I was filled with a sense of dismay and perhaps a little despair when I read Stephen Murgatroyd’s column on “The End of the Kyoto Accord” (Trail Times Dec. 2).
No doubt, he has taken an accurate reading of the international political climate heading into the talks in Durban. More’s the pity. It isn’t surprising that global financial instability and economic recessions are the most pressing and high profile problems faced by national governments and that they would put plans to lower CO2 emissions on the back burner.
Not surprising, but deeply worrying.
As our climate continues to warm and our populations continue to grow, consuming more and more of our planet’s finite resources, governments may be increasingly inclined to put the climate issue on the back burner.
The cost of the impact of rising sea levels, catastrophically destructive storms and droughts will hit our economies hard, and as long as we citizens are locked into the consumer and growth-at-all-cost paradigms our leaders will work to preserve this status quo.
David Suzuki and a majority of highly respected scientists are saying that staying with our current approach to using resources and altering the delicate climate balance is committing collective suicide. Mr. Murgatroyd sneers at such warnings as if they were coming from a dishonest and doubtful bunch of fanatics.
He snidely quotes a UK court referring to climate change activists as “a religious cult”.
Perhaps if he lived on a disappearing Pacific island shoreline or in the north where climate change is already causing significant disruption to the ecology, transportation and local ways of life, he might be more inclined to get a little of this religion himself.
Unfortunately, he belongs to that scary school of thought that advocates doing nothing if a few scientists, largely bought and paid for by fossil fuel industries, can throw any doubt at all on the question of climate change, its origins or consequences.
All these corporations need is a little confusion about the issue to sap our leaders’ wills to make serious changes.
Then they can squeeze a few more years of profit out of fossil fuels. To hell with clear scientific warnings about running out of time to prevent runaway warming.
They would rather we all just cozied up to our escapist TV programs and didn’t interfere with the economic model that is making them progressively richer.
Unfortunately, this model may also be making all of us poorer in terms of the planetary inheritance we leave our children and grandchildren, but Stephen Murgatroyd would rather not think about that.
Like most of us, he would rather frame things in comfortable, familiar terms than face a world that, sooner or later, will require radical change.