I am a loyal reader of Gwynne Dyer’s column, World View, published regularly by The Chronicle-Journal. I was particularly struck by the disheartening conclusion to his article of Dec. 11, entitled Climate Talks: Coasting Towards Disaster.
I don’t dispute his history chronicling the sad tale of failed effort after failed effort to arrive at an honourable and committed global consensus on dealing with the urgent need to meet the challenge of Climate Change before it is too late.
But, I do take issue with Dyer’s conclusion that it appears all is lost and we therefore condemn our children and grandchildren to a dismal and untenable dark future on an ever-degrading planet. A scene from the movie The Road comes to mind.
In my view there is a very clear reason why efforts have failed to get an international agreement to take the urgent steps necessary to decrease the danger of unfettered climate change and that, quite simply, is the intransigence of the American and Canadian governments.
If the U.S. and Canada had shown leadership and a willingness to negotiate with honour at these various climate change conferences, we would be well on the way to a healthier future and not staring disaster in the face.
We would not have intelligent and insightful people such as Dyer lamenting past failures and despairing for our future.
There is no great mystery why this is the case with these two governments. Washington is held hostage by the fossil fuel industries whose very products and our use of them are the root of the climate change crises.
It is a political truism in the U.S. that the Republican Party is essentially owned and operated by the fossil fuel industry.
Here in the great white North, which is not so great anymore, we have a Prime Minister who sold his soul to the oil and tar sands industries a long time ago. He is not only the PM of Canada, he is also the Grand Protector of the tar sands and affiliated industries such as the pipeline industry. He be no friend of solar and wind.
We still have a bit of time to turn this around. With attentive, committed and honourable leadership from our country we can break this historical chain of failures and arrive at a global consensus to get going on reducing our global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, move to carbon-free energy systems, and put in place the developing technologies designed to actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere thereby lowering the GHG load.
But we don’t have very much time. Once the methane really starts to leak out of the melting permafrost the greenhouse effect will take on a life of its own and be beyond our control. Our unpleasant fate will probably be well sealed at that point.
We know we can’t rely on our politicians for leadership so it’s going to be up to us ordinary citizens to fight for a livable planet for our kids.
We say we love our children. Well, now is the time to act like we mean it and prove Gwynne Dyer wrong. Turn the TV off, hug your kids and get working on saving their future. If not us, who? If not now, when?