Letters: Time to discuss twin elephants

The Cornwall Alliance is a religious organization that does not publish peer-reviewed science on climate change.

Editor, The News:

Re: Guess what, ‘CO2 isn’t that big a deal (Letters, Nov. 26).

Dennis Jaques recently wrote that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a good thing and not to be feared

He quotes the Heartland Institute and the Cornwall Alliance to back up his claims.

The Heartland Institute is a conservative think tank. One of its main goals is to deny climate change in the hope that the fossil fuel industry can continue with business as usual.

This organization also supported tobacco company Philip Morse in the 1990s to discredit any link between secondhand smoke and cancer.

The Cornwall Alliance is a religious organization that does not publish peer-reviewed science on climate change.  It does have proponents, such as NASA climate scientist Roy Spencer, who does not believe in human-induced climate change.

But Spencer’s views are those of an outlier, not the opinions of mainstream science on climate change.

I did not find the list of “over 20,000 scientists” who oppose mainstream science on global warming.

It is notable that Mr. Jaques did not refer to these individuals as climate scientists.

Some believe that climate change is being used as an excuse to change, or worse yet, to destroy the capitalist system.

Individual initiative is a wonderful thing.  We need the innovations that imaginative people can bring to our society.

However, capitalism has not remained true to its roots.  It has become distorted in favour of the most wealthy and has become blatantly corrupt. This has caused greater inequality between the rich and the poor. Families are working harder and harder to make ends meet. There is more and more pressure on many of them to work for less, while the wealthy elite hide their profits in tax havens and escape paying their fair share of the taxes that support a better world.

Regarding climate change, however, the problem is that even the solutions that are proposed by those who recognize climate change as a serious challenge to our future may not lead to the kind of improvements that are hoped for.

First of all, many proposed renewable energy projects are not environmentally friendly, and don’t warrant being called “green.”

A climate scientist from UVic on the radio the other day described, in seemingly glowing terms, how China was soon going to be developing “a hundred site C dams”.

Imagine the destruction this would cause to fish, wildlife and other life forms.

Secondly, it is not clear whether or not renewable energy is actually sufficient to replace the energy of fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, it is imperative that we shift to renewable energy now, while maintaining ecological integrity.

We also need to begin discussing the twin elephants in the room.

We consume too much stuff (to use David Suzuki’s phrase) and there are simply too many of us on this planet.

We have lulled ourselves into believing that this beautiful planet on which we live has infinite capability to withstand the assaults that we have visited upon it.

We believe this because we have not been paying attention to what has already happened to wildlife, to ecosystems, to water tables, to deforestation, to desertification.

Sooner or later, however, none of us is going to be able to escape the devastations caused by a warmer climate.

We simply have to learn to live more lightly on this planet and I include myself in the we.

And, who knows, we might even find there are unexpected benefits to living lighter, to sharing more, at the same time rewarding those who produce new and beneficial solutions through their ingenuity and hard work.

Michael Sather

Maple Ridge


Any suggestions?

Editor, The News:

Re: Guess what, ‘CO2 isn’t that big a deal (Letters, Nov. 26).

CO2 is very important. There is a symbiotic relationship between it and nature.

The earth’s population is approximately seven billion, rising every second. Every day more than twice as many people are born as die. That we are polluting little creatures, there is no argument.

The major CO2 producer and temperature riser is water vapour, the most abundant in the atmosphere. It’s driven by storm systems and ocean currents. Deep ocean currents cause climate warming and cooling in long term cycles.

The Sun’s fluctuations contribute, too. Between 1900-2000, solar irradiance increased, causing rises in surface temperature. There are other factors too numerous to list.

Climate systems are unpredictable. Scientists are unable to affect past climates, ice ages or warm ones, so future predictions are iffy.

In the 20th Century, there has been two arctic warmings with a cooling, (1940-1970) in between.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has determined that the temperature in 1000-1100 AD, before fossil fuels, is comparable to the temperature from 1900-1990.

From 1998-2009, $25 billion was spent on climate science in the states. Scientists who question results do not often get research grant money. A lot of people make a lot of money and have a vested interest, not necessarily humanitarianism.

Of course, we all add to the mix, no one is exempt. Short of immediately returning to pre-industrial times and enacting severe population control, any suggestions?

Cherryl Katnich

Maple Ridge


Not the same

Editor, The News:

Re: We need carbon dioxide to survive (Letters, Dec. 3.

Richard Mead stated that in the late 1800s, the atmosphere contained 380 ppm CO2 and today it is the same.

Pre-industrial was about 250 ppm and today it is 400.

Dave Rush, P.Eng., M.A.Sc.

Maple Ridge




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