There’s no disputing that climate change is bad and must be dealt with if human life is to continue without significant disruptions.
The scientific warnings are dire and overwhelming — we must stop the Earth’s warming or suffer the consequences.
Not everyone believes this to be true, of course, and even those who do aren’t always very good about doing what is needed to ward off disaster.
However, the general consensus among the majority of people who believe in human-caused climate change is that it is a bad thing, something to be avoided.
But there’s a wrinkle, at least for prairie agriculture — some reports seem to indicate that climate change would actually be a good thing.
We’ve been told that it would improve growing conditions in the region and that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would actually help plants grower better.
Most recently, in our June 18 issue, The Western Producer ran a story quoting market analysts as saying that climate change is going to drastically increase demand for Canadian canola because it is already slashing production in other parts of the world, mainly Europe and Australia.
But before we get too excited, we should probably all take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture.
Yes, it does appear as if our part of the world might escape the full brunt of a global climate run amok, but it’s not as simple as that.
While growing conditions might improve, our crops would still need water, and a consensus is building that water availability on the Prairies will likely be significantly challenged by climate change.
Even if we received the same amount of rainfall that we do now, water scientists tell us it will come in a small number of heavy downpours that won’t be as useful as a larger number of light rains.
As well, the shrinking glaciers and mountain snowpack don’t bode well for river supply when it’s most needed.
And finally, prairie residents don’t live in a bubble. We won’t escape the turmoil caused by the devastation that climate change is expected to unleash on the world.
It might be weird to hear about the positive side of a global catastrophe, but we can’t lose sight of one inevitable fact — climate change is bad.