I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read on Friday, March 19 that the Conservatives were debating if climate change is real. The warming effects of CO2 were first discovered by Arrhenius in 1896. The oil companies themselves first acknowledged climate change in the 1970s in internal documents. There is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that human activity is increasing global temperature, and NASA reports that since records began in 1880, 19 of the warmest years have been since 2000.
The debate is not whether climate change is real or not, the debate is what actions can we take that will reduce emissions quickly enough. The planet is already 1c warmer than in 1880, and we are already seeing the effects, such as heatwaves and droughts, forest fires, flooding, and hurricanes. The 2018 IPCC report states we need to reduce global emissions by 50% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, yet we have seen very little progress. The economic shut downs caused by the covid-19 pandemic only led to a reduction in emissions of around 7%.
We need a war-like mobilization of society to deploy renewable energy, reduce energy demand, and increase CO2 captured by trees, and we need it now. What we do not need is for one of the major political parties to still be debating the reality of climate change.
Founder, Kemptville Environmental Group