Muskoka To-DAILY

Trump’s Paris pullout trumps daming health unit report on climate change on local Simcoe-Muskoka environment

Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAILY.com

BARRIE Donald Trump’s recent pullout from the Paris climate accord trumped a major new climate report issued last month by the local health unit.

The U.S. withdrawal – which has harmful repercussions right away – comes amid months of damning local research.

The 200-page report, presented here to the local board of health in May, explores the likely changes to air quality, precipitation, weather extremes, and the health risks that could result.

That was before Trump’s bombshell.

According to Marina Whelan, manager of health hazards for the health unit, children born today in Simcoe-Muskoka may see the local climate resembling Mississippi’s by the time they reach retirement age, if the average annual temperature keeps climbing at the same rate.
That was the sobering introduction to a technical assessment on the impact of climate change on health in this region, prepared by the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.

All projections were based on the assumption that the average annual temperature would continue on its current upward trend.
“Global surface temperature in 2016 was the warmest since official records began in 1880; it was the third year in a row to set a new heat record,” Whelan is quoted in a health unit release Wednesday.

“In 1958, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was 315 ppm and now exceeds 400 ppm. This represents about a 25 per cent increase and has greenhouse gas levels tracking on a ‘worst case scenario’ trend. As a result we have had to base this health vulnerability assessment on a model that shows the climate continuing to warm.”
Her report says the health impacts of climate change range from the dramatic-injuries and property loss from ice storms, forest fires and floods-to more subtle changes, such as the effect of increased ground level ozone on respiratory disease, more frequent blooms of blue-green algae threatening drinking water, and more frequent illness from insect-borne diseases like Lyme disease.

It also highlights opportunities for reducing greenhouse gases.
Whelan pointed out that the report’s language is very technical; but a more reader-friendly version will be created in the near future.

Before being released, the report received extensive review from experts with the City of Barrie; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Health Canada; the Public Health Agency of Canada; Public Health Ontario; the Muskoka Watershed Council; and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority.
The health unit says its strategic plan sets the goal of a climate change action plan as a top priority.

The health unit release says teh report is one of the first initiatives to emerge from the planning and will serve as a tool to help the health unit engage with municipalities, conservation authorities, and other community agencies to build greater resilience to the impact on health of a changing local climate, and to share steps that could reduce the severity of climate change.

Short URL: http://www.muskokatodaily.com/?p=27775

Posted by on Jun 7 2017. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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