Icebergs off N.L. coast ‘very dangerous,’ sign of climate change: federal environment minister


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‘We will see more of that, more multi-year ice that is separating and coming south’

CBC News · Posted: May 23, 2019 7:48 PM NT | Last Updated: May 23

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says mayors across the country need to be acting on climate change. (Marie Isabelle Rochon/CBC)

The federal minister of environment and climate change is sounding the alarm on how climate change could impact Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I know everyone’s looking at the icebergs that you can see off the coast — that may be nice, may be a good tourist attraction, but it’s also very dangerous,” said Catherine McKenna, who was in St. John’s on Thursday.

“And we will see more of that, more multi-year ice that is separating and coming south. That’s an issue for folks who are out on the waters.”

McKenna was joined by St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen, after the two participated in a roundtable discussion about Canada’s Changing Climate Report.

“Mayors don’t have the luxury of pretending climate changes aren’t having a serious impact right now because they are the ones who need to be acting,” McKenna said.

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McKenna said the report flags several issues specifically that relate to a province like N.L., including rising sea levels and extreme weather. 

“Last year Newfoundland had the most powerful storm in the whole world on a particular day … which meant that there were power outages, there was impact with debris flying and storm surges,” McKenna said, referencing the November 2018 storm.

“That’s something that we’re going to see more and more often — once-in-100-year storms … happening often every 10 or even five years.”

These fierce waves pounded the rocks in Bonavista during the storm in mid-November 2018. (Submitted by Eric Abbott)

McKenna said warming water temperatures pose a challenge for people in this province, too

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