Monday, November 2, 2009

Inaction on Climate Change will Cost Too Much

(originally posted at

Letter to the Editor of the Sudbury Star in response to the Star's excellent article regarding the anticipated impacts of climate change on Sudbury and Canada.

The publication of this article, however, does not alter my on-going thesis that the mainstream media is out of step with regards to discussing the climate change crises which we are now in. However, it gives me a little more hope than I had last week. I certainly appreciate this story appearing in my local Sun-media owned paper, after having to read Lorrie Goldstein, Peter Worthington and the rest all week long. The comments from the local cadre of climate change deniers which appear at the end of the story on the Star's website should not be construed as being representative of the opinions of Sudburians. And I say that as someone who has monitored the media here, as well as the mood of the populace, for some time now. Still, though, it pisses me off.


Re: Taking the heat - Climate change, life will be different in 2050, Lara Bradley, Sudbury Star, October 31, 2009.

On the eve of the Copenhagen climate change talks, and with the recent release of the Pembina Institute/Suzuki Foundation economic study of the Conservative’s proposed greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Canadians are thinking more and more about how our changing climate will impact our lives. Much of the analysis in the media has been focussed on the negative economic aspects of taking action to reduce emissions. Saturday’s article about the price of not taking action to address climate change was a bold and welcome departure from this approach, and a welcome addition to the climate change debate.

That debate is no longer about whether human-made climate change is occurring. Climate change is happening, and our carbon-intensive lifestyle has been the cause. The past advances which we have made and which have contributed to our quality of life have also sown the seeds which now threaten that quality of life. The current debate now is whether we are going to try to do something to curb the worst threats of climate change, or stand idly by and let our changing climate make those decisions for us.

Climate change will impact our lives in many ways, and we will have to adapt to this reality. We need to do so on our own terms. Our elected officials need to start talking to you about what these impacts will mean. However, there remains a great reluctance on the part of our elected officials to take meaningful action to address emissions, due to the wrong-headed perception that jobs will be lost and the economy will suffer if we implement measures to reduce emissions.
Our leaders are not talking about the price of inaction: how many jobs will be lost and what will happen to our economy when we find ourselves living in the Canada described in Saturday’s article? The price of inaction is significantly higher than acting now to reduce emissions, even at this late date. We still have an opportunity to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Our elected officials, however, don’t seem to be getting the message that "doing nothing" is the more economically dangerous course of action.

Steve May
CEO, Sudbury Federal Green Party Association

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