Climate extremes: Quebec must be prepared

Quebec is not ready to face climatic extremes.

Climate extremes: Quebec must be prepared

Quebec is not ready to face climatic extremes. We were not so 25 years ago during the big ice storm and we are hardly more so today.

Despite all the knowledge we have.

Despite the fine speeches of politicians.

Despite Hydro-Québec's Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the work of its brave employees. Including Christmas Day this year...

What is your plan B?

Experiencing the violence of a real storm and a power outage that lasts for days, even weeks like in 1998, makes it possible to realize the extent of our vulnerability.

Seeing and hearing trees crashing, feeling the walls vibrating and the wind rushing through all the cracks of our houses, it gives chills. Even the bravest.

If you had to go the next 35 days without electricity, what would you do to keep warm, cook, get water, get information, communicate with your family or the emergency services?

It's so easy to take our way of life for granted and even our ability to survive in extreme situations. As if the climate crisis is just for “other people”, in California, Pakistan and everywhere else where people are already suffering from it.

Call to lucidity

Even if the reduction of GHGs remains a priority, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that humanity will manage to contain global warming between 1.5°C and 2°C. The commitments made under the Paris Agreement lead instead to a warming of 2.7°C, or even worse, considering current trends.

Like the rest of the planet, Quebec must prepare to experience more and more climate extremes. Heat waves, droughts, floods and violent winds in all seasons and over vast territories are to be expected. Some places will no longer be habitable.

Power outages will become more frequent. We must expect shortages of drinking water, even if we live in a territory where we believe our reserves are inexhaustible.

How to become more resilient?

To adapt, we must rethink our energy infrastructure, but also our aqueducts and our roads.

It is obviously imperative to renovate and build our buildings differently so that they are more energy efficient, stronger and require less water. Our building codes need to be reviewed urgently.

From agriculture to health, all of our systems must adapt.

Using short circuits in a circular economy should go without saying, not only to reduce the size of our ecological footprint, but simply to be able to meet our needs.

Inspired by nature where nothing is lost, nothing is created and everything is transformed, the circular economy reduces the waste of energy and raw materials by reintegrating used materials as resources in the production cycle.

In a world in great upheaval, we will have to be able to innovate, but above all to show solidarity. As we knew how to do during the big ice storm and the COVID.

It is clear that solidarity is a wonderful antidote against suffering. It does good to those who give as much as to those who receive.

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