Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Rising Chorus Demanding Action

I can hear the choir singing and pretty soon Steve and Mike and Jack won't be able to pretend they don't hear it too.

Here's the headling from today's London Free Press: "People need to prepare for extreme weather, expert says."

People - that'd be us, the Canadian people. Extreme weather - that's what is already setting in. Prepare - that's what Steve and Mike and Jack are trying to keep us from doing.

You see, in order for - the people - to prepare - for extreme weather - we need a bit of information, actually a lot of information. We need the sort of information other governments are giving their citizens to help them understand, plan and prepare for what climate change will bring to their countries.

It's not like we don't have the expertise to churn out this information. We do. We have climate scientists of all disciplines in the federal government whose salaries you pay every time you send in your taxes. I'd bet if they weren't under lockdown they'd be really happy to begin churning out reliable "best case scenario" climate change outlooks for every of the several distinct regions of Canada. What's so wrong with learning the best that will probably happen?

But don't take it from me. This from the London Free Press:

Governments and people need to be better prepared for weather extremes caused by climate change, a national research group headed by a London Nobel Prize-winner said today.

"Unusual" weather, such as tornados and floods, are becoming more and more frequent across Canada, said Gordon McBean, and yet most people aren't aware of it and are ill-prepared for it.

McBean is the lead author of a report released today that maps out how Canadian communities must adapt to worsening weather caused by climate change.

"The strength of typhoons and hurricanes has become stronger," said McBean. He's director of policy studies at UWO's Institute for Catastrophic Loss Prevention and shares the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the international Panel on Climate Change.

The study was conducted by the Adaptation to Climate Change Team of Simon Fraser University, with collaboration from the University of Windsor and UWO.

The team recommends Canada establish a national climate action centre to help co-ordinate planning for and to respond to weather extremes. It also calls for a national system that can alert people to climate hazards such as lightning, tornados and heavy rainfalls.

..."There's a real underestimation of the risk," he said.

Yet climate is becoming increasingly volatile.

"The more prepared people are, the most resilient they can be," Henstra said.

Individuals need to make sure they have 72 hours of food and water and a secondary source of heat. Then that preparedness needs to radiate out to the street, the block, the community and the province and country.

Yes, there is a real understimation of the risk especially by those who continue to shill for the Tar Sands. They know that slashing carbon emissions and climate change adaptation are firmly linked. It's a direct, causal connection. Once the public become informed about what's coming and what they need to do about it they won't find rampant carbon emissions from ventures like the Tar Sands remotely tolerable. What remains to be seen is how much longer we're going to allow the Tories and the Libs and the Dippers to sit on this fence.


Anonymous said...

Here, here. A. Morris

LMA said...

In fairness, at least Ignatieff has raised the possibility of climate change as an election issue in his French ad, albeit only to attack the Cons for their lack of solutions. We need more details from Ignatieff on his own solutions, in particular how does he propose fighting climate change while supporting the Tar Sands? Also, any policies for green jobs, retrofitting programs, light rapid transit, reforestation, etc., etc.