Today (2009 October 24) is the International Day of Climate Action where over 5200 events world-wide will take place to lobby governments to stop their dithering and come up with an effective and realistic agreement on climate change at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December. Now, I’m not one who automatically responds to calls for action for one cause or another. As a writer, I prefer to do my research and take my time judging what causes I should and can afford to support.
However, on climate change, I have been doing my homework for quite a few years now; and as I wrote in my Alberta Outdoorsmen column in February of 2007, “The Politically Correct Climate Debate” , the evidence supporting human-caused climate change is overwhelming. We are in a crisis and we need to get our acts together quickly to stop the deterioration of our environment. (If you doubt the validity of these statements, I strongly recommend you read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, followed by Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer.)
What is sad is how many people are allowing themselves be duped by professional climate-change deniers, who are judging the issue not on the merits of the evidence presented but on their political bias and greed. Addressing climate change is going to require governments and large corporations to make difficult decisions they had rather not make (this all despite the many opportunities finding solutions to climate change should bring the economy). It’s much easier to deny than to take responsibility and do something positive for the environment, community and yes, our grandchildren. However, there is no time or room for political bias and dogma to direct what opinion you should have about climate change and global warming. Denying without doing the proper research, helps no one.
Yes, there was a debate over just how much industrialization is responsible for the changes we are seeing every day. Governments rightly questioned what some people were saying. That is why the United Nations struck the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of prominent climate change scientists from around the world, to evaluate the evidence, determine what is valid and come up with recommendations. After long deliberations, where all arguments were heard and evaluated, the panel determined (among others) that 1) climate change is real and is and will have huge effects on the global environment; and 2) much of the change has been caused by the release of so-called greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels for over the past 100 years.
I don’t know how you would be able to convene a more august body of experts than the IPCC. So, despite what you may have heard, the debate is over. Climate change is real, it is here, and it will affect how we will live in the next decades. If we as a world community do not properly address this issue at the Copenhagen conference this December, then we will lose a crucial opportunity to turn the future of the planet in our favor.
It must be remembered that climate change is nothing new. Climate has changed many times over the 3.5 billion+ year history of our planet. However, most climate change has not occurred as fast as it is occurring now. Climate change, whether fast or slow, often means the extinction of many species of both plants and animals that could not cope with that change. The faster the change, the more species that do not adapt in time. Do we really want to risk our future when we have the capability of doing something about this change?
That is why I urge you to take this International Day of Climate Action seriously. If you feel like I do, and want a bright and prosperous future for your children and grandchildren, then contact your government and demand they do all that they can to come to an effective agreement in Copenhagen this December to reduce our carbon emissions and get on with the work that needs to be done.
So, what’s wrong with that?