Q & A: Why Climate Change is an Ageing Issue
Q&A with Dr. Samantha Green, President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Q: To start with, can you give us a brief recap of what the changing climate will mean for conditions here in Canada?
A: So right now we're sitting at about 1.2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, and in the coming decades we will hit 1.5 degrees, and at current rates it's projected that we’ll actually hit more than 3 degrees of warming by the end of the century. Here in Canada, we're warming at twice the global rate. What that means is we're going to be seeing more erratic weather, more extreme weather events, including extreme heat. We'll also see an increase in in wildfires. We'll see more flooding, more drought, an increase in hurricanes.
And then there are also changing infectious disease patterns. So, for example, Lyme disease has been creeping northward. And climate change is also a driver for pandemics — as the climate warms, we will see a destruction in biodiversity, and we'll see humans and animal vectors coming closer together. So likely we'll see future pandemics related to the changing climate.
We'll also see changes in food security as a result of global drought and flooding, and we’ll see migration. And that'll be global migration, but also within Canada — there may be communities who will be forced to relocate, especially Indigenous communities.
National Institute on Ageing
Jul 26, 2023
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