Letters to the Editor

Kyota decision disappointing







Dear editor,

I was discouraged to hear that Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. Admittedly Kyoto was a flawed plan and I can understand some of environment minister Peter Kent's frustrations with the protocol as outlined by his government.

Particularly disappointing is the non-participation of the United States and China who together produce almost half of the world's greenhouse gases. What I found particularly discouraging though was that Canada's withdrawal was not accompanied by any specific suggestion of an alternative plan to deal with an impending world disaster. There is no indication that Kent's government is now attempting to convince the USA and China to join some other climate change protocol. It appears Kent feels we can just walk away and leave this problem behind us. Or that if we ignore it, it will go away.

I regularly receive brochures from the office of my MP, John Duncan, promoting the Harper government's policies. Rarely do they ever mention environmental problems let alone any policies to address them. I am truly baffled by this omission. Does Kent not see the elephant in the room? I have thought about it a great deal and come up with three possible explanations for the government's silence on this issue.

The first possibility is that they don't agree with the science. I confess that I am not a scientist so I have to rely upon the expertise of others. I suspect that most of the members of the government are in a similar position. All the books and articles I have read by accredited scientists are unequivocal in concluding that the world is about to encounter disastrous changes due to atmospheric warming caused by human activity.

If Kent has discovered a book with a different view written by an accredited scientist who is not being funded by an oil company I would love to read it. Scientists may differ in their details and timeframes but they are unanimous in agreeing that we are confronting an impending crisis. In any case, if the government disagrees with the scientific evidence you should say so publicly and be prepared to defend your position.

Canada is one of the few countries that is projected in the short term to benefit from climate change. Perhaps the Harper government is thinking it might not be so bad to have cattle ranches on Baffin Island.  If we're going to be one of the climate change winners why fight it? If this is the thinking of Kent's government it is truly frightening in its naivete.

The rest of the world is not going to lie down and die while casting an envious eye upon Canada. Can you imagine the brutality of a fight for survival in a world of shrinking livable regions. And the morality of it aside, what comfort is it to be on the dry bow of a sinking ship?

The third possibility is that there are some in government who see climate change as the will of God: the fulfillment of some sort of Biblical prophecy of doom. If this is the case, I don't know what to say. But if there is a religious basis for government environmental policy you should state it publicly so the voters can respond accordingly.

Am I missing something? If there is some other kind of thinking behind the government's non-action on this issue would you please let me know. We are told that because we procrastinated, it would have cost us $14 billion to meet our Kyoto commitments and we can't afford this. Isn't this like saying we have to watch our house burn down because we can't afford a fire extinguisher? Or that we can't afford to pay for life saving surgery if it means we might have to cancel our trip to Hawaii?

Mr. Kent, you and I probably aren't going to be around to experience the full effects of this disaster. Do you have children or grandchildren?

Erik Taynen





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