An increase in temperature
- Already occurring: 1.3 degrees Celsius in last 30 years
- Expected to occur: 2 to 2.6 degrees Celsius increase by 2050
An increase in precipitation
- Already occurring: Increase of 12 per cent over last 50 years
- Expected to occur: 5.1 per cent increase by 2050
A decrease in freshwater levels
- Already occurring: The period of ice cover on the great lakes has shortened by about one to two months over the last 100 to 150 years. This means for a larger part of the year, water is able to evaporate.
- Expected to occur: Decrease of 0.5 metres by 2050
Extreme weather (wind, hail, ice, snow, tornadoes)
- Already occurring: 28 heavy rain events from 1979-2009. An increase in extreme hot days and extreme wind events already noticeable.
- Expected to occur: Intense rain events will increase as much as 10 per cent by 2050.
Source: Milestone 2 and the Science of Climate Change, Climate Data for Oakville, ON, ICLEI, March 1, 2011
Each of the above climatic changes can have significant effects on human health, the local economy, our built environment and our natural environment. Coastal regions are experiencing sea level rise which may subsequently affect the GTA with a greater number of people moving in-land.
Climate change mitigation versus adaptation
When discussing the issue of climate change the terms mitigation and adaptation are used frequently.
According to ICLEI, climate change mitigation refers to the promotion of policy, regulatory and project-based measures that contribute to the stabilization or reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Renewable energy programs, energy efficiency frameworks and the substitution of fossil fuels are examples of climate change mitigation measures.
The town has been taking inventory of our greenhouse gas emissions and has implemented the following climate change mitigation programs:
Partners for Climate Protection Program
Energy Conservation and Green Energy Programs
Wildlife and Biodiversity
Monitoring and Indicators
Climate change adaptation includes any initiatives or actions in response to actual or projected climate change impacts that reduce the effects of climate change on built, natural and social systems.
Preparing for climate change adaptation does not negate the need to support and implement mitigation measures, it is just another method of dealing with the climatic change impacts.