Climate change is nothing to make light of

Dear editor,

Re: Climate change is nothing but a scam (Letter, Nov. 17)

W.A. Metner describes climate change as “nothing but a scam” by asserting a global conspiracy among scientists and pointing to a new study about expanding Antarctic ice sheets.

This study, like all new research about the drivers and effects of climate change, is important to our understanding of Earth’s systems. In this case, the research suggests that the long-term trend of increased snow accumulation is currently overcompensating for the effect of increased glacial melt in the Antarctic.

Metner, however, confusingly links this Antarctic study to the Arctic – a region with overwhelming evidence of warming temperatures and declining ice sheets.

The global climate system is dynamic and complex, and the one thing that Metner gets right is that the climate is always changing. Natural factors affect the climate heterogeneously across the globe, resulting in cooling, warming, and changes in precipitation. Scientists know this. But they also know based on thousands of peer-reviewed papers dating back over a century that human action, and in particular the burning of fossil fuels, has a profound effect on the climate.

Moreover, to say that a warming climate is good because Canada might have longer growing seasons is pretty narrow-minded as a large portion of the Earth’s human population and accumulated biodiversity will be at risk unless the world collectively transitions to a low carbon economy.

Indeed, the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world who contributed the least to the problem will bear the brunt of the effects. And as history has shown, massive migrations of people escaping drought and diminishing resources are a recipe for conflict. A few people might still call climate change a global “scam”, but fortunately more Canadians, including our political leaders, are looking at the evidence and seeing this issue as the most important challenge facing our generation.

Jordan Benner