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City of Charlottetown hosts greenhouse gas and climate change talk

Rachel Lordahl, a student from Long Island, N.Y., who is in the veterinary medicine program at UPEI, was one of approximately 50 people who attended the greenhouse gas and climate change presentation recently. Lordahl says she found the presentation interesting and plans to ride her bike more often to classes at UPEI, carpool, take shorter showers and use energy efficient appliances to help reduce her carbon footprint. MAUREEN COULTER/THE GUARDIAN
Rachel Lordahl, a student from Long Island, N.Y., who is in the veterinary medicine program at UPEI, was one of approximately 50 people who attended the greenhouse gas and climate change presentation recently. Lordahl says she found the presentation interesting and plans to ride her bike more often to classes at UPEI, carpool, take shorter showers and use energy efficient appliances to help reduce her carbon footprint. MAUREEN COULTER/THE GUARDIAN - The Guardian

The City of Charlottetown wants residents to know more about climate change.

That is why it hosted a greenhouse gas and climate presentation in Charlottetown recently at the Receiver Brass Shop, an event that gave residents like Rachel Lordahl an opportunity to learn more about the challenges ahead.

Originally from Long Island, N.Y. and now a veterinary student at UPEI, Lordahl was one of the approximately 50 people who attended the presentation. She says she is concerned about climate change because it will affect future generations.

 “It’s going to be happening sooner than we expect,” said Lordahl, 25. “We have to really think about what we can do now, because although our changes won’t really affect us today, they will show effects later on in those generations.”

Stephanie Arnold, senior research assistant with the Climate Research Lab at UPEI, gave the presentation. She explained the basics of climate change and global warming and addressed common doubts and questions.

“I really wanted to give a reason to want to stop producing greenhouse gas emissions and also to adapt to climate change, because without that knowledge, they have no incentive to act, and without action, the climate change impacts we are seeing now will get much worse at an accelerated rate.”

Arnold covered a lot of facts during her presentation. She spoke about the effects globally and locally.  

She says Islanders should prepare for warmer temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, more intense storms, higher sea levels and oceans acidification.

Although this may translate to benefiting industries like tourism and agriculture in the short term, it will overall affect P.E.I. in a negative way.

Arnold said it will decouple important ecological relationships, increase water requirements for crops and turf grasses, create changes in timing and rate of recharging aquifers, more runoffs and more properties and infrastructure will be at risk of flooding and erosion.

Arnold said climate change options include mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation (preparing for and dealing with climate change).

Lordayl said she found the presentation interesting and asked what she could do on a daily basis to help lower her carbon footprint.

Arnold suggested greener transportation, limiting meat consumption and using more efficient home heating options.

Lordayl said she plans to ride her bike more to classes at UPEI, carpool, take shorter showers and use energy efficient appliances to help reduce her carbon footprint.

Arnold said the public has to be part of the solution.

She says it will cost everybody money, including individuals, businesses and government, but that it is necessary in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“There are a lot challenges on the way,” admits Arnold.

“We have to begin acting immediately and it can’t be small steps, they have to big bold actions that have a really big impact.”

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is being developed in five phases by the City of Charlottetown and is estimated to cost $125,000.

The aim is top help mayor and council chart a path to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions through reducing energy use in all sectors and by identifying opportunities for alternative energy sources.

For more information visit www.charlottetown.ca

 

Fact Box:

- The greenhouse gas effect is when the earth’s atmosphere acts like a greenhouse around the earth, trapping gases and warm air inside.

- Greenhouse gases are made up of carbon dioxide (82 per cent), methane (10 per cent), nitrous oxide (five per cent) and fluorinated gases (three per cent).

- Human activity increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, contributing to a warming of the earth’s surface.

- Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, is causing greenhouse gases to be released and trapped in the atmosphere at an alarming rate, leading to a significant change in the earth’s climate.

Source: The City of Charlottetown

Fact Box:

 Looking for feedback:

The City of Charlottetown is offering a number of initiatives and opportunities for public feedback on the greenhouse gas inventory and ideas for the reduction plan:

- An online survey on the city’s website

- A video contest for youth

- A community energy speaker session hosted by Mayor Clifford Lee at City Hall on Jan. 18 from 5:30-7 p.m.

maureen.coulter@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/MaureenElizaC

 

 

 

 

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