News from the climate crisis

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined in a report released today that climate change is “very likely” the result of human activity. In other words, “it is at least 90% certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases rather than natural variations are warming the planet’s surface”.

Global warming deniers, many of them industry-funded propagandists, will no doubt focus on the other 10%, arguing, as they have, that the science is far from definitive. However, a separate study conducted by Germany’s Potsdam Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research suggests that the IPCC’s findings have been too conservative. And there is impressive consensus on global warming in the scientific community.

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The lights have gone out on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In fact, lights went out all over Paris yesterday evening — just as they did in other major cities like Rome, Madrid, and Athens. All part of a campaign to raise awareness of global warming.

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Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the climate crisis. It doesn’t take much to be nominated, because so many people can nominate, but Gore is a truly deserving nominee. Indeed, I would argue that he deserves to win.

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Here in Canada: “Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion tabled an opposition motion Thursday calling for the federal government to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, labelling climate change ‘the single most pressing ecological threat facing our country. I call on the Prime Minister to implement the initiatives I have called for today. This country cannot wait, this planet cannot wait.’”

I agree. Although I would argue that climate change is not just “the single most pressing ecological threat facing [Canada]” but the single most pressing threat facing all of us.

The Conservatives are doing their utmost to paint themselves green in anticipation of a coming election, but they cannot match the Liberals, and particularly Dion himself, on the environment. In a five-year-old letter just recently made public, Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to the Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme” to funnel money from rich countries to poor ones. As if the rich countries — i.e., the major polluters, the ones most responsible for global warming — shouldn’t pay a higher price than the poor ones. Such is the Conservatives’ industry-oriented thinking.

To be fair, the Conservatives seem to be more green than they used to be, now that they’re in power federally and have come to see that the voters care about global warming above all else, but their recent efforts seem to be more about spin and last-minute panic than genuine concern.

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  • domajot

    We are missing the diplomacy boat, yet again.
    With the US reputation in the tank, we could regain some lost ground by coming through as a leader in an effort for something positive, like the global warming effort.
    As it is, the US seems only to speak up in a punitive role, aginst other countries. (I know there are exceptions, where the US has contibuted, but it has not led).

    Personally, I think a new initiative to control nuclear weaponry would be another great positive cause for the US to take up. As it is, old agreements fail to cover existing conditions. Countreies such as Israel and India are not signatories to the nuclear treaties. The US is not likely to endorse anything that would curtail its own activiies; we only want to prevent others from nuclear capabilities. But there are good ideas out there that we could address, like the ‘return address’ notion. The idea is to develop technologies to trace the origin of a detonated nuclear device, so that if a nationless group were to use one, the country of origin would be held responsible.

    We need to regain our reputation as a leader for progress toward positive ends.