This series of three photos shows a visible reduction in the ice mass of the Comox Glacier

It’s time for climate change to become a federal election issue

Comox Glacier visible proof of the validity of the issue

Ralph Shaw

Special to The Record

Writing about recreational fishing and hunting plus many other recreational pursuits in the outdoors will be a growing challenge with the uncertainties brought on by climate change and global warming.

In 2014 in my Nov. 13 column I ran a double picture of the Comox Glacier taken by Fred Fern that showed the melt from September 26, 2013 to September 26, 2014. Thanks to the generous support from Fred Fern and his friend Will Lebus we have a three-tiered photo covering the last three years – 2013, 2014, and 2015 of the Comox Glacier. All three photos were taken from the observation stand on the Dyke Road near the end of September.

If you take a few minutes and examine them carefully you will see a startling amount of ice loss from 2013 to 2015. This composite photograph is like a catalyst  billboard at the west end of Comox Lake telling us that global warming and climate change are real and happening in the Comox Valley.

At the present rate of melting and with the developing  El Niño this winter, I respectfully suggest that not very much of the glacier will exist after 2018. The loss of the cooling effect of the glacial melt water on Comox Lake and the Puntledge River will a have direct impact on the ability of our salmon populations to survive. With a real possibility of recurring drought we may face serious water problems not unlike those currently being faced by California. We have a real possibility of losing much of our forest lands to insect attacks and climate change affecting the forests’ ability to survive the  new climate.

We are in the middle of a national election in Canada and aside from Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party I have not read or heard any significant comments on global warming  or climate change from Mr. Harper, Mr. Trudeau, or Mr. Mulclair.

In the meantime, world leaders at United Nations general assembly, currently in progress, have made some of the following comments: President Obama wants world leaders to focus on the fight against world poverty and climate change. After addressing the general assembly, Obama had a one-on-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom the president considers a prime leader in forging a meaningful agreement on climate change by the end of the year. French President Francois Holland began his address talking about climate change. Chinese President Xi Jinping said China stands ready to meet environmental goals, but he urged more developed countries “to fulfil their historic role in helping developing countries mitigate and adapt” to climate change.

Mr. Putin in his speech said the following: “Ladies and gentlemen – the issues (facing) the future of all people include the challenge of global climate change.”

To me it raises a frightening vision when the prime minister of the second largest country in the world – Canada – chooses not to attend this United Nations General Assembly and comment on the problems of global change and climate warming. We have the longest coastline of any country in the world surrounded by three oceans that are becoming more acidic due to absorbing growing amounts of carbon dioxide.

From the perspective of fresh, clean water, Canada is one of the richest nations on the planet. We have a small population with access to abundant recreational fishing and hunting resources as prime sources of producing local, clean, natural food.

We are in mid-stream in a national election that seems to focus on the economy and the problems of the oil industry in a world that is trying to free itself from the death sentence of too much production of carbon dioxide polluting our oceans and the atmosphere.

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

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