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It must be sunspots! (How about it must be certain world leaders, including Harper)

Well, the global warming skeptics out there were half-right when they claimed climate change models run on computers can’t accurately predict future climate change. Unfortunately, it appears the models were too conservative in their predictions.

Carbon dioxide emissions were 35 per cent higher in 2006 than in 1990, a much faster growth rate than anticipated, researchers led by Josep G. Canadell, of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

So, we have this study that says Carbon Dioxide is higher then the models predicted, and we’ve had a prior study where Arctic sea ice is melting much faster then predicted. I’m sure the climate-change skeptics like the editorial board at the National Post will find something to explain this away, though the scientists have offered their own theories why CO2 has jumped; basically, we are producing much more carbon dioxide than was factored into the 1990-era predictions, the earth’s seas and forests are much less able to absorb the increase, and the result is that Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising much faster than the models predicted.

That leads into the second point; how do we stop it? Thomas Friedman of the New York Times writes in an op-ed titled Save The Planet, Vote Smart, that it’s much more then choosing the energy-efficient light bulb, society must look at the people running their governments and choose the right leaders:

Why? Because leaders write the rules, set the standards and offer the tax incentives that drive market behavior across a whole city, state or country. Whatever any of us does individually matters a tiny bit. But when leaders change the rules, you get scale change across the whole marketplace. And the energy-climate challenge we face today is a huge scale problem. Without scale, all you have is a green hobby…So if you want to be a green college kid or a green adult, don’t fool yourself: You can change lights. You can change cars. But if you don’t change leaders, your actions are nothing more than an expression of, as Dick Cheney would say, “personal virtue.”

This is the point that needs to be made about Stephen Harper and John Baird and the whole “aspirational targets are good enough” lot we have in Canada’s Conservative “North Star” government. If Canadians want real climate change fighting to be done, Harper and Baird and the Conservative Party are not the people to be leading the fight, and that point needs to be hammered over and over again to the public. If people think Canada can do better at fighting GHG, as 2/3 of then said in a recent poll, we must emphasize over and over again to the public that for that to happen, it’s time for the public to elect politicians who will lead in that fight, and not keep ones that try to delay or deny action on global warming.

2 comments to It must be sunspots! (How about it must be certain world leaders, including Harper)

  • Whooee! Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

    I reckon good leadership is important but I disagree with Friedman that individual actions are simply feel-good stuff. Most air pollution comes from private passenger vehicle tailpipes. By making Earth-conscious choices wrt personal transportation, individuals can have a massive effect. Light bulbs? Most of the inefficient incandescent bulbs that are wasting electricity are lighting up private residences. It has been said that if every US household switched to CFB’s, they would no longer need to import mideast oil.

    I doubt that Arnold Schwartzenegger was elected as a green politician but he’s turned out to be just that. Other examples can easily be found for politicians who look green until they are in office; n.b. BC and Sask’s NDP governments. While federal leaders in the US (and Canada) have been delaying, denying and dithering, regional efforts by state and provincial governments are getting things done. Local municipal government also plays a big role in waste management and land use issues.

    Action on a national and international scale is, of course, vital but I bristle at Friedman’s notion that individual actions are meaningless. In fact, I chalk up a lot of current cynicism to such attitudes: "Why should I do anything when government/big business/industry doesn’t do its part?"

    I agree we should choose the right leaders. We should also choose the right means of transportation, home heating and cooling methods, garbage disposal, cleaning products, etc.

    Our leaders aren’t going to save Mother Earth. We are.

    JB

  • The climate change deniers are right; It’s not as bad as we thought!

    It’s worse.

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