John Farrow introduced our guest speaker, Gavin Hutchison, who was here to speak with us about climate change.  Gavin has an engineering background and got inspired to be involved with spreading the word about climate change after reading the book,  The Weather Makers.   He was trained by Al Gore in 2012 on how to present on the topic of climate change.
 
So, why is our planet not a cold rock, like our moon?  It’s our atmosphere that provides a stable temperature, evaporation, precipitation and photosynthesis.  The stable temperature comes from the Greenhouse Effect. The sun’s rays warm the earth’s surface and our atmosphere hangs on to some of that heat for us.  Adding greenhouse gases like CO2 is like adding a second ‘blanket’ and causes more heat to be trapped and held on to in the atmosphere.  As a result, the earth’s temperature is increasing.  In 1988, it was reported that we’d already pushed the earth to its temperature variability limit, and should expect extreme weather events.
 
The last 3 decades have seen highest temperature increases, and the last 5 years on average have been the hottest on record.  224 locations around the world set all time heat records in 2018.  The oceans of the world are moderating the extreme temperatures – one of the consequences is an increase in hurricanes and their intensity.  The cost of the losses from extreme weather events in the last 2 years is $653 Billion.  Gavin ran us through a series of slides that, when presented on after another, made us realize just how many floods, droughts, fires, and hurricanes have been piling up, one one top of another, for many years.
 
So, what do we do?   The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 pointed the way.  The long term goal is to decrease global average temps to below industrialized levels.  This will be done by reducing carbon dioxide emission levels – down 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2040.  Canada will probably not meet our modest commitments of the Paris Accords.  Countries like Scotland have already met theirs. Transportation is the largest source of emissions in Ontario and we all need to be driving electric cars!  Tesla has announced electric semis for next year, which could significantly lower emissions, because we transport so many goods by truck. Buildings are another big source of emissions because of heat loss – insulate, insulate, insulate and switch to heat pumps!  This has an immediate positive impact.
 
What can we do besides this? Speak up!  Buy an electric car; eat less meat; make your home and business more energy efficient; buy a smaller car; buy a plug-in hybrid vehicle; buy a battery electric vehicle;  let our politicians know this matters!
 
Canadians are very high emitters among the countries of the world.  Europe, China and India are moving much more quickly than we are in North America.  The time to act is not now, it has already past.  We can't afford to wait any longer.
 
You are welcome to join 350Kingston.org.  Join the Friday climate change demonstrations at city hall.  For more info, go to ClimateRealityProject.org
 
Ed Thompson thanked Gavin for his very informative presentation.
 
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