Letter: Time to address climate

A decision is looming regarding whether or not the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline will be approved,

This is an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna and Minister of Environment and Climate Change James Carr.

As a decision is looming regarding whether or not the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline will be approved, I wanted to share some information about the impact of increasing our carbon-based energy infrastructure.

According to a new UN report as referenced in an arstechnica.com article titled UN report: climate goals rapidly moving out of reach, carbon emissions would have to start dropping immediately to reach our 2030 goal for yearly carbon emissions. This is just to reach our goal of limiting warming to an increase of 2 C (and we’d need more aggressive actions to reach what is considered a safer goal of limiting the increase to a rise of 1.5 C). Current pledged emissions would keep us static and would have us emitting the same in 2030 as we are right now.

In order to reduce our emissions we will have stop adding to our carbon-based energy infrastructure and also transition to using non-carbon based energy sources. Countries around the world are already aggressively transitioning to renewable energy. Increased employment in building our renewable energy infrastructure will offset the loss of jobs in the carbon based economy.

Another recent study by Drew Shindell and Yunha Lee of Duke University and NASA’s Greg Faluvegi states that the United States could save a trillion dollars every year by implementing more aggressive climate policies (see thearstechnica.com article More aggressive climate policies could save us $1 trillion each year). Surely similar savings could be realized around the world.

Every year lately, the yearly average global temperature breaks the all-time record for hottest year ever. Global climate change is already affecting our ability to grow food (droughts in food growing regions are affecting food prices), it’s affecting our forests (pests and more/bigger fires), fish stocks (increased water temperatures), global migration and rising sea levels. How bad is it going to have to get before we really start to make changes?

We could wait to catch up to more proactive countries until massive chunks of ice at the north and south poles start breaking off into the ocean, but the longer we wait, the harder it’s going to be to make the transition.

Even global business groups like the WTO and international insurance companies are recognizing the need to address man-made climate change. There are economic benefits to addressing the problem. The debate is over: climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate change we’re experiencing is man-made.

It’s time to stop adding to our carbon-based energy infrastructure and to transition to renewable energies. Prime Minister Trudeau, please reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Paul Russo, Penticton

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