Take the lead: On climate action

By Chris Genovali

Calgary Herald, Nov 30, 2009

Re: “Climate plan will take 40 years: Prentice,” Nov. 21.

Climate scientist James Hansen of NASA states we have already passed the threshold for “maximum permissible concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” CNN reported this week that a possible rise in sea levels of 0.5 metres by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world’s largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the insurance industry. In March, the journal Science reported that sustained atmospheric warming projected for the coming centuries could produce a worldwide rise in sea level of 12 metres, compared with today’s levels. Ironically, Jim Prentice’s plan apparently reaches its goal at the projected 2050 half-metre sea level rise. Prentice claims he wants sensible solutions, but is a phased-in approach spread over four decades sensible when the best available science tells us decisive action needs to be taken now to attenuate anticipated impacts?

As Corinne Le Quere points out, global carbon emissions increased by almost 30 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Isn’t it time Canada showed some leadership on the most pressing international issue dominating the world stage? Or are we going to be content to hide behind 40-year plans and draw even more ire from the global community in the fight against climate change?

Chris Genovali is executive director of Raincoast Conservation.

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