Climate Change Facts

The scientific community has confirmed that global climate change is not something that could happen: it is what we are already witnessing right now — in the form of melting glaciers, higher sea levels, and more extreme weather events.

On greenhouse gas emissions

Since the industrial age, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has grown by more than a third — from 280 ppm to 385 ppm — primarily as a result of our reliance on fossil fuels. Between 1970 and 2004, global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities grew by 70%. CO2 emissions alone grew by 80%.

On Canada’s contribution to climate change

While Canada contributes about 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, our per capita emissions are still about four times higher than China’s and more than ten times higher than India’s. Per capita, Canada emits about twice as much as Norway and three times as much as Sweden. Canada continues to lag behind other developed countries in implementing solutions.

On the temperature of the Earth

The average surface temperature of the Earth has risen by about 0.7 degrees Celsius over the past century. For each of the next two decades, the average surface temperature of the Earth is expected to increase by another 0.2°C, bringing the total increase since pre-industrial times to 1.1°C.

On the forecast for the 21st century

Scientists tell us that a business-as-usual approach would be catastrophic, raising the average surface temperature of the Earth by as much as 4-6°C by 2100. Staying within the recommended upper-limit of 2°C would require that global greenhouse gas emissions fall by as much as 80% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050.