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Climate Change 101

There is virtual consensus among climate scientists that anthropogenic climate change—man made climate change

—is real. There is also consensus that the present level of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere is dangerous and the rise in emissions is rapidly accelerating to a potentially catastrophic level.

How dangerous? Dan Miller, explains it this way in his video, A REALLY Inconvenient Truth:

Picture that you are in a car driving towards a brick wall. You can either try to avoid the wall or continue driving and hit it head-on.

At a 2 degree C rise in average global temperature it would be the equivalent of driving with your family into the wall at 20 miles per hour. You would damage the car but perhaps you would escape with some injuries.

At a four degree rise in temperature, you would be driving towards the wall at 40 miles per hour. When you hit head on, your car would have serious damage. Iif you survived you would sustain serious injuries; but of course, you may not survive.

In a 6 degree rise scenario, your car would be destroyed and you would be killed. And, by the way, all your friends and all your children sitting in the back seat would be killed.

For any thinking person, anything else is details. But if you want the details you can find them here:

Scientists tell us that we have to turn this situation around in 10 to 20 years. Realistically Canadians have to subtract four years from this action time frame because we are saddled with the Harper government.

As Harper tries to move Canada back to the ‘50s, unfortunately the world moves forward trying to cope with the consequences of his policies.

For example, the international community several times has voted his environment policy the worst in the world. He has consistently worked to prevent the success of international climate negotiations. This son of an Imperial Oil executive has provided billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to support Alberta’s Tar Sands–the most destructive development on Earth. Rivers have been polluted, carbon emissions have soared, the health of aboriginals has been ignored; Ontario’s economy, tied to our petrodollar, has suffered massive job losses; renewable energy development has been forestalled. Meanwhile scientists report that unless we act quickly, the ocean—the original source of all life on our planet and the producer of the majority of oxygen on Earth—threatens a mass extinction of all marine and plant life becoming essentially a dead zone. That’s where Stephen Harper wants to drill for oil.

More than any other individual on the planet, he has led the charge towards a 4 degree C world. Britain’s Tyndall Centre estimates that such a world will support at maximum 500 million people.

At what point does stupidity become criminal?

London barrister Polly Higgins wants Ecocide to be recognized by the UN as the fifth Crime against Peace, enforced by the International Criminal Court.

Harper sees Earth as a place where resources are available for commercial exploitation. He either ignores or rejects his role as a steward of Earth with a duty of care to protect it. For Polly Higgins, protection of Earth is a sacred trust and Ecocide is a law of strict liability. What counts is not what you intend by your actions, but rather their consequences.

If Higgins proposal is accepted by the UN General Assembly, in all probability Harper will find himself as a defendant before the International Criminal Court.

I suspect many Canadians would say the sooner the better.

Ron Hart

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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