I am writing in the context of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. I do not represent a special-interest lobby group trying to increase constituents’ bottom line. The essentially absolute consensus about climate change is remarkable given that science is about uncertainty. It is understandable that we have difficulty considering the changes necessary to mitigate what we have unleashed, given that we easily instinctively attribute the climate extremes we are already experiencing as one-off events; we have experienced these kind of individual events before and need science and analysis to actually interpret that the pattern is already clearly different. We also do not instinctively understand positive feedback loops and exponential functions.
For our species, which has been so diverse in its cultural/technological evolution, in the vast majority of times there would have been natural selective advantage to expect the world to go on just as we have experienced it growing up and to continue in whatever cultural matrix was adapted enough to allow us to have survived to adulthood. Unfortunately, at this time, science which real achievement and role it is to filter out our unconscious biases, tells us that we are headed for a cliff. Please make the climate change story front page.
Andre C. Piver MD, Nelson
I would like to draw your readers’ attention to the serious issue of climate change.
Climate science informs us that we must keep our global temperature rise below 2ºC (3.6ºF) and consider the safe level of CO2 to be not more than 350 parts per million (ppm). We are in a crisis because CO2 levels are nearing 400 ppm and are rising rapidly.
Not only is the planet undergoing one of the largest climate changes in the past 65 million years, climate scientists report that it’s on pace to occur at a rate 10 times faster than any change in that period. Without intervention, this extreme pace could lead to a five to six degree Celsius spike in annual temperatures by the end of the century.
It is therefore in the public interest, in the national interest, in the interest of civilization, to protect our climate.
Our federal government, rather than protecting our climate and future by meeting the greenhouse gas reduction targets as outlined in the Kyoto accord, has forsaken its Kyoto commitments. Furthermore, in March of this year, Canada eliminated the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy.
Debate over a Canadian energy strategy and the future of pipelines has obscured real progress on an effective climate policy. Canada must put a price on carbon in order to effectively, rapidly reduce our emissions. Canada must develop and implement a real plan to emphasize conservation and renewable energy. Canada must eliminate subsidies of over $1 billion each year (about $40 for each Canadian) to coal, oil, and gas companies. In 2009, Canada agreed to eliminate these subsidies. We have not done this. We give our public money to hugely profitable industries which further accelerates the damage to our climate. This shows a reckless disregard for the climate crisis. We should not promote destruction of the climate with public funds.
I would ask readers to contact government representatives and demand urgent action on these three goals: end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, and support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada.
It has been said there is enough renewable energy from wind, water and sun to convert the planet to 100% renewable energy in 20 years. All we need is the political courage and will. Let’s start now. For further information, go to climatefast.ca
Sandra Hartline, Nelson