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Weathering What’s Ahead: Climate Change Risk and Nova Scotia’s Well-being

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

The Government of Nova Scotia - Department of Environment and Climate Change has released a new climate change risk assessment, Weathering What’s Ahead: Climate Change Risk and Nova Scotia’s Well-being. The risk assessment helps us understand how the climate is changing, issues of concern, and opportunities to act. It explores what is at risk and the different effects of climate change on the well-being of Nova Scotians.

Human activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat within our atmosphere, warming the planet, and changing the climate. Climate scientists use projection models to illustrate how climate change will impact Nova Scotia in the coming decades. They base these models on amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. With continued high global emissions, Nova Scotia can expect these climate changes:

  • Temperatures will continue to rise.

  • We will have less snow and more rain.

  • The rain will be more intense.

  • Storms will be more frequent and intense.

  • The sea level will continue to rise.

  • Ocean temperatures, oxygen, and acidity levels will change.

Not all Nova Scotians will be impacted equally, with different hazards emerging over time. Therefore adaptation strategies need to be customized to the region. It is recommended that we immediately focus on areas that are already affecting us and will only get worse. This includes sea level rise, higher temperatures, and flooding.

This assessment also identified specific areas that are worth exploring further. All are at risk from multiple climate threats and very important to Nova Scotians.

  • Housing is essential to well-being and our ability to withstand climate threats like flooding, storms, and heat extremes. If housing is vulnerable, we are vulnerable.

  • Healthcare could see more physical and mental health challenges. Extreme events could lead to more heat-related illnesses and poorer mental health. Poorer air quality could lead to more respiratory illnesses.

  • Forest and wetland ecosystems and the species that live in them face a range of hazards and other environmental pressures. This can affect their ability to provide clean air and water, recreation, and support livelihoods.

With reliable scientific information, Nova Scotians can develop strategies that address the effects of climate change and protect the resources that contribute to our well-being. This risk assessment shows that we must adapt to what is already happening, and plan for the changes to come.

Read the full report.

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