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2008-10-11 - 1:10 p.m.

...we've got to do something now...

Yesterday, a major Canadian newspaper - the Club and Bail - endorsed Canada's current sinister for re-election. It made me very depressed. I was convinced of CB's bias when I consistently read anti-Hilary pro-Barack headlines over the summer. But I read with disgust that its stuffy editorial team has declared that Harpo is the best man for the job. Best MAN no less, ignoring the fact that there is indeed a woman in the race as well.

Harpo. ugh. Just last year, when he was asked about global warming, he said, "it's difficult to predict what will happen. We can't even predict the weather ten days from now. How can we possibly know what will happen in ten years?" I'm astounded that the Canadian sinister could be such a boob. Well, I guess I shouldn't be, given that I'm American and look what WE'VE had for the last eight years. But REALLY folks. After all of this time, this dude still doesn't understand the distinction between "Weather" and "Climate". Worse yet, he doesn't have ONE science adviser who can help him out on this one...sheez.

Just this last week, there was an open letter to Canadian political candidates, and all Canadians - signed by 125 Canadian climate scientists (including yours truly). The letter is a wake-up call to Canada - citizens of Canada nod politely and about 80% of them agree that global warming is a problem. But I don't think they realize the extent of the problem. The Arctic lost a larger volume of ice this year than it ever has in recorded history, and it will be ice free in summer in our lifetime. 10-25% of the species that depend on that climate regime WILL go extinct. These are changes that we can no longer stop, because we've waited too long.

What people do not seem to realize is that the amount of ice lost in the Arctic even surprised the climate scientists who work on this stuff. Our models didn't predict it. We predicted a steady decline - not the collapse that has occurred over the last two years. Another thing that has happened is that when we look at our economic models used to predict future scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions - we have already overshot the famous "Business-As-Usual" prediction line. The planet is already producing more CO2 than our worst-case scenario.

I also think that the general population of Canada needs to begin to care (or know) enough to act. If you add up all emissions since about 1860, Canada and India have put about the same amount of carbon dioxide into the the atmosphere. Stunning when you realize that India has 38 times the population of Canada! Canada ranks 28th out of 30 OECD countries in terms of protection of the environment. Canada was the most obstructionist country at the international climate conference in Bali, blocking every constructive pathway towards future greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets beyond Kyoto. In the last few days, the representative from Canada didn't even bother to show up for the talks. It's a country of very nice people - this should be EMBARRASSING.

A parallel letter went out from economists across the country, explaining that the only effective way to create a change in our consumption patterns immediately is via a carbon tax. This route has been recommended by environmental economists for many years - from before Harpo's comic reign - and has been ignored by a government that must be pandering to the interests in the oil sands.

I cannot believe that I would ever support someone like BC's premier, but what a brave soul. He did what 8 years of the NDP failed to do in BC, and that's to listen to economic advisers and take action on carbon dioxide emissions. In the third year of a four-year election cycle no less. It takes a lot of guts to do something like that, and if I were able to vote, I'd support the guy.

I participated in a lecture series this week - where I introduced a guy who is probably Canada's top climate scientist. His model calculations argue that Canada - and the world - needs to become a carbon-free society if we want to avoid the threshold temperatures that will melt a substantial portion of Greenland. It was attended by 200 people, and I left feeling glad that he is out there, getting the message across. Because occasionally, I get rather upset by a sense that nobody is really GETTING this stuff.

So, I'll be changing my homepage once again - this time from Club and Bail right on over to the Funcouver Sun. Depressing times, indeed.

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