June 19th, 2024

Voters need to make the right choice for environment

By Braum Barber on August 25, 2021.

The first international effort to understand the impact of releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere from the burning of oil, gas and coal was published in 1990. Over 30 years later, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change continues to publish the synthesis of climate research based on the efforts of thousands of scientists worldwide.
The latest report continues to tell the same message as previous ones, only with much greater clarity.
It’s not looking good. We are in the midst of a climate emergency with an ever-diminishing amount of time to respond meaningfully. What does a climate catastrophe look like? If you haven’t heard, it is quite grim – even for wealthier nations accustomed to simply buying what they need. The recent IPCC report says that CO2 levels are higher than they’ve been since before the emergence of hominids two million years ago. These greenhouse gases trap a lot of energy in the lower atmosphere. Energy is heat. Climate is shifting northward bringing with it a higher number of extreme-hot days.
Hot air carries more moisture which can cause more extreme rain events, and more frequent and prolonged droughts. Weather extremes reduce food production, as witnessed across the prairies this summer. Secure food production is fundamental for maintaining a stable society.
The extra heat energy will continue to melt snowpack and glaciers, affecting natural river flows and threatening reliable water sources for irrigation, intensive livestock operations, and industry. Coniferous forests are already stressed and replanted clear-cuts will fail to thrive in this warming climate.
Dry forests burn, adding even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Diminished forests hold less water for instream flow needs and late-season human uses.
Plants and animals that cannot shift with the climate to which they have adapted will go extinct. New disease and pest vectors will thrive, introducing further challenges to ecosystems on which we rely.
There is more: diminishing Arctic ice, disrupted ocean currents, rising sea levels, greater storm surges and inundation of coastal cities and farmland, ocean acidification, and a massive loss of fecund coral reefs.
The IPCC report is rich in details of the interrelations and impacts of climate disruption within our ecosystems – it is science.
Said more directly, it is warming almost everywhere, it is warming rapidly, it is going to get worse before it gets better, and it will only get better if we reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions as soon as possible.
To achieve this with some modicum of international fairness is a daunting task. The scientists are not sugar-coating the risks of our continued indifference to greenhouse gas emissions. As one scientist has said: “There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”
And, ultimately, we are all in this together (except, maybe, for a few billionaires hiding out in their prepper-villas in New Zealand).
A fundamental shift of this magnitude will require global cooperation and abundant financing. But there are individual acts that have a collective impact, too.
Waste less food, buy durable goods you really need, reuse and recycle, turn down the thermostat, plant a tree.
The best thing you can do in the near future that could make a difference: vote for a decision-maker willing to act.
Join SAGE this fall in asking what our municipal and federal leaders will do for our collective future and a stable climate. SAGE is a leading voice for a healthy and sustainable community.

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Citi Zen

Massive amounts of CO2 coming from volcanic eruptions around the world are many, many times greater than anything generated by man. Killing the oil industry, and it’s many jobs, will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the real issue, which is natural and beyond our control.
Additionally, forest fires started by lightning also add immensely to the CO2 problem. Again, no the fault of mankind but rather in the case of lightning, totally natural. Get your priorities straight, stop with the fake news.

SAGE Chair

From Section TS2.2 of the IPCC report (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Full_Report.pdf):

“Since 1750, changes in the drivers of the climate system are dominated by the warming influence of increases in atmospheric GHG concentrations and a cooling influence from aerosols, both resulting from human activities. In comparison there has been negligible long-term influence from solar activity and volcanoes. Concentrations of CO2, CH4, and N2O have increased to levels unprecedented in at least 800,000 years, and there is high confidence that current CO2 concentrations have not been experienced for at least 2 million years.”


SAGE Chair you are right, The IPCC indeed has made those claims, not only in AR6, but also in previous AR reports. The problems are elsewhere:
a) There are some 20 known cyclical mechanisms that effect the Earth’s temperature. Two or three are anthropogenic, like the CO2 cycle, but most of the others are natural. IPCC’s scope of work was limited to examining ONLY the anthropogenic ones and IPCC has done a good job in examining them. Sherlock Holmes has shown us that investigators must round up ALL suspects and go through the process of elimination before reaching any conclusion. Unfortunately IPCC has reached conclusions without examining the majority of the natural mechanisms that effect our temperature.
b) We do know that CO2 causes some warming, but what we don’t know is how significant is this warming relative to the other neglected mechanisms. Further more, IPCC has not produced a verifiable real world scientific evidence that confirms that the anthropogenic CO2 warming is the dominant force that controls the Earth’s thermostat.
c) There are hundreds of peer reviewed scientific papers that show holes in IPCC’s conclusions. Yet surprise, surprise, Instead of IPCC addressing them, it has chosen to ignore them .
d) There are thousands of qualified scientists that question IPCC’s alarmism, but here again the alarmist scientists avoid debating them like the Ebola. Would Mr. Barber care to debate them?
e) The mathematical models have been proven to be useful in understanding complex and chaotic systems, but they have also proven that they are not any good in making predictions – basically due to the extensive biases in the assumptions that they include. That is why past predictions have come and gone without coming truth.
Based on these flimsy supports, Mr. Barber committed the Cardinal Sin against Democracy by trying to mislead people how to vote. SHAME.


Interesting metaphor, Socrates: relating democracy to a religion – dogmatic, uncritical, authoritarian.
But I guess this might be a characteristic of those who cling to conspiracy and tired tropes.
For me, democracy involves an informed public who choose representatives that would provide for a favourable future. Something I think this article expresses well.
By the way, the Taxpayers Association just had an article in the Herald telling people how to vote – you know, The Cardinal Sin! Go get ’em, tiger!


SophieR, voters will always need information before elections. Providing any information carries social and ethical responsibility to ensure that it is true and factual. When it is not, then we have an ethical and social breach of democratic rules. The Taxpayers Association I assume have the facts stated in their tax receipts. Busy bodies activists, on the other hand, parrot others without verifying the facts. No Court accepts as evidence “hearsay”.


Funny you should say that. Did you read your own previous response?
The article references the synthesis of climate scientists worldwide, supported by all the science academies, while you offer … Nobody. Just some vague attributions and a seemingly misleading use of ‘we’.
Really, ‘we’ think it is you who is acting without integrity, shamefully. But don’t let this get you down. You can always try to learn more and be a better person.


Typical response: a) my sources are better than yours, b) ignoring the scientific points made by challengers and c) starting personal attacks. Blah, blah blah. Anything except providing scientific evidence to back alarmist claims made. A scientific evidence is not found in the UN bureaucracy’s reports. It is contained into scientific journals that publish peer reviewed studies. If you have such evidence let me know, otherwise don’t waste my time.


Typical response: a) what sources? b) what scientific points? what journals? and c) well, okay:)
You have to do better than find a few bespectacled basement dwellers tapped into Q.
Oh, and here are your working group scientists who have contributed to the latest IPCC report:
But I understand about wasting your time. You must be very busy being one of the last climate crisis foot-draggers on the planet. Crime against humanity, anyone?


Thanks for your timely reminder before the upcoming election. Voters can check out climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe’s analysis of each party’s climate platform here: https://www.chatelaine.com/news/canada-election-2021-climate-plans-graded/