Monday, December 14, 2009

Canada and Global Warming

I am an arctic addict or, as my friend Matthew Swan describes it, I have "arcticus feverus". I try to get there annually, mostly with Adventure Canada, and when I'm there it touches me deeply. Three years ago we went further north than ever we had before to a place in west Greenland called Etah. We managed to get there because it was so ice free. All over the arctic there are clear signs of incredibly fast changes brought on by global warming: glaciers receding at rates faster than anyone previously predicited (checkout this link: Extreme Ice Survey), methane escaping in freshwater arctic pools as permafrost melts, thining ice, shrinking of the permanent ice pack, robins on Baffin island, and more. Regardless of anything we do now to reduce greenhouse emissions, major ecological changes have started in the arctic and will continue. Yet in the face of this, my country, Canada, seems to see no good reason to act decisively to help curb emmissions. The Conservative government says that they intend to lower Canada's greenhouse gases 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020 and to further lower emissions 60 to 70 per cent below 2006 levels by 2050. These targets are far lower than Canada committed to in 1997 since which our emissions increased by 30%!! They are also out-of-step with most other developed countries that are actually trying to reduce global warming.

I expect better of Canada.

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