Climate Change and Politics

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“Unstoppable.”

That’s the word NASA uses to describe the melting ice in Antarctica. The ice is melting, and it appears that it’s too late for the human race to do anything about that. Even if every driver in the world stopped using their cars for a whole year, the ice won’t stop melting. The greenhouse gasses are too much. We’ve screwed up royally. Within the next decade, we will begin to notice sea levels rising. For us here in Sault Ste. Marie, we don’t have to worry because we are far from the ocean. Geography is on our side. Thank God for that.

In Atlantic Canada and on the West coast and on the Northern coast as well, there will be consequences. Sea levels will rise. And while a couple of inches may not seem like that much of an increase to us, it actually is a significant problem. Flooding will be more common. Billions of dollars more in damage. All it takes is for a category one hurricane or even a tropical storm to create waves, push all that water on land, and with a higher sea level, areas further from the ocean, usually safe from catastrophic floods, will be at risk.

Politicians say that they are committed to protecting oceans and coastal areas and battling climate change. They say that they will be guardians of the environment. Unfortunately their words are worthless. Our government is anti-environment, that’s no news to us, but when Canada withdraws from Kyoto because we can’t cut down our greenhouse gasses enough, that’s just despicable. Canada is the first out of over 80 nations to abandon the Kyoto Protocol.

Of course, to be fair, in 2009, the Harper Government signed the Copenhagen agreement, vowing to cut emissions down 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. Sadly, numerous studies have shown that Canada is far behind the leaders in terms of environmental performance. The Conservatives blame the Liberals for the continued deterioration of the environment. But when your party has been in power for eight years, it’s time to stop blaming previous governments. Yes, the Liberals have made some mistakes, but the Conservatives were swept into office because the people expected solutions to fix the problems.

Instead of offering solutions to repair the environmental damage, the Conservatives have pushed bills that weaken environmental protection in favor of big industries that emit harmful fumes that pollute our air, harmful acids that pollute our water. Canada’s population is 0.5% of the world’s total population, yet Canada is the World’s eighth largest contributor of greenhouse gasses.

Unfortunately the politics of climate change has failed the planet. Conservatives point the fingers at the Liberals, the Liberals point the fingers at the Conservatives. The Green Party, the party dedicated to protecting the planet, they’re gaining the trust of the electorate. Slowly, yes, but still, now there’s a Green Member of Parliament. About 10% of Canada’s population votes Green. That number will go up as we begin to witness the effects of global warming.

As the ice of Antarctica melts and the sea levels rise, it won’t be long before we face the consequences of our fuel addiction. I know that politics is a boring topic for my generation, but the youth need to rise up and invest in the future and vote for an environmentally friendly government.

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree with you Matthew. We have let things slide for far too long. No one wants to do anything abut the environment that may hinder the economy, and so we continue on leaving devastation in our wake.
    What will we do when the fresh water, clean air and every ounce of nutritional food has been overcome with pollution. As they say, you can’t eat money. I enjoy your columns!

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