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Available Expert - New UN Climate Change Report

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

With the new UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on Feb. 28, three Queen’s experts are available to speak to the report’s finding and recommendations. Focusing on how climate change is impacting humans and the natural world, the report calls for immediate, drastic action—including the need to protect over a third of the planet to ensure food and fresh water for future generations.

Marcus Taylor (Global Development Studies) is a contributing author to the IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report and an advisory member of the OECD’s Climate Adaptation Governance Task Team. He can speak to maladaptation—poorly designed adaptive measures with negative consequences—and his contributions to the report.

“The new IPCC report is sobering in its projection of climate change impacts upon both societies and ecosystems. It raises the prospect of cascading and compounding risks, leading to drastic consequences felt most severely in those regions that have done least to contribute to global heating. At the same time, the report—for which I was a contributing author—takes forward the prospect of feasible and effective adaptation options. For the first time, the IPCC also cautions on the risks of ‘maladaptation:’ the potential for poorly designed adaptive measures to have unintended negative impacts upon marginal sections of the population. This was the topic area in which I was able to contribute to the report based on my research in southern India on climate-resilience building projects. It raises the pressing need for new and evolving best practices in the design of climate change adaptation pathways to guide development planning over the coming decade,” says Dr. Taylor.

Ed Struzik (Policy Studies) is a leading international expert in the effects of climate change, including wildfires. The IPCC report identified wildfires as the top threat to Canada.

“It's no surprise that wildfire tops the IPCC list of threats to Canada. The warning signs have been flashing since 2003 when British Columbia burned so fiercely and when Jasper and Banff came with an inch of burning both townsites. Even polar bear country burned that year. Since then, we've seen mass evacuations of towns like Slave Lake and Fort McMurray and an alarming increase in the evacuations of First Nations communities. It will get worse, a lot worse because we have been slow in learning to live with fire,” says Prof. Struzik.

John Smol (Biology), Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, can speak to some of the ecological and environmental issues, including flooding and water quality in the North, covered in the report. 

“Each time we receive an IPCC report, the warnings get more urgent and more dire. The alarms keep get louder, and yet we seem quite content to press the “snooze button.” This report emphasizes the dangerous disconnect between the seriousness of the problem and our actions, and the fact that we are rapidly running out of time,” says Dr. Smol.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Victoria Klassen (343-363-1794 or victoria.klassen@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.  

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