Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions is predicted to raise temperatures in Manitoba four to six degrees Celsius within the next 50 to 100 years. While that might seem appealing during a mid-winter cold snap, these changes in temperature can have serious negative consequences that could forever alter the ecological balance of our province.
Rising global temperatures are predicted to affect Manitoba in several ways - more frequent droughts, more intense rainstorms that could cause problems in agricultural areas, unpredictable water levels in our rivers and lakes, dramatic reductions of our boreal forest and melting permafrost in our tundra region. Milder temperatures are already affecting the North in disturbing ways. Ice roads that many remote communities depend on are melting earlier and Manitoba's famous polar bear population is declining as a direct result of climate change.
Across the province, however, the negative consequences of climate change include increased uncertainty for farmers, forest industries, recreation and tourism. Recent years have seen historic floods, seasons of extreme precipitation and, paradoxically, severe droughts. These major weather fluctuations make planning decisions for business, farmers and local governments more difficult and riskier in terms of investments.