The term ‘Climate Change’ refers to a change in either the average state of the climate or in its variability that persists for an extended period – typically decades or longer. Climate Change may be due to natural processes, such as volcanic activity, variability in ocean currents, wobble in the Earth’s axis, changes in solar output and to human activities that result in atmospheric changes.
Climate Change is a global phenomenon that is currently attributed mainly to human activities resulting in increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). Collectively these gases are known as Greenhouse Gases (GHGs).
Leading scientists, politicians, insurance companies, and economists are recognizing that increased GHG levels are contributing to a rise in global temperature, and that this will cause changes in our climate. The recorded one degree increase in global temperature means that the atmosphere is capable of holding 7% more moisture. This has significant impact on our weather patterns.
It is generally accepted that with an increasing global temperature, the Earth will experience more frequent and more severe weather events. Severe rain events may punctuate longer and more frequent periods of drought or water restrictions, for example. The severity, volatility, and variability of climate changes remain unknown for specific locations, but it is known that temperatures are warming. While a rise in temperature may mean a longer, more productive growing season in much of Canada, it may also have the potential to disrupt farm operations in a number of ways, including:
- More frequent, extreme weather events (storms and droughts)
- Increased requirement for irrigation water
- Increased plant damage from new (invasive) and existing weeds and insects
- Movement of human and livestock diseases into Canada from lower-latitudes
- Lower livestock productivity (including conception rates) due to thermal stress
The OFA position statement is intended to make clear our recognition of the situation according to current evidence.