Climate change conference renews local optimism

By Jessica Lepp
December 2, 2015 - 3:40pm Updated: December 2, 2015 - 6:14pm

KAMLOOPS — The optimism for a global deal at the Climate Change Conference in Paris is being felt at home here in Kamloops. A local environmentalist is encouraged by pledges made by nations with the highest emissions. 

According to Thompson Rivers University Lecturer Dr. Crystal Huscroft, glaciers are a good indication of the impacts of climate change. "We can expect our entire province to lose about 70 percent of ice volume 85 years from now. Locally in the Interior and Rocky Mountains, we can expect to lose 90 percent." Said Dr. Huscroft.

As glaciers continue to recede at a much faster pace due to increasing carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures, there is reason for concern.

"Glaciers are like nature's 'water town', they take precipitation that fell over the Winter and they hold it and release that water when it's most important for agriculture and for rivers and fish spawning. " said Dr. Huscroft. 

As world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier Christy Clark, meet in France to discuss climate change, there are calls in Kamloops for energy and emissions plans

"Incentives are one thing right now, there are rebates if you want to buy an electric vehicle, charging more for parking, making buses run more frequently. Lots of things that would encourage people to not drive as much and use public transit or walk and bicycle," said Cheryl Kabloona, Chair of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association.

The general consensus among most world leaders is that more needs to be done to protect the planet. The federal government has committed to spending $300 million per year on clean technology innovation, something that is being applauded locally.

"The new government is much more committed to addressing climate change. They committed $2.65 billion to help developing nations develop renewable energy so they wouldn't have to go into coal fire plants. That's on top of the pledge we have made as a nation to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions," said Kabloona.

Dr. Huscroft adds,"We need to cap the amount of carbon dioxide we are contributing to the atmosphere and all the various ways we contribute to it. Including the burning of fossil fuels, that would be the most important source here in Canada for heating our homes and transportation."

As leaders begin to leave the UN climate talks in Paris, there is renewed optimism for a major climate change agreement. 

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