A rebuttal’s rebuttal on climate change

We want polluters to pay

To the Expositor:

The letter to the editor ‘A point by point rebuttal of a climate change letter of Nov 11’ is misleading and cherry-picks data. For example, the writer points to NASA data on ice growth in the Antarctic presumably to show that global warming is not taking place, but he fails to mention that NASA says globally sea ice is still diminishing. He says the forecasting models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make an error in assuming that CO2 is “driving temperature” and the forecasts are 400 percent wrong. So much for the top climate scientists in the world!

The IPCC in its 2014 Synthesis Report says:

“Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions…are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” In other words, the climate is changing and there is at least a 95 percent probability that we are the reason.

There will be extinctions if we don’t reverse the greenhouse gas trend. The IPCC Working Group on the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change reported in 2007, “A warming of 2°C above 1990 levels will result in mass mortality of coral reefs globally…with one-sixth of the Earth’s ecosystems being transformed…and about one-quarter of known species being committed to extinction.” Many plants and animals will be unable to adapt quickly enough. There have been five major extinction events in the history of the planet, and we are heading towards a sixth, the difference being that this time humans will be the cause. It boggles the mind that 7 billion humans can have such devastating effects on other species, but it’s not science fiction. For example, when coral reefs die, the entire ecosystem dies too.

The warming effect of greenhouse gases is not immediate. No matter what we do now global temperatures will rise by 0.6°C by the end of the century. But there is urgency now because the Paris Climate Change Conference in December may be the last opportunity to get international cooperation to curb greenhouse gases before it becomes impossible to avoid global warming of 2°C.

Canada’s greenhouse gas record is one of broken promises. Our new Liberal government needs to know that Canadians want subsidies for fossil fuels to stop, we want polluters to pay, we want Canada to be an environmental leader.

Jan McQuay