The UN’s panel on climate just announced that climate changes are almost entirely the fault of humans.
This comes as no surprise to anyone even slightly educated on the topic, but what is of concern is how much active ignorance continues in both Canada and the United States.
The climate change science is real; limiting the impact on our planet requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels to zero by the end of this century.
To do so we have to start serious reduction now in order to prevent temperatures rising further above the danger level. Failure to do so will lock the world on a trajectory with irreversible consequences on the environment and on all its sentient inhabitants.
Signs of this failure can already be observed in the rising sea levels, our warmer and more acidic oceans, melting glaciers and Arctic sea ice, and even more frequent and intense heat waves and winter storms.
Leaders must act, but Prime Minister Harper of Canada is still a science denier, and his nose is deep in the dirty Alberta tar sands.
In the United States, the Republicans have just swept the Senate without any real agenda other than undoing, repealing, rolling back, stopping, and in general opposing everything the Obama administration accomplished (health reform, new regulations on banks and Wall Street, curbing coal + carbon emissions, supporting a proposed minimum wage increase, along with plans to reform immigration and to invest in education).
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned at the November second launch of this report in Copenhagen, “Time is not on our side.”
The good news is that humans have the tools to reset the world on a low-emissions path. To do so we do have to break our addiction to oil, coal, and gas that pollute the atmosphere with their heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Knowledge of the science can motivate the will to change. Switching to solar, wind, and tidal—to renewable, non-polluting forms of energy—also create a multitude of sustainable and innovative jobs, whereas putting in a pipeline offers limited and temporary work.
The UN report is a scientific roadmap for climate change negotiations, which continue next month in Lima, Peru. Yet, as of now, only Elizabeth May of Canada’s Green Party has planned to attend! What delegates will the United States send? The Lima conference is the last one before the 2015 summit in Paris, where a global agreement on climate action is to be adopted. These conferences and what they hopefully will lead to are of utmost importance.
Currently, the Conservatives of Canada and the Republicans of the USA share the antiquated idea that building the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other pipelines is the way to create jobs. One wonders if these representatives will awake to reality!
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Author: Linda V. Lewis
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Google Images
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