Excerpts from a letter by outgoing Obama energy secretary, Steven Chu, to employees of the Department of Energy.
"The average temperature of our planet is rising, with majority of the
temperature increase occurring in the last thirty years. During the
three decades from 1980 to 2011, the number of violent storms, floods,
droughts, heat waves, wildfires, as tabulated by the reinsurance company
Munich Re, has increased more than three-fold. They also estimate that
the financial losses follow a trend line that has gone from $40 billion
to $170 billion dollars per year. Most of those losses were not insured,
and the country suffering the largest losses by far is the United
States. As the President said in his recent Inaugural Address, “some
may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid
the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity
has had a significant and likely dominant role in climate change. There
is also increasingly compelling evidence that the weather changes we
have witnessed during this thirty year time period are due to climate
Virtually all of the other OECD countries [Canada excepted], and most developing
countries including China, India, Mexico, and Brazil have accepted the
judgment of climate scientists.
Ultimately we have a moral responsibility to the most innocent victims of adverse climate change. Those
who will suffer the most are the people who are the most innocent: the
world’s poorest citizens and those yet to be born. There is an ancient
Native American saying: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.” A few short decades later, we don’t
want our children to ask, “What were our parents thinking? Didn’t they
care about us?”
Coming from the modern Canadian petro-state, secretary Chu's warnings are particularly distressing. With all of our main political parties; Conservative, Liberal and New Democrat; resolutely committed to the extraction and export of high-carbon fossil fuels, coal and bitumen, our country has descended to a sullied place many of us never thought we could possibly reach.
Recalling yesterday's Liberal leadership forum there was possibly just one of the nine who might be like-minded with secretary Chu. One, maybe, and not a frontrunner at that.
By the way, it was recently announced that America's greenhouse gas emissions have now fallen to the lowest level since the 1990's. And Canada's?