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Current Environmental Issue Study Guide 2023

Adapting to a Changing Climate

The Current Environmental Issue is always selected by the host of the North American competition. in 2023, New Brunswick Canada will be the host. 


The earth’s climate is constantly changing and has been doing so for billions of years. Although long-term fluctuations in temperature are normal and greenhouse gasses are emitted to the atmosphere from both natural and human-generated sources, the vast majority of climate scientists agree that the global warming observed since the mid-20th century (1950s) is cause for immediate concern. Human-induced emissions of greenhouse gasses are being released at a quicker rate than natural processes can remove them¹. Not only do climate models project an increase in temperature, but the models also predict increases in the frequency of hot days above 30⁰C (86⁰F) as well as changes in precipitation, extreme weather events, sea level rise, water stress, and ocean acidification. As a result, disruptive changes to ecosystems, the economy, and society are expected to occur on both local and global scales.

The changing climate is one of the most complex issues facing the world today. It spans many disciplines and aspects of everyday life: science, socio-economics, environment, health, politics, as well as moral and ethical values. The impact on New Brunswick’s economy and quality of life for its citizens will depend on how effectively we plan and prepare for the complex challenges and changes that will occur.

Students will learn about factors contributing to a changing climate, the effects of these changes on the environment and natural resources, and the unique challenges facing natural resource dependent communities. As they explore the impacts on human social and economic systems, they will learn about management strategies for mitigating and adapting to a changing climate, and the roles of innovative technologies and programs in responding to local and global changes.

¹ Bush, E. and Lemmen, D.S., editors (2019): Canada’s Changing Climate Report; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON. 444 p.

Key Topic 1: Factors Contributing to a Changing Climate

1.    Describe climate change and the process through which it occurs.
2.    Outline the factors, both anthropogenic and natural, which influence climate and climate change.
3.    Describe the major economic sectors that contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
4.    Describe major energy sources and explain how each contributes to climate change.
5.    Outline indicators of climate change.

Key Topic 2: Measuring and Monitoring a Changing Climate 

6.    Describe the history of international collaboration on climate change and analyze the successes and shortcomings.
7.    Describe the various sources of scientific data which are used as evidence of climate change and explain how we know this data to be reliable.
8.    Evaluate climate data and draw conclusions based on that data.
9.    Explain the use of modelling in forecasting climate and the sources of uncertainty in climate projections.

Key Topic 3: Risks and Impacts to Natural Resources and Society from a Changing Climate 

10.    Explain the consequences of climate changes on aquatic, forest, wildlife and soil ecosystems.
11.    Describe the social and economic impacts of climate change.

Key Topic 4: Policies and Programs for Adapting to a Changing Climate

12.    Explain how various levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and individuals are involved in mitigating and adapting to climate change at the local, national, and international levels.
13.    Describe innovative technologies and programs designed to combat climate change.
14.    Explain the importance of primary resource sectors (forestry, agriculture, fisheries) to the economy of New Brunswick.
15.    Describe the unique challenges faced by regions largely dependent on primary resources, and how climate change influences these challenges
16.    Explain how to best apply climate change risk assessment and adaptation measures in regions with primary resource dependent economies.

Study Materials

Our local test writers are going to use the study materials from the NCF Envirothon.

The NCF Envirothon has created Part A of their study materials and refer to Part B which will be released later. We only need to focus on Part A found here

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