, 2017 and in person at one of the following public engagement sessions:

  • Charlottetown: Tuesday, October 17, 5 to 6 pm at UPEI, Andrew Hall building, Room 142 (please use parking lot A or B)
  • Summerside: Wednesday, October 18, 7 to 8 pm at the Summerside Community Church
  • Montague: Thursday, October 19, 7 to 8 pm, Riverhouse Inn

Refreshments will be provided.  Please register by emailing us at climate@upei.ca with the session you would like to attend.  If you are unable to attend the sessions and would like to provide feedback in person, please let us know by email.

We look forward to receiving your input and recommendations.  The feedback collected from all public and sector consultations will be reviewed and incorporated in the final report, which will be submitted to the Provincial Government by October 31, 2017.

Click here to access the reports and to provide online feedback.

Breakfast seminars with the Honourable David MacDonald

Join the Honourable David MacDonald as he leads discussions on topics around the theme of Now That’s a Really Great Question – “Can Mother Earth and her peoples survive and thrive in the Anthropocene?”

These UPEI breakfast seminars will be held in Room 103 at 618 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island every Tuesday morning from 8 to 10 AM during the weeks from July 4th to August 22nd, 2017. Free parking and registration.

Topics include: Continue reading

Public Input Invited on Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

The UPEI Climate Lab is developing the Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Recommendations Report for the Government of Prince Edward Island.  We are seeking public input to help us develop relevant, practical, and innovative recommendations for climate change adaptation.  Climate change adaptation refers to the ways in which we can take advantage of the opportunities arising from climate change, as well as reducing the negative impacts from climate change.  We created a Public Input Document to provide information about climate change adaptation and how climate change impacts will affect the Island. Continue reading

Prince Edward Island’s Top 3 Weather Stories of 2016

By Dr. Adam Fenech and Don Jardine

Another year has gone by and it’s time to talk about Prince Edward Island’s top three weather stories of 2016. This past year continues to remind us of the important part weather plays in our everyday lives. Every year brings stories of weather no matter where you are, and Prince Edward Island is no different. And while I am tempted to speak about the recent snow storms or cold weather, it is more appropriate to focus on the strange weather of 2016. Here are my top three weather stories for 2016, and how they affected Prince Edward Island.

Number 3 – See-Saw Winter Temperatures

Winter temperatures see-sawed between cold snaps and record-breaking warm temperatures through much of the first two months of 2016. A winter snowstorm on January 29 was followed days later with temperature highs of 9°C, about 12 to 14 degrees Celsius warmer than normal. Continue reading

Weather Predictions for PEI Winter 2017

The return of cold weather this week brings the end of a long, warm summer and autumn that seemed as if they would not end. Global temperatures are soaring toward a record high this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations’ weather agency, of about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (before 1850). The WMO has said that 16 of the 17 hottest years have occurred since 2000 with the only exception being 1998. Much of the blame for many of these warm years has gone to the El Niño climate cycle of warmer Pacific Ocean waters that results in a global impact on weather patterns. Scientists are seeing a shift to a moderate La-Niña climate cycle this winter which normally allows cold air masses to build and remain over eastern North America. What complicates things is that our Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) climate cycle is in a continued warm phase, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) climate cycle is in a cold phase and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is in the early stages of its warm cycle. These oscillations are linked ocean-atmosphere patterns that influence the weather over periods of weeks to years. I have heard gossip around town about a horribly severe winter ahead, so I thought I’d examine what some of the experts are saying. Continue reading

P.E.I.’s Top 3 Weather Stories of 2015

By Dr. Adam Fenech

Another year has gone by and it’s time to talk about Prince Edward Island’s top three weather stories of 2015. This past year continues to remind us of the important part weather plays in our everyday lives. Every year brings stories of weather no matter where you are, and Prince Edward Island is no different. And while I am tempted to speak about the rare record-breaking warm weather at the end of May in Summerside of 23.7 degrees Celsius (°C), and in mid-August of record-breaking warm temperatures above 30°C across the Island, it is more appropriate to focus on the cold winter weather of 2015. Here are my top three weather stories for 2015, and how they affected Prince Edward Island.

Number 3 – Cold Winter Tempratures of 2015

The winter temperatures of 2015 were well below the normal – the “normal” being the average of 30 years from 1981-2010. After a balmy December in 2014 of 2.5°C above normal, Prince Edward Island experienced five straight months of daily average temperatures below normal to start the year of 2015 –January was 1°C colder; February was 5.3°C colder; March was 2.9°C colder and April was 3°C colder. Prince Edward Island also suffered through 49 straight days of daily average temperatures below the freezing mark from January 20 to March 10, 2015 with no thaw relief whatsoever. Continue reading

A Paris Agreement on Climate: And Most of Us Cheered

By Dr. Adam Fenech

FullSizeRenderFollowing two weeks of intense negotiations, including an additional day added and lengthy overnight discussions, over 190 countries signed onto the Paris Agreement on Saturday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. This legally-binding agreement marks the first time that all countries, both rich and poor, have committed to deep reductions in the pollutants that cause global warming – the previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only included commitments from rich, developed nations.

The 31-page agreement includes a commitment to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) compared to pre-industrial times, a level that scientists consider potentially dangerous, while striving to limit them even more, to 1.5°C. This will be difficult given that humans have raised global temperatures by 0.8°C since the industrial revolution, and that even if humans stopped increasing greenhouse gases today, global temperatures would likely rise another 0.8°C. This is due to the previously released greenhouse gases that continue to overheat the atmosphere due to their long lifetimes in the atmosphere as long as hundreds of years. So humans have committed the planet to a global temperature increase of 1.6°C already, leaving just 0.4°C wiggle room to keep temperatures below the dangerous level of 2°C, let alone the ambitious 1.5°C target. The Paris Agreement asks the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global authority on the science of global warming, to provide a special report in 2018 on how nations might be able to meet the 1.5°C target, a key demand of poorer, developing countries ravaged by the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. Continue reading

Will A Third Industrial Revolution Solve Climate Change

By Dr. Adam Fenech

IMG_5960I am in Paris this week for the climate conference seen as the last “do or die” chance at getting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions under control to limit the human increase in global average temperature to 2°C, above which is considered a “dangerous” level. Presently, 184 countries have submitted their intended plans for greenhouse gas reductions although, when totalled up, do not add up to resolve the issue. I have written earlier about some “magical” solutions to reduce the impacts of climate change that scientists call “geo-engineering solutions,” such as seeding the oceans with iron dust, but the discussions in Paris are focusing on ideas that are much more transformational for human society such as the concept of the “third industrial revolution” as proposed by author Jeremy Rifkin. Continue reading

Canada’s Commitment to Greenhouse Gas Reductions at Paris

By Dr. Adam Fenech

IMG_6191I am in Paris this week for the climate conference seen as the last “do or die” chance at getting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions under control to limit the human increase in global average temperature to 2°C, above which is considered a “dangerous” level. Presently, 184 countries have submitted their intended plans for greenhouse gas reductions with the country of Angola being the latest. Canada tabled their intentions back on May 15 of this year under the former Canadian Government of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. The Harper government provided Canada’s intention to achieve an economy-wide target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada pointed to its stringent coal fired electricity standards that ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units, and that accelerate the phase-out of existing coal-fired electricity generation units. Canada also noted action in the transportation sector by working closely with the United States towards common North American greenhouse gas standards for vehicles. As an example, 2025 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks are expected to emit about half as many greenhouse gases as 2008 models. Canada announced its intentions to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the fastest growing greenhouse gas globally; to develop regulations to address methane emissions from the oil and gas sector; as well as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas fired electricity, chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers through what it called Canada’s “responsible sector-by-sector regulatory approach that ensures Canada’s economic competitiveness is protected.”

But under a new Canadian Government led by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Canada won’t be arriving in Paris with any new targets to cut emissions further. That won’t happen until after the Paris climate talks, when premiers and territorial leaders meet to negotiate a new national approach to climate change. Instead, Canada announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta last week a contribution of $2.65 billion over the next five years towards an international climate fund to help developing countries fight climate change. Continue reading

Magic Solutions to Solve Climate Change

By Dr. Adam Fenech

IMG_5933I am in Paris this week for the climate conference seen as the last “do or die” chance at getting the world’s greenhouse gas emissions under control to limit the human increase in global average temperature to 2°C, above which is considered a “dangerous” level. Presently, 183 countries have submitted their intended plans for greenhouse gas reductions (the country of Pulau tabled their intentions this past weekend). So far, these do not total up to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that will keep the global temperature increases below the dangerous level, and with two weeks of intense negotiations ahead, I think that it is already clear that countries will not be able to do so. So what next? The public is looking for a magic solution to solve this crisis. Scientists call these geoengineering solutions, that is, ways in which humans can manipulate the global climate system and reduce the impacts of climate change. Lets take a look at three examples being considered, no matter how far fetched, including putting small particles high up in the atmosphere to deflect incoming solar radiation, seeding the world’s oceans with iron dust, and placing large mirrors up in space to reflect the sun’s rays. Continue reading