Global Warming And The Effects On Canada
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Published: Tue, 02 May 2017
In the past couple of decades, the world has seen a drastic change in the rise of climate alterations and resource scarcity. This is mainly due to the affects from carbon pollution, greenhouse gases and global warming. The highest concerns with global warming are those of carbon pollution that not only harms the environment but also the ozone layers. Canada is one major example of a country where global warming has affected its climate and its forestry in both positive and negative ways. However, the positive impacts are dimmer than the negative affects. The paper will give a clear insight of how global warming has affected Canada both positively and adversely in terms of its economy, soil, forestry, and environment.
Global warming occurs when the Earth’s temperature shows an abnormal increase due to the effects from pollution and greenhouse gases being trapped in the atmosphere (World Almanac, 2000). Carbon pollutions are one of the greatest root effects of severe hot climate changes. This is clear evidence in Canada where as global warming has gradually increased the temperature and has caused drastic changes in the environment. Globally, Canada is dominantly known as the highest carbon polluters in the world, second to Unites States. The emissions have risen more than 30 percent since the last decade (Leahy, 2010). These emissions directly contribute to the long lasting affect of global warming on climate and Canadian soil. Most Canadian cities annually produce about 20 tons of carbon dioxide per capita, placing Canada among top three nations in terms of per capita contribution to potential climate changes (Roseland, Connelly, and Hendrickson, 2005). The major gain from this trend of pollution will only further assist in the path of global warming where temperature rising would be inevitable and will cause more damage in the near future. The rise in temperatures would proportionally harm Canada’s Boreal forests. Over the past six decades, the mean temperature in Canada has warmed by 1.4 degree Celsius and six have occurred within past decade. Due to Canada having a large forestry industry, the impact from global warming in this sector of the environment is very significant. Health is another factor that would be positively and negatively be affected due to climate changes cause by global warming. With greater heat waves, respiratory ailments that are due to air pollution would increase and tropical diseases would also increase (West Nile Virus) at the same time (Whitgott et. al., 2010). However, the diseases from cold weather would decrease at the same time.
Effects are made by the government and pressure from scientists and individuals who are favor of the idea of having a protected wilderness/ forestry yet, the climate change becomes an obstacle with greater chance of damage done to the system then preserved. As climate changes become more drastic and unfavorable, the effect on Canada’s forest gets more severe. With increase in global warming, there is an increase in forest fires, habitat destruction, and many drought stresses. Although forest fires are essential to forest as it is a key factor that maintains the diversity of an ecosystem, but many recent forest fires are caused by unnatural consequences. The main cause of forest fires remains the climate change and human- caused origins. The human cause increase in forest fire is solely dependent on human occupation and extensive usage of the boreal forest and resources (Weber and Stocks, 1998). In many cases, lightning causes are also directly related to the increase in forest fires. The increase lightning-caused fires are due to the facts that there is an increase in CO2 emission in the atmosphere. Climate changes in boreal forest generally predict warmer and drier conditions, which directly causes fire. The habitat destruction/modification is another aspect of the climate change due to global warming that negatively impacts the forests in Canada. In the boreal region of Canada, pest-caused timber losses are as much as two times the annual depletion due to the fires (Volney, 2000). As global warming takes its toll, the warmer weather and shorter winters would only cumulate to favor the pests that will infest many trees (pine in particular) and slow the reproduction as well. Thus, being a threat to Canada’s largest timber industries. With increase in temperature, and rise in carbon dioxide emission, it only adds up to the precipitation and increase in droughts. As the glaciers melt due to warm conditions, it consequently affects the sea level which then affects the forest growth with impact of both variations in warmness and precipitation (Wien and Hogg, 2005).
The Canadian animals and fisheries are also affected by global warming causing climate changes. Species with limited biological traits are currently at risk of being extinct with least capabilities to adapt naturally. It was determined that climate change may have negative affections on endangered species in Canada (Lundy, 2008). Migratory birds and aquatic species such as some types of fishes are at risk of being extinct. Atlantic salmon and whitefishes are considered as endangered species due to climate changes. Under climate change, the Atlantic salmon and whitefishes will be threatened by loss of suitable habitat conditions which is mainly due to warmer water temperatures (Lundy, 2008). With respect to birds, Barn Owls and Eskimo Curlews are also some examples of birds that are negatively impacted by climate changes under global warming. Climate changes have been the potential cause of the reduction in the population of these birds. These birds have been northward shifted due to temperature rises and to some extent, due to warming of the northern coastal and freshwater ecosystem used for breeding purposes (Lundy, 2008). However, with warmer temperatures, birds and fisheries that are adaptive to the system of warmer weather will migrate to places such as Canada for their breeding purposes. Signs of tropical birds have already been traced in some parts of the country as well as some new breeds of fishes that were not present before. In addition, due to warm temperatures, fishes such as bass and sturgeons would be benefiting as their habitat would expand. Thus, these are some positive impacts of climate changes in Canada.
The climate change due to global warming is also adversely affecting the farmers in Canada. Longer and warmer growing seasons would inevitably give a higher yield, but it would also cause severe droughts in some parts of the country such as the prairies (Bohn, 1995). Some places in prairies would become too dry to grow grain crops, which would result in migration of the cropland to areas where grain crop is grown with proper climate. Because of dry conditions, rich crop nutrients would give a rise to dust storms. For instance, because of global warming, the potato crops were suffered due to heavy drought and minimum rainfalls. This was mainly due to high temperatures that were recorded in the prairies. In addition, the frequent droughts have resulted in the promotion of soil erosion, which directly encourages forest fires and harming the agriculture sector at the same time. Thus, irrigation is one of the options farmers are now willing to take in order to protect the land and the demanded crops. In terms of economic sustainability, as shortages accumulates, due to droughts, the cost of food would increase automatically. On the other hand, climate change caused by global warming is also seen beneficial to the crops and maximizing the production. Since plants thrive on carbon dioxide that is released in the atmosphere by humans, greater carbon dioxide level in atmosphere could also result in greater production and availability of foods (Bohn, 1995). This is only established if the farmers adapt and are willing to move and tackle the droughts by planting variety of crops. However, the benefit is clearly depended upon the farmers’ adaptation towards the changes in climate. Thus, the negative impacts are still greater than those of the positive ones.
Rising sea levels would also be negatively impacted and would affect the coastal zones. As warmer temperatures shifts northwards, the glaciers would inevitably melt which would cause a rise in sea levels. This would directly impact the beaches, the coasts, and water quality. The beaches would result in greater erosion, there would be greater coastal flooding and there would also be mixture of saltwater into aquifers. It is predicted that by the end of 21st century, the sea level would increase to 18-59 cm depending upon the amount of pollution (Whitgott et. al., 2010). This would eventually lead to migration of people moving upwards. Thus, because of pollution and contaminated water quality, the recreation and tourism in Canada would also be negatively affected. Because of prolong summers and the rise in sea levels, the beach maintenance would increase with an increase in erosion at the same time.
On the contrary, climate change due to global warming has its own significant positive impacts. For instance, higher wind speed in mid-latitude would decrease the cost of wave and wind energy (Tol, 2007). With reduced ice glaciers in the Arctic, there is more access to the harbors and less exploitation cost of extraction of oil and minerals in the Arctic. In addition, the warm temperatures could also aid in improving transportation in Canada. With shorter winter periods, there are capabilities to connect new routes from north end to south end. The cost of transportation would also subsequently decrease with more efficient services. The climate change can also bring forth tourist towards the poles and directly up to the mountains (Tol, 2007). Because of increase in tourism, there would be an increase in revenue for Canada. With warmer climate due to global warming, there are presence signs of diverse tropical birds/fishes and vascular plants that are adaptive to the temperature change occurring in Canada. Fork three-awned grasses are spotted in Ontario and Quebec (Lundy, 2008). These plants are northwardly shifted due to the change in climate. In addition, small-flowered sand verbenas are also positively impacted by climate change in Canada. These particular vascular plants are more likely to increase in growth in Canada as warmer and drying seasons increase. Night snakes and Northern Bobwhites are two types of species that are positively impacted by the climate change in Canada. The night snakes may stand to benefit from the climate change occurrence in Canada as these reptiles would be more adaptive to the newer climate changes. These species prefer areas where it’s hot, dry and desert like. Thus, as global warming takes its toll in Canada, these species will be more profoundly be spotted in British Colombia. Northern Bobwhite birds are another example of species that will be positively impacted by climate change in Canada. Over the past century, these birds have decreased in population due to habitat loss, but under high carbon dioxide emissions, the bobwhite birds would be northerly shifted towards Canada. Thus, climate change due to global warming would favor the growth of Bobwhite Birds across Canada. However, even with the positive impacts due to climate change, the negative effects are more severe and needs close attentions in order to prevent the loss in habitats or other species.
To conclude, the negative impacts would more likely have greater importance and would cause severe damage to the environment as global warming rapidly influences the climate change in Canada. In order to prevent further harm done by global warming, it is important for individuals to reduce the greenhouse gases and high pollution that are caused by them. Furthermore, adaptation and mitigations are two other responses against the change in climate. By mitigating, government can take a step towards educating individuals to take responsibilities and reduce greenhouse gases to lessen severity of future climate changes. Farmers can adapt to the change in climate and start to analyze the scenario in a positive manner. By adjusting farming practices to muddle through with the droughts caused by climate change, the economical harm would be minimized. Thus, tactical strategies are needed to tackle the issue cause by global warming. Although there are positive impacts to global warming, yet the positive impacts are minimal compare to the damage done by the negative impacts.
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