Bill Kelly: There’s a climate crisis — who’s paying attention?
A report issued Tuesday by Environment Canada should sound alarm bells right across the country, but, given the political gamesmanship in Ottawa, it likely won’t get the attention that it deserves.
With the Opposition Conservatives fixated on scoring points against the Trudeau government over the SNC-Lavalin file, this extremely important climate change report will be dismissed as an attempt to “change the channel,” but that short-sighted attitude could make a bad situation even worse.
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The report tells us that Canada’s climate has been warming at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the world, and that could have serious consequences to the marine life in our surrounding oceans and to our fresh water supply.
An increase in global temperature such as Canada is experiencing can have serious ramifications on weather patterns and we’ve certainly seen that lately.
More severe winter and summer storms, but also more droughts and wildfires are sadly becoming the new normal.
The report also says that, without a doubt, the major cause in this troubling shift is human influence and that the only solution to curtail this climate conundrum is an immediate and drastic reduction in carbon emissions.
Sadly, it’s on this point that this critical report becomes a political football.
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There are, of course, climate change deniers, most notably U.S. President Donald Trump, who reject the notion that pollution has an effect on climate and who mistakenly confuse climate with weather.
But, that myopic perspective on climate also infects politicians on this side of the border.
Programs like the carbon tax or cap and trade, which have proved to be effective in other countries, are dismissed by conservative politicians like Doug Ford as job killers and economic detriments, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support that claim.
The very fact that politicians of that ilk and their supporters cling to that mindset only shows that they are guided by political ideology instead of science.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
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When the issue of the effect of pollution on the environment gained prominence some 40 years ago, it was two very conservative political leaders, Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan, who signed a pact to reduce harmful emissions to curtail the scourge of acid rain on the environment.
There’s a lesson to be learned there.
This isn’t a left or right political issue, it’s a human survival issue and it’s time our political leaders wake up to that reality, get off of their partisan political perch, and deal with it.
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