A report from the Canadian Council of Academies offers more alarming research about the impact of climate change, with no dissenting opinions
The thing to keep in mind when it comes to taking in what the Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) has to say in the report it’s releasing today on climate change is that the council has a deep aversion to making outlandish statements or wading into rough political waters.
So the conclusions in Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks, a report commissioned last year by the Treasury Board of Canada—the federal government’s management arm—need to be read as especially alarming because the CCA just isn’t prone to being alarmist.
“Climate change is very likely to cause significant negative impacts across many natural and human systems in Canada over the next 20 years,” the report warns. And that’s not even close to the worst-case scenario. The consequences of climate change caused by humans pumping out greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mostly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, are too complex for even the top experts to be confident about how bad it could get.
“Data limitations and evidence gaps hinder understanding of many likely impacts of a changing climate, especially where interactions among economic, natural, and social systems could lead to cascading consequences,” the CCA’s expert panel says. “Tipping points in natural systems and climate dynamics could lead to runaway climate change and impacts impossible to reverse on the scale of centuries or millennia.”
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