Friday, July 20, 2007

Ontario launching climate-change website

Toronto Globe and Mail: In a project that serves as both seer and censure, the Ontario government has launched an online climate change map that graphically shows a hotter, drying province is on its way.

But just how hot, and how dry, is far from decided. The story may not be new, but the provincial government hopes new ways of telling people will trigger the change needed to protect Ontario's future.

The interactive map ( presents a basic, functional look at what could happen in the coming 100 years under two scenarios: greenhouse gas emissions go up, or they go down. By mapping out the temperature and rainfall changes likely with each predicament in the next 40, 70 and 100 years, it is clear that change is on the way.

The province's north is set to warm significantly, posing a large danger for permafrost and the people and animals that rely on it, while higher temperatures and lower rainfall in southern areas spell higher forest fire danger and the potential for diseases like Lyme's disease to expand in range, Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay told The Globe.

“We know this is coming one way or the other,” Mr. Ramsay said. “To what extreme is still unknown.” The dire forecasts are not new, but Mr. Ramsay said he hopes tools like the interactive map will help “shake people up a little bit”.

“We're the generation that helped cause this mess. We have to make sure we help change it,” he said.

…Peter Ewins, director of species conservation at World Wildlife Fund Canada, said the reduction of greenhouse gases must be a holistic effort from governments, businesses and individuals…

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