2047 is coming. What will Canada do?

To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, 

Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq, 

Dear Ministers in Cabinet of the Government of Canada:

I am writing to you with a feeling of great alarm at what I perceive to be an ongoing lack of determined Canadian Government action in the face overwhelming scientific evidence that warming of the surface of our planet, the very place where life exists in all its diversity, has taken place over the last two hundred years (greatly accelerated over the last 50 years). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent report concludes that human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels – coal, petroleum products and natural gas, is responsible for this climatic change. I must say that I have been concerned for a decade by the reports of the IPCC and have taken my own steps to reduce my family’s carbon footprint, such as greatly reducing the size of our living space, driving a car about 70% less than we used to and using public transit, cycling and walking as much as possible.

I am also a parent of four adult children and nine grandchildren. I know that you have children, or nieces, nephews and perhaps grandchildren as well.

My request to the Government of Canada is that it must change its energy policies from pro-fossil fuel use to ones that are pro-renewable energy use plus strong conservation measures. Canada needs to stop the tar sands extraction now (maybe temporarily if a future generation finds a superior use for this organic material), stop the proposed dangerous transport of diluted bitumen and other petroleum products via pipelines and rail, stop the $ multibillion subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and instead embark on war-time like emergency measures to convert our economy over to renewable energy and conservation. My reasons for such drastic but life saving recommendations follow below:

Last Thursday I read in the October 10 Globe and Mail, an article on page A6 entitled: ‘Profound change predicted for tropics – Dalhousie trained researcher crunches data numbers to forecast a global warming turning point – in the year 2047’, written by Science Reporter Ivan Semeniuk, based on a research paper published in the prestigious science journal Nature. I have copied the links to both below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/science-team-pinpoints-time-when-climate-will-shift-to-unnatural-state/article14774332/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v502/n7470/full/nature12540.html

The author of the paper, Dr. Camilo Mora, a data analyst at the University of Hawaii at Manoa but trained at Dalhousie University under the late Dr. Ransom Myers, has examined ‘39 currently available global climate models’ to try to find out when and where average yearly temperatures will completely move out of their current ranges. By his team’s number crunching he was able to predict the year when any location on Earth would have an average yearly temperature that stood completely higher (out of the previous range) than what we experience now. I invite you to read the articles to understand the details. 

One of the findings which surprised the researchers, given that predictions and experience so far have indicated that the fastest warming is occurring at the Arctic and Antarctic poles, is the more rapid average temperature rise in the mid-latitude tropics. I invite you to examine the map provided in the Globe and Mail article. 

A consequence that struck me immediately was the date for the complete yearly average temperature transformation (lowest average yearly temperatures in 2047 will be higher than the highest average temperatures now) of Ottawa, shown on the map to be the year 2047 – ‘if carbon emissions continue at current pace’. ‘If carbon emissions are curbed, the date would be put off to 2069. This means that we will still suffer some consequences of warming but we may be able to mitigate this over the longer term. The 2047 date is also the average date for the complete global average temperature transformation to occur. 

Then I projected the ages of my 9 grandchildren to the year 2047. Three of them do live in Ottawa while the remaining 6 live in the GTA. In 2047 their ages will range from 37 years to 47 years. In 2047 the world these adults will inherit from us may be largely uninhabitable, particularly in places like the southern U.S. and Mexico on this continent. I do not wish to bequeath this dire legacy to my grandchildren or anyone else’s children, fully knowing as I go about my daily life now that this is the diminished world I am leaving to them.

Do you not feel the same way about your children/grandchildren? You are the leaders of Canada. I don’t see you leading. Every time I hear one of you talk about some less important policy matter regarding our nation or cast doubt on reports of climate scientists it frustrates me. I stop to wonder why you are not talking about the most important issue of all, whether there will be a future life support system for the Earth. 

Canada needs to become a world leader in this major move away from fossil fuel use and toward renewable energy and conservation. Instead other nations are moving ahead of us with investments and job creation in the renewable energy field. We have had the benefits of a land full of resources, education and a high standard of living already. Because of the good fortune to have been born in this blessed land, we owe it to the rest of the peoples and animals/plants to lead mankind away from this fossil fueled destruction. My grandchildren will judge the actions you take now. Please be on the right side of history. 

I would like to communicate with any of you further about reversing man made climate change. Dealing with this crisis effectively cannot wait. 2047 is only 34 years away.

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About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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