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Climate Change & Toronto

TOperson

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I think about events coming in 2s or 3s.

E.g. a prolonged heatwave AND electrical blackouts (like in Aug 2003, but for much longer). Do we allow people more time off work to cope with the knock-on effects like lack of sleep due to hot nights with no AC, family members who can't be left alone in the heat, improvising ways to prepare a meal without a working stove or fridge. On an individual level it's not usually a problem for someone to take a day or two, but what if tens of thousands of people need to do so, for several days straight? The city would have to function very differently, but how?

I think that we often assume that crises will blow over in a few days and then everything will return to normal. But it's my understanding that "stuck" weather is one of the things we're in for and I don't think we're prepared for 2-week crises.
 

TOperson

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And conversely you can't separate one event as proof of a series of events.

I haven't done that. I said this event occurred "right on the heels of" similar events, i.e. a series. The series happened; I don't have to prove anything.

It won't. Floods happen. Storms happen. Climate change has been gradual enough that it's not going to provoke a "tipping point" for people who are otherwise unwilling to "be prepared to discuss climate change", whatever that may mean.

I certainly agree that the tipping point will never come for some people. As for being prepared to discuss climate change - I'd settle for people being willing to discuss it at all, which is more than what happens now, in general.
 

TOperson

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Another thought: this thread has so far developed in a fairly predictable way. People get bogged down in disputing the source or interpretation of data, "correcting" assumptions they assume others have made, etc. And they say far less about what to actually DO about climate change. I wonder if that is part of the psychology of this thing. The critiquing etc is a displacement activity for the much harder & scarier task of thinking up a response.

I confess I'm not really sure what to do either. E.g. if the power goes out in my building, the pumps don't work so I can't get water to my 16th floor apartment. I haven't even thought about how I would get water during a prolonged blackout. But I should.
 

junior43

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Another thought: this thread has so far developed in a fairly predictable way. People get bogged down in disputing the source or interpretation of data, "correcting" assumptions they assume others have made, etc. And they say far less about what to actually DO about climate change. I wonder if that is part of the psychology of this thing. The critiquing etc is a displacement activity for the much harder & scarier task of thinking up a response.

I confess I'm not really sure what to do either. E.g. if the power goes out in my building, the pumps don't work so I can't get water to my 16th floor apartment. I haven't even thought about how I would get water during a prolonged blackout. But I should.
IMO you're over reacting. Any disaster that continued for days/weeks would have the Red Cross and Army coming in to help.

Buy a couple gallon jugs of water, leave them in your closet - and some alpha getti or similar canned stuff. May taste like crap cold, but it still feeds you - and have a manual can opener handy........
 

picard102

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You are assuming the climatic system doesn't have tipping points, which is cozy but not true.
I said has been gradual. A few storms isn't so unusual that people would see it in the same vein as a sudden shift in the environment. If we all of a sudden had floods every weekend, then people would take notice.
 

RC8

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Almost no one in this thread has disputed that climate change is 'real' and that Toronto will suffer as a result of it, I'm just pointing out that using anecdotal evidence to rally for action against climate change tends to backfire.

I've been saying for a very long time now that we should focus on building mid-rises rather than houses and high-rises simply because they are more solid and reliable than any other built-form. In the case of a power outage people can still walk down the stairs and carry on, but if built properly their foundations will resist flooding and no one will lose their shelter to a storm.

Likewise, it is very important that we build the city in such a way that non-motorised transport can take you easily from any point to any other point. Then if we have back-up electricity generators that work with gasoline we can prioritise heating or cooling over moving cars should we have to make that choice.

We should naturalise the more urban areas of our city so that water can be reabsorbed by the earth rather than funnelled directly to rivers which will obviously flood. I studied water levels in the Rouge last summer and an increase of impervious surfaces was linked to increased water volumes in the river (as well as to increased water pollution).

On a similar note, we should strive for our rivers and lakes to have water so clean and ecosystems so healthy that we can safely use it as drinking water with little processing.

The beauty is that all of the above measures would also help us attack the root of climate change while we simultaneously adapt to its consequences.
 

TOperson

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IMO you're over reacting. Any disaster that continued for days/weeks would have the Red Cross and Army coming in to help.

Buy a couple gallon jugs of water, leave them in your closet - and some alpha getti or similar canned stuff. May taste like crap cold, but it still feeds you - and have a manual can opener handy........
I'm not sure we can just assume that the Red Cross or army will be able to provide the necessary help for hundreds of thousands of people for weeks at a stretch. The track record for that kind of help for that long of a period is patchy. E.g. NY/NJ after Sandy.
 

TOperson

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Almost no one in this thread has disputed that climate change is 'real' and that Toronto will suffer as a result of it, I'm just pointing out that using anecdotal evidence to rally for action against climate change tends to backfire.
No one on this thread is doing that. And if someone were doing that, how would it "backfire"?

I've been saying for a very long time now that we should focus on building mid-rises... We should naturalise the more urban areas of our city so that water can be reabsorbed by the earth rather than funnelled directly to rivers which will obviously flood... On a similar note, we should strive for our rivers and lakes to have water so clean and ecosystems so healthy that we can safely use it as drinking water with little processing.
So we should de-urbanize and de-industrialize. I agree!
 

nfitz

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Is it troll bait when it's backed up by thousands of research scientists?
Thousands of research scientists have opined on last night's storm? Pull the other one.

One can believe in climate change, without agreeing that last night's storm is proof of climate change, which is the focus of this thread.

How did the flooding last night compare to the 100-year flood lines? How did it compare to the 20-year flood lines?

And speaking of this thread, I'm not sure why it isn't in the general weather thread - http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/showthread.php/5036-The-Weather
 
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RC8

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No one on this thread is doing that. And if someone were doing that, how would it "backfire"?
You may get a Fordista climate change denialist pointing out, correctly, that one storm doesn't prove climate is changing. Then that would sway the neutrals against you before any of the solid evidence is presented. I've seen this happen a number of times, and it's ultimately what led to the end of climate change activism momentum we had 5 years ago.

So we should de-urbanize and de-industrialize. I agree!
More like re-urbanise and re-industrialise differently. The focus should be on people rather than cars, on local resources rather than global trade, and on energy efficiency and reliability rather than status symbols like the high-rises and giant cardboard homes of today.
 

junior43

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I'm not sure we can just assume that the Red Cross or army will be able to provide the necessary help for hundreds of thousands of people for weeks at a stretch. The track record for that kind of help for that long of a period is patchy. E.g. NY/NJ after Sandy.
If you're that paranoid, then buy a skid of water and a skid alphagetti and store them somewhere handy.

It'd be like Katrina, they'd ship off people to nearby cities to get assistance there.

Do you seriously think the government would abandon Toronto? 20% of the population base of the country (and economy) is here, they'd continue to help - if they ever want to get elected again.
 

TOperson

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Thousands of research scientists have opined on last night's storm? Pull the other one.

One can believe in climate change, without agreeing that last night's storm is proof of climate change, which is the focus of this thread.

How did the flooding last night compare to the 100-year flood lines? How did it compare to the 20-year flood lines?

And speaking of this thread, I'm not sure why it isn't in the general weather thread - http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/showthread.php/5036-The-Weather
See the title of the thread. This is about climate change. I mentioned the storm in passing, as in: we just had another extreme weather event, we need to talk.
 

nfitz

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See the title of the thread. This is about climate change.
See the first post in the thread. Which starts with "After last night's record-setting storm, can we finally admit that the climate is changing? "

As a single storm can never be evidence of climate change, the answer is no.

I mentioned the storm in passing, as in: we just had another extreme weather event, we need to talk.
Was it an extreme flooding event though? How does the flooding compare to the 100-year flood lines? I haven't seen anything flooded by rivers that doesn't seem to be in the floodplain. We aren't seeing houses flooded by rivers, which is what you see when the flood is higher than the predicted flood lines.
 

TOperson

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If you're that paranoid, then buy a skid of water and a skid alphagetti and store them somewhere handy.

It'd be like Katrina, they'd ship off people to nearby cities to get assistance there.

Do you seriously think the government would abandon Toronto? 20% of the population base of the country (and economy) is here, they'd continue to help - if they ever want to get elected again.
I REALLY hope no one thinks Katrina is a model of an effective disaster response.

I didn't say that I thought the government would "abandon" Toronto. But it could easily just be incompetent, not really prepared, or have other crises to deal with at the same time, ultimately giving Toronto an inadequate response.

And I don't think "let's wait until SHTF, and let the government take care of it" is a good plan.
 

TOperson

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See the first post in the thread. Which starts with "After last night's record-setting storm, can we finally admit that the climate is changing? "

As a single storm can never be evidence of climate change, the answer is no.

Was it an extreme flooding event though? How does the flooding compare to the 100-year flood lines? I haven't seen anything flooded by rivers that doesn't seem to be in the floodplain. We aren't seeing houses flooded by rivers, which is what you see when the flood is higher than the predicted flood lines.
Usually the title of something is the big indicator of what it is all about, not just a single phrase. And the phrase doesn't mean "the storm is proof of climate change", it's proof of an extreme weather event, and more extreme weather events are part of climate change.

I hope you are not seriously questioning whether last night's flooding was serious. I'm sure the people rescued from the flooded GO train don't much care exactly where the water line ended up.
 
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