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U.N. climate change warning is 'most extreme' ever, Sask. expert says

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Saskatoon -

A dire climate change report from the United Nations isn't surprising for University of Saskatchewan professor John Pomeroy.

“For some time now that there is simply an unequivocal influence of human emissions on changing the climate and increasing the extremes of severe weather and water conditions such as droughts and floods,” said Pomeroy.

Pomneroy serves as the director for the Global Water Futures Program and is Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change.

The report shows Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably exceed a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent.

Pomeroy says the river is showing the effect of the warming trend.

“The flows of the South Saskatchewan river through Saskatoon have reached as low as permissible this summer.”

According to Pomeroy the drop in level is due to low runoff from the southern Rockies because of high water use to for irrigation and municipal use in Alberta.

“We've got a situation where Gardener Dam levels are dropping, rather than rising as we'd expect in the summertime,” said Pomeroy.

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which calls climate change clearly human-caused and "unequivocal," makes more precise and warmer forecasts for the 21st century than it did last time it was issued in 2013.

Each of five scenarios for the future, based on how much carbon emissions are cut, passes the more stringent of two thresholds set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

World leaders agreed then to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Under each scenario, the report said, the world will cross the 1.5-degree warming mark in the 2030s, earlier than some past predictions. 

“This is the most extreme warning ever issued by the United Nations on climate change, and it's something we have to act upon right now,” Pomeroy told CTV News.

Pomeroy has recommendations for people who want to do their part to prevent climate change:

  • Reducing one’s greenhouse gases. Pomeroy explains you can do this by insulating your home better and going to a smaller vehicle as well as not idling.
  • Make environmentally conscious consumer choices which can help reduced greenhouse gas in terms of purchases.
  • Making sure the different levels of government have the legal framework and regulatory framework to reduce gases.

--With Associated Press files.

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