The average Canadian born in our shiny new year is expected to live until the final decade of the century.
According to the World Health Organization, the life expectancy of Canadians is 82 years, which technically means a child born in 2014 will live, on average, until 2096, provided there is no change in mortality rates.
Predictions from climate models that you see on the news typically extend out to the end of the century. When scientists say that the planet may warm by 2-4 degrees C by the “end of the century”, they are typically describing the average of the years 2091 through 2100, though sometimes the average of the years 2081 through 2100.
In other words, the climate predictions and the newborns have about the same lifespan.
A child born today will experience all the widely discussed impacts of climate change — the rise in temperature, the rise in the oceans, the change in heat extremes, the melting of sea ice, the decline of coral reefs, you name it.
We need to stop describing climate change as a problem for “future generations”. Those generations are here now.