IPCC report suggests that this century, southern B.C. will become "suitable" for transmission of chikungunya virus

This mosquito-transmitted illness can cause headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, a fever, and rashes

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      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's newest report is attracting tremendous media attention, due to UN secretary-general António Guterres's blistering comments.

      "Nearly half of humanity is living in the danger zone now," Guterres said. "Many ecosystems are at the point of no return now. Unchecked carbon pollution is forcing the world's most vulnerable on a frog march to destruction now."

      Out of curiosity, I decided to search for the words "British Columbia" in the 3,675-page document.

      That led me to a reference to a 2017 paper suggesting that chikungunya virus will likely be coming to southern B.C. later this century.

      This is especially likely under a scenario known as "RCP8.5"—i.e. the business-as-usual approach if society doesn't curb emissions.

      "Although chikungunya virus is not currently in Canada, climate change is projected to make southern British Columbia suitable for virus transmission this century, particularly under RCP8.5 (Ng et al., 2017)," the IPCC report states. 

      In other words, a warmer planet could make this disease endemic in new areas, including Canada.

      This mosquito-transmitted illness can cause headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, a fever, and rashes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

      "Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Oceans," the CDC states on its website. "There is a risk the virus will be spread to unaffected areas by infected travelers. There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection."

      Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability is the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report. The words "British Columbia" turned up 34 times in the document.

      The report noted that what's on the IPCC website is an "accepted version subject to final edits".

      Below, you can read every mention of British Columbia in sequence.

      1. "Field evidence shows that anthropogenic climate change has increased the area burned by wildfire above natural levels in western North America from 1984-2017 by double for the Western USA and 11 time [sic] higher than natural in one extreme year in British Columbia (high confidence)." (This section was presented in bold-faced type.)

      2. "In British Columbia, Canada, the increased maximum temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change increased burned area in 2017 to its highest extent in the 1950-2017 record, seven to eleven times the area that would have burned without climate change (Kirchmeier-Young et al., 2019)."

      3. "In British Columbia, Canada, the higher maximum temperatures of human-caused climate change increased burned area in 2017 to its widest extent in the 1950-2017 record, seven to eleven times the area that would have burned without limate change."

      4. "Mortality of boreal forest in British Columbia from mountain pine beetle infestations converted 374 000 km2 from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source (Kurz et al., 2008). Modeling suggests that a potential increase in water-use efficiency and regrowth could offset the losses in part of the forest mortality area (Giles-Hansen et al., 2021)."

      5. (Scientific reference) Friesen, S. K. et al., 2021: Effects of changing ocean temperatures on ecological connectivity among marine protected areas in northern British Columbia. Ocean & Coastal Management, 211, 105776, doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105776

      6. (Scientific reference) Mach, M. E., C. D. Levings and K. M. A. Chan, 2017: Nonnative species in British Columbia eelgrass beds spread via shellfish aquaculture and stay for the mild climate. Estuaries and Coasts, 40(1), 187-199, doi:10.1007/s12237- 35 016-0124-y.

      7. (Scientific reference) Marushka, L. et al., 2019: Potential impacts of climate-related decline of seafood harvest on nutritional status of coastal First Nations in British Columbia, Canada. PLOS ONE, 14(2), e0211473, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211473.

      8. (Scientific reference) Schultz, J. A., R. N. Cloutier and I. M. Côté, 2016: Evidence for a trophic cascade on rocky reefs following sea star mass mortality in British Columbia. PeerJ, 4, e1980, doi:10.7717/peerj.1980

      9. "In several polar areas in Northern Europe (e.g. Finland), North America (e.g. British Columbia in Canada), and Siberia, many studies reported increased wintertime streamflow primarily due to climate warming, for instance, more rainfall instead of snowfall and more glacier run-off in the winter period (e.g. (Bonsal et al., 2020)) (4.2.2)." 

      10. "Moderate decreasing trends or insignificant changes are projected for snowmelt floods in the Fraser River Basin of British Columbia (Shrestha et al., 2017)."

      11. (Scientific reference) Islam, S. U., C. L. Curry, S. J. Déry and F. W. Zwiers, 2019b: Quantifying projected changes in runoff variability and flow regimes of the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23 (2), 811-828

      12. (Scientific reference) Sanderson, D. et al., 2015: Climate change and water at Stellat'en First Nation, British Columbia, Canada: Insights from western science and traditional knowledge. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 59 (2), 136-150, doi:10.1111/cag.12142.

      13. (Scientific reference) Simms, R., L. Harris, N. Joe and K. Bakker, 2016: Navigating the tensions in collaborative watershed governance: Water governance and Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada. Geoforum, 73, 6-16, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.04.005.

      14. "In British Columbia, Canada, Gitga’at elders note that the ripening of an important edible seaweed (Porphyraabbottiae) rarely coincides with weather and needed to process in the traditional way (drying on rocks and then ripening and re-drying) (Turner and Clifton, 2009)"

      15. (Scientific reference) Lepofsky, D., K. Lertzman, D. Hallett and R. Mathewes, 2005: Climate change and culture change on the southern coast of British Columbia 2400-1200 CAL. BP: an hypothesis. Am. Antiq., 70(2), 267-293, doi:10.2307/40035704

      16. (Scientific reference) Marushka, L. et al., 2019: Potential impacts of climate-related decline of seafood harvest on nutritional status of coastal First Nations in British Columbia, Canada. PLoS One, 14(2), e0211473, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211473

      17. (Scientific reference) Toniello, G. et al., 2019: 11,500 y of human-clam relationships provide long-term context for intertidal management in the Salish Sea, British Columbia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 116(44), 22106-22114, doi:10.1073/pnas.1905921116.

      18. (Scientific reference) Turner, N. J. and H. Clifton, 2009: "It's so different today": Climate change and indigenous lifeways in British Columbia, Canada. Glob. Environ. Change, 19(2), 180-190, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.01.005.

      19. "In the central interior of what is now known as British Columbia, 2017 was an especially severe wildfire season, with over 1.3 million hectares of land burned and 65,000 people displaced (Timler and Sandy, 2020). The unceded and ancestral lands of the Tsilhqot’in, Dakelh, and Secwépemc were impacted by two of the largest fires (Verhaeghe et al., 2017). Communities affected by the BC wildfires subsequently started Indigenous gardens closer to home, to protect medicine and food plants and thereby sustaining relationships with these plants, the land, and community (Timler and Sandy, 2020). As there are cultural teachings for fire to cleanse the territory and the land, community members and plants previously isolated became better connected because of the wildfires. The regrowth of plants is part of the healing relationship between people, plants, and other animals (Timler and Sandy, 2020). The wildfires were seen as events to catalyse action and emphasize the importance of relationships to support foodways and gardening as responsibility."

      20. (Scientific reference) Chhetri, B. K. et al., 2019: Projected local rain events due to climate change and the impacts on waterborne diseases in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Environ Health, 18(1), 116, doi:10.1186/s12940-019-0550-y.

      21. (Scientific reference) Turner, N. and K. Turner, 2008: "Where our women used to get the food": Cumulative effects and loss of ethnobotanical knowledge and practice; case study from coastal British Columbia. Botany, 86.

      22. (Scientific reference) Wang, X. L. et al., 2017c: Different responses of influenza epidemic to weather factors among Shanghai, Hong Kong, and British Columbia. International Journal of Biometeorology, 61(6), 1043-1053, doi:10.1007/s00484-016-1284-y

      23. (Scientific reference) Shaw, A. et al., 2014: Accelerating the sustainability transition: Exploring synergies between adaptation and mitigation in British Columbian communities. Global Environmental Change, 25, 41-51, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.01.002

      24. "In one of its worst fire seasons, British Columbia expended over CAD$500M in 2017 for fire suppression (Natural Resources Canada, 2018)." 

      25. "Climate change has induced phenological and spatial shifts in primary productivity with cascading impacts on foodwebs (high confidence) (Siddon et al., 2013; Stortini et al., 2015; Sydeman et al., 2015; Stanley et al., 2018). This includes widespread starvation events of fish, birds (e.g., tufted puffins in Bering Sea in 2016/2017 and Cassin’s Auklets in British Columbia in 2014/2015) and marine mammals (gray whales along both coasts of North America) (Sydeman et al., 2015; Duffy‐Anderson et al., 2019; Jones et al., 2019b; Cheung and Frölicher, 2020; Piatt et al., 2020), which challenge protected species and fisheries management (section 14.5.4) (Chasco et al., 2017; Wilson et al., 2018; Barbeaux et al., 2020; Free et al., 2020; Holsman et al., 2020)."

      26. "Wind storms and hurricanes are significant climate hazards for North American cities and settlements, affecting urban forests, electricity distribution and service delivery, and damaging buildings and transportation infrastructure (Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure, 2017; British Columbia Hydro, 2019; Smith, 2020), with enduring impacts on small villages due to lost livelihoods and limited recovery capacity (e.g., Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas in Mexico (MX-SE) after Hurricane Isidore) (Audefroy and Cabrera Sánchez, 2017)."

      27. "In Canada, the Government of British Columbia provided SLR [sea-level rise] projections for 2050 (i.e., +0.5m) and 2100 (i.e., +1m) in order to initiate community vulnerability and risk assessment, and adaptation planning (The Arlington Group Planning + Architecture Inc et al., 2013)."

      28. "Although chikungunya virus is not currently in Canada, climate change is projected to make southern British Columbia suitable for virus transmission this century, particularly under RCP8.5 (Ng et al., 2017)." 

      29. (Research reference) British Columbia Hydro, 2019: Storm report: The most damaging storm in BC Hydro’s history. Available at: https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer-portal/documents/ne....

      30. (Scientific reference) Galway, L. P. et al., 2015: Hydroclimatic variables and acute gastro-intestinal illness in British Columbia, Canada: A time series analysis. Water Resources Research, 51(2), 885-895, doi:10.1002/2014WR015519

      31. (Scientific reference) Islam, S. U., S. J. Déry and A. T. Werner, 2017: Future Climate Change Impacts on Snow and Water Resources of the Fraser River Basin, British Columbia. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 18(2), 473-496, doi:10.1175/JHM-D-16-0012:1

      32 (Scientific reference) Marushka, L. et al., 2019: Potential impacts of climate-related decline of seafood harvest on nutritional status of coastal First Nations in British Columbia, Canada. PLoS One, 14(2), e0211473, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0211473.

      33. (Scientific reference) McLean, K. E., J. Yao and S. B. Henderson, 2015: An evaluation of the British Columbia asthma monitoring system (BCAMS) and PM2.5 exposure metrics during the 2014 forest fire season. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(6), 6710-6724, doi:10.3390/ijerph120606710.

      34. Strouth, A. and S. McDougall, 2021: Historical Landslide Fatalities in British Columbia, Canada: Trends and Implications for Risk Management. Frontiers in Earth Science 9, 22, doi:10.3389/feart.2021.606854.

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