Sunday, May 28, 2006

Leadership on Global Warming

There is something disturbingly irrational about Stephen Harper’s reaction to the threat of global warming. The facts though are fairly clear.

See the EPA website which is authoritative as well as friendly to the non-expert:

Massive human pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and several other gases collectively known as the greenhouse gases are altering the temperature of the planet by trapping heat from the sun within the Earth’s atmosphere. The oceans are warming which in turn melts the polar ice which in turn raises sea levels. The higher sea levels threaten to swamp low lying coastal areas including large regions that are now densely populated by human communities. The warmer oceans also radicalize summer storms which, with increasing frequency as we have witnessed in North America, are hitting land as murderous hurricanes. The indications of the effects of changes in seasonal temperatures on numerous ecological systems have been recorded. The precise implications for us, humans, and our economy which depends upon stable ecological conditions may be difficult to predict, but it is nonetheless clear that the changes in our way of living will be deep and far-ranging if the threat of global warming is not addressed by our generation. These are the facts and they simply will not go away.

Emotional reactions to these facts may vary… and perhaps understandably. It is a threat to our traditional way of life that can cause a lot of anxiety. The temptation toward denial is very strong, leading to a polarization of public opinion between those willing to face the danger and those who would deny its existence. The issue has definitely divided along partisan lines both in the United States and recently here in Canada as well. Within the last few months, Stephen Harper has cut funding for research, energy conservation as well as the transfer of around a billion dollars to the provinces targeted at upgrades to non-polluting sources of energy. Yet, the effects of global warming will be felt by everyone, regardless of who they voted for. We need leadership on this and a number of issues facing the country. Leadership will be the ongoing theme of my blog. More on this in my next week’s post “The Coming Storm”

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