Take the climate change quiz for Kawartha Lakes

By Jamie Morris

How much do you know about climate change and how it’s affecting us here in the City of Kawartha Lakes? Test yourself by taking this quiz, based on a presentation made to council by Deb Pearson and Ginny Colling, members of the Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee who’ve taken on climate change education as their mission.

Note: For some questions there may be more than one correct answer. Answers (and some explanations of the connections to climate change) are at the end.

  1. Since 2001 how many of the hottest years on record have occurred? a) 3; b) 10; c) 15; d) 17


  1. What is the main source and cause of rising global temperatures? a) Burning of fossil fuels; b) Agricultural practices; c) Forest burning; d) Naturally-occurring CO2

  1. In May, 2018, how many days above 30 degrees did we have here in the City of Kawartha Lakes? a) 0; b) 1; c) 2; d) 3


  1.  True or false, Minden has had two 1-in-a-100-year floods in the four year period between 2013 and 2017?


  1.  True or false, winter control costs for freezing rain events are higher than for snow events?


  1. From 1983-2008 less than $500 million/ year on average was paid out by insurance firms in Canada due to damage from extreme weather events.  Since 2009 what has the amount in pay-outs grown to? a) $600 million; b) $1 billion; c) $1.3 billion; d) $1.8 billion


  1.  Which of the following are influenced–for the worse–by climate change? a) infectious diseases; b) waterborne diseases; c) Lyme disease in our area; d) heat stress


  1. Which of these are affected by climate change? a) ice fishermen; b) maple syrup producers; c) beer-drinkers; d) farmers


  1. Electric car sales were up 68% in 2018 in Canada. How does the cost of charging an electric compare to the cost of fueling a gasoline car?  a) same cost; b) half the cost; c) third of the cost; d) a fifth of the cost


  1. In January 2014 Ontario ordered the closing of its last coal-fired power plant (the site is now being repurposed as a solar farm). Since then, how many “Smog Days” has Southern Ontario experienced? a) none; b) 1; c) 15; d) 23
  2. True or false, in Feb. 2018 Peterborough County’s Community Climate Adaptation Plan was named the 2018 winner in the Climate Change category in the Canadian Federation of Municipalities Sustainable Communities Awards.


  1. True or false, the extreme cold temperatures that resulted in school bus cancellations on Monday (January 21) are proof that global warming is fake news!


Bonus: True or false, City of Kawartha Lakes has a Healthy Environment Plan in place.


  1. d) 17 of the 18 years hottest years recorded have occurred since 2001. The only year not on the list was 2008. The four most recent years – 2015 to 2018- have been the  very hottest years on record
  2. a) Burning of fossil fuels, though there are many other factors contributing to rising global temperatures, including forest burning and agricultural practices. In CKL–and Ontario as a whole– the biggest emissions come from transportation and buildings.
  3. d) In CKL we had 3 days above 30 degrees in May, 2018. That was the hottest May on record in Ontario: there were 26 days above the average.
  4. True.  With warmer temperatures the atmosphere holds more water vapour and we’re experiencing more flooding and bigger downpours, including a relatively new phenomenon called a “rain bomb” (a type of super cell storm). On July 15, 2004 Peterborough and surrounding areas experienced a record 174 mm of rainfall, the largest rainfall on record for Southern Ontario.  Interestingly global warming is linked to both flooding and drought. The extra heat that’s being trapped actually leads to both.
  5. True. This was pointed out after the April 2018 ice storm in which 91 mm of precipitation fell (the average for the entire month is only 65 mm). As the number of freezing rain events increases, so will control costs.
  6. d) $1.8 billion. More frequent  extreme weather events can be expected, and Johanna Wagstaff, meteorologist at CBC (and others) says every single extreme weather event is amplified by climate change.  
  7. All of them. Heat stress is maybe the most obvious. During the heat-wave last summer 90 people in Montreal died.  In our area, Lyme disease rates have dramatically increased as the range for ticks has moved northwards.  From 2008 to 2014 there were 6 cases; from 2015 to 2018 there have been 37.
  8. All of them (a,b,c,d) are affected, though in different ways. On Lake Simcoe, ice cover has declined 30 days since the 1980s, affecting the local ice fishing industry. Sugar maples are vulnerable to a drier, warmer climate. Heat stress from hot, dry summers and gypsy moths being able to overwinter in warmer winters affect the maples. According to Pearson and Colling a bad drought could double beer prices in Ireland and bump them up 6 or 7 times in the Czech Republic. Farmers will have a longer growing season (good news) but will be adversely affected by droughts and downpours.
  9. The cost is approximately ⅕.  Pearson owns a Chevy Bolt and has kept meticulous records. She charges the car at night when the rate is 6.5 cents/kw, and it has  cost her as little as $1 to drive 100 kilometres.
  10. b) There’s been just 1 “Smog Day” since the last coal plant closed. By way of comparison, in 2005 there were 53 smog advisory days in Southern Ontario. Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change, has said Ontario is saving $3 billion a year in health and other costs as a result of the coal plant closures.
  11. False. Kind of a trick question. It was actually Durham Region that won the award. But Peterborough is doing well: it has a Sustainable Peterborough Plan that identifies climate change as one of eleven key theme areas of focus.
  12. False. For an explanation of the role of polar vortexes and their connection to climate change and extreme weather events see this article in the New York Times.

Bonus: Almost true, but not quite yet. The Kawartha Lakes Healthy Environment Plan is being drafted right now.  LURA (the consulting company) and city staff will present the plan at the March 19 Committee of the Whole Meeting. Council will be asked to adopt the plan at the March 26 Council meeting.

During consultations 1,400 individuals were engaged directly and another 2500 online.


  1. Lew MacMaster says:

    Time to throw a little cold water on all the climate change fear-mongering. Global temperatures have dropped drastically the last 2 years, but you will never see this in the mainstream media, as it doesn’t fit their brainwashing narrative:


    Climate is a very complex subject and the science around it is certainly far from settled. A little more balanced reporting would be nice for a change.

  2. Lew MacMaster says:

    First off, the initial question and answer are not accurate. We have just experienced 2 years of record-breaking global cooling – why this is not mentioned in the article is a little puzzling:


    Climate is a very complex subject and as more and more real scientists start doing proper research, it has become apparent that this science is certainly not settled.

  3. Avatar photo Ginny Colling says:

    According to NASA, 17 of the hottest 18 years on record have occurred since 2001. Scientists are even more sure about human-caused global warming than they are of gravity. Virtually all climate scientists agree there is no longer any doubt about the issue. It’s not a matter of debate. The only question that remains is: Will we act fast enough to protect ourselves from the most devastating and irreversible effects of our rapidly changing climate.
    We get our information from sources like the UN’s panel on climate change, comprising hundreds of top climate experts in a wide variety of disciplines who do their work for the UN for free. We need to listen to those who spend their careers studying this issue for us.

    As for the trend in 2016 and 2017, here is NASA’s description of that warming period:

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