Climate Justice

Good that our Federal Government is giving $20 million on our behalf to the storm-ravaged Phillipines. That’s about 60 cents for every Canadian, the price of half a cup of coffee at the donut shop. Good also that Canadian businesses and individuals have contributed another $20 million. Bravo!

Not to belittle those individuals compassionate enough to donate personally, but this is as it should be. This “largesse” should not be interpreted simply as a reflection of our generosity, but rather a debt needing repayment, since we are one of a number of Western industrialized countries responsible for the excess carbon dioxide driving global warming.

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Energy policies need attention

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will soon release its fifth report summarizing the latest science on climate change. A new IPCC report is kind of a big deal, so let’s look ahead to its expected findings and the response it’s likely to provoke.

Based on improvements in climate modeling since its last report was published in 2007, the IPCC is expected to conclude (again) that global temperatures are climbing, oceans are acidifying, Artic ice is melting (but much faster than previously predicted), dangerous methane emissions are escalating (ditto) and sea levels are rising.But even more importantly, the IPCC’s report will likely affirm with overwhelming confidence that these calamitous changes are largely being caused by human beings.

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Environmental column echoes ‘scary’ study

Congratulations are in order to The Chronicle-Journal for taking on a new columnist on environmental issues.

Jason MacLean’s column of Aug. 12 entitled, It’s a Pipe (line) Dream, brings to mind the findings of a recent report called Unburnable Carbon by Carbon Tracker Initiative.

This organization based in London, U.K., is made up of financial analysts who review investments and stock portfolios for risk in the context of climate change.

The conclusion of their report is that we have a huge carbon bubble which represents a financial disaster waiting to happen.

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Our ubiquitous deadly addiction

Lac Mégantic. Kalamazoo River. Gulf of Mexico. Red Deer River. Prince William Sound. What do these and countless other locations all have in common? No doubt about it: Big Disasters caused by Big Oil.

How about record floods in Calgary, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg — and around the world: Europe, China and elsewhere? Hurricane Katrina. Superstorm Sandy. Record droughts as well, with crop failures and uncontrollable fires.

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The end of growth

In response to Barry Beaupre’s request to The Chronicle-Journal to make climate change a priority you indicated that you had published some 299 articles on the subject over the last year (A Knowledge of Climate — letter, July 10). I have noticed, and I applaud your efforts. However, I believe that we are still missing the point — which is that we have an underlying errant belief in the myth of economic growth. And that belief is linked powerfully to our inability to stop or even mitigate climate change.

In The Chronicle-Journal editorial of July 11, entitled The Trains Among Us, you focused on the dangers posed by the exponential use of trains to haul oil, and concluded with a call for “more effective regulatory vigilance.” Yet the underlying and unquestioning economic assumption remained that oil (it would seem all of it) “has to reach markets.” After those 299 articles it leaves me to wonder when the 100th monkey will look at the same big picture and finally come to a different conclusion.

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Work past politicians. Get involved in climate

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

Read moreWork past politicians. Get involved in climate

Review of Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption

At the time I finished reading The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding, CBC news carried the story that we have lost 50% of the Great Barrier Reef due to degradation of the ocean environment off the coast of Australia. This news was on top of the ongoing stories of unprecedented crop losses in the U.S. midwest due to long term drought and the ever increasing loss of arctic sea ice the extent and speed of which has left climate scientists stunned and fearful for the implications this will have on the arctic environment and traditional global climate patterns.

These events serve to add to the growing fear held by many that we seem to be inevitably heading to the abyss of uncontrolled and unpredictable climate change which will threaten the very existence of human civilization as we know it. It is very hard to maintain a positive outlook when feeling so overwhelmed by the constant unfolding of bad and dire environmental news.

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