Science·Editor's Note

Why CBC News is doing a series on climate change

Climate change is a critical issue for our readers, viewers and listeners, and recent polling suggests it is a leading concern in this election year. We want to make sure we reflect that at CBC News.

The environment is shaping up to be major issue in election year

Climate change is real, it's happening right now and it's in our backyard in devastating, even deadly ways.

Its fingerprints are all over this spring's floods and wildfires. Yes, natural emergencies are complex, but powerful and growing evidence shows that climate change is making flooding worse, fires like "The Beast" in Fort McMurray in 2016 more destructive and heat waves more life-threatening.

Canada's Arctic is also heating up — the permafrost, which is the very foundation for the North's infrastructure, is thawing and Indigenous ways of life are being threatened. Worse, there's evidence these Arctic changes are shifting global weather patterns and accentuating droughts and torrential downpours around the globe.

Climate change is a critical issue for our readers, viewers and listeners. Recent polling suggests that it is a leading concern in this election year.

We want to make sure we reflect that at CBC News.

In Our Backyard is an ambitious and comprehensive CBC News project about how climate change is affecting our lives. You'll see and hear it wherever CBC News is... online, on television, on the radio and on CBC Kids News, because Canada's youth care deeply about this issue.

The clear scientific consensus is that we're on an irreversible warming trajectory. Canada is on the frontline of global changes that are already altering our communities, our livelihoods and our health.

According to the federal government's recent assessment, Canada's Changing Climate Report, there is "high confidence" that:

But irreversible doesn't mean unalterable. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said there is also "high confidence" that risks in the future can be reduced with action.

Canadians have told us they're hopeful. Many have been making changes in their own lives, but expect governments and businesses to take action as well. And they want some accountability from their political leaders.

They are also asking the media to do a better job by providing more facts about what is happening and more coverage of possible solutions.

The CBC has been doing that since at least 1977. That year, both David Suzuki and Bob McDonald talked about global warming and something called "the greenhouse effect" on their respective CBC Radio programs, Quirks and Quarks and Ideas

Since then, we've done hundreds of stories about climate change. Sometimes, we're so used to hearing about it, it doesn't seem like news anymore.

But news on the climate front is happening right now from coast to coast to coast. And we're committed to covering it for you.


Mark Harrison is executive producer of CBC News Content Units.


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