Science must guide climate change debate – Elizabeth May

Canada’s leading politicians are ‘feigning outrage’ while doing nothing to cut the country’s carbon emissions, according to Green Party chief Elizabeth May.

The last week saw a series of major discussions in Ottawa over the government’s climate change policies. One proposal is a cap-and-trade system (effectively a carbon market), but many conservatives believe this is little more than a ‘carbon tax’.

Writing on the ipolitics website, May says the two leading parties are more concerned about point scoring and shouting down opponents than having a reasoned debate:

We should be talking about the science. We should, as Parliamentarians, regardless of party, be acting responsibly as the evidence piles up. Every day it seems there is new evidence, always more worrying. Climate change is no longer creeping slowly. It is galloping, spurred on by dangerous feed-back loops.

The Arctic ice is shrinking in ways that spell danger for all of us, permafrost is melting threatening the release of vast deposits of methane (a very powerful greenhouse gas), oceans are acidifying, food production is threatened, and around the world lives are lost in extreme events from floods to fires to mudslides to tropical storms and tornadoes.

We should be talking about how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible in hope of avoiding ever-more-likely runaway global warming. I don’t like thinking about – or worse, talking about, the worst case scenarios of global warming. But former French President Sarkozy was right: the survival of human civilization is at risk.

Canada’s current government have not endeared themselves to the environmental movement over the past year. It pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol at last year’s UN climate summit in Durban, Environment Minister Peter Kent arguing that: “it does not represent a way forward for Canada”.

The country’s vast supplies of tar sands in the Alberta region offer the chance for Canada to become one of the world’s leading oil producers for years to come – a fact not lost on the government and climate activists at COP17.

Six young campaigners wearing “Turn your back on Canada” shirts protested during Kent’s speech in Durban – finding themselves ejected and banned as a result.

You can read the rest of Elizabeth May’s article on the ipolitics website.

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