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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Update 2017/12/20


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By Cori Marshall

Last week we reported on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Arctic Program's Arctic Report Card 2017. Findings in this year's report indicate that the region is changing in a way and at a rate unseen in millennia. We wanted to see what the Canadian perspective on this year's findings and reached out to officials on this side of the border.

We spoke with Samantha Bayard, Media Relations Spokesperson Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The department "agrees with the overall findings of the Arctic Report Card." Bayard added that the NOAA report "is consistent with our understanding of how climate has been changing in the Canadian Arctic."

    "Canada's Arctic is warming at about twice the rate of the rest of Canada, and nearly three times the global average."
    Samantha Bayard, Media Relations Spokesperson Environment and Climate Change Canada

The trends being observed in the Arctic will continue, "warming Arctic air temperatures are causing declines in snow cover, sea ice, and permafrost temperature," Bayard said. She added that "precipitation has also increased across Canada's north."

The report card indicated that there was a cooler spring and summer, and when asked what the response to that finding should be Bayard replied that "studies indicate that global action on carbon dioxide (CO2) and Short-lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) together is needed to meet the temperature goals in the Paris Agreement." She explained that "SLCP are potent greenhouse gases and air pollutants."

Successfully mitigating SLCP has "the potential to reduce global warming by approximately 0.7°C in the Arctic by 2040," Bayard said. ECCC published the Strategy on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants earlier in 2017, and Bayard explained that "implementation of this strategy will generate reductions from all key SLCP emissions sources." The strategy will be coordinated with the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

    "Canada's High Arctic is a region where the unprecedented challenge of climate change is most readily visible."
    Samantha Bayard, Media Relations Spokesperson Environment and Climate Change Canada

Black carbon has an additional warming effect when on snow or ice, Canada has set goals to reduce this SLCP "25% to 33% below 2013 levels," Bayard underlined. The goal is to reach this reduction by 2025.

Climate change is and will affect everyone to some degree, and this is why there are global agreements like Paris to address the changes. Bayard said the agreement "established a broad and deep consensus on the actions required to overcome the climate change challenge." In a world where concrete action is needed on very real problems, "we should be optimistic that the goals and ambitions of Paris remain very much alive."

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