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Fossil fuel production needs to slow down now

January 17, 2013 · 5:46 PM
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Dear editor,

In his letter to the Record (Harper not Chinese puppet, Jan. 2) Win Hunter writes, "A sustainable 'greener' future is possible, but let's get the oil to market to pay for it."

What he writes might seem to be 'common sense' but it ignores the fundamentals of a changing global climate.

Sea water is 30 per cent more acidic than it was 40 years ago because of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. We are now breathing 395 parts per million of CO2, up from 300 ppm just a hundred years ago, and that number is now rising two ppm per year.

The past 333 months have seen above-average global temperatures — statistically not a random event. By the end of last summer, Arctic sea ice coverage was 25 per cent of what it was 40 years before.

Unless we get off coal and gas and oil far faster than any government is considering, we are due for a four- to five-degree Celsius increase by the end of this century, with the catastrophic changes that would bring.

Even without new foreign investment or new pipelines, heavy oil production from Alberta is set to double by 2020.

Rather than increasing even faster, fossil fuel production needs to slow down now.

Although it does mean changing our comfortable 20th-century habits, the sustainable greener future that Mr. Hunter desires is unavailable otherwise.

Tom Pater,

Courtenay