I’m up early this morning, listening to the rain come down on an already saturated prairie city. When my husband and I went out last night to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary we found the water in some places on the road came up to our wheel wells. The roads weren’t as badly flooded as after the record-breaking rain Winnipeg experienced 10 days ago, when motorists were stranded in underpasses as the city’s drainage system was overwhelmed (click here for a picture). On the CBC Radio Morning Show yesterday, there was a story about how farmers’ fields are flooded and either the crops they’ve planted are under water or their fields are too soggy to plant in. The Manitoba government has received as many crop insurance claims so far, 6 months into 2010, as is the norm for most entire years (and more are expected). And yet not a word was said about how climate scientists have been warning for decades that the warming of the atmosphere will result in global weather “weirding”!
We are starting to pay the price for unmitigated climate change, in insurance claims (from crops to flooded basements) as well as in unpredictable weather. I grew up in this province, and I know that Manitoba summers should be hot and sunny. 2009 was the summer that wasn’t, in this part of the world – rain, rain, and more rain! We shall see what 2010 has in store for us, but one thing we should know for sure is that we can’t count on the weather any more. The implications for our economic system, which will be stretched to the limit, and likely past it, with dealing with the fall-out from freak weather, are enough to make any tax-payer shudder. This should make politicians wake up and address this issue now, while dealing with it is still manageable. But instead the majority of our national leaders are short-sighted and focused only on making their political opponents look bad today, and, in the case of Minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shoving his minority agenda down the all of Canadians’ throats. Mr. Harper wouldn’t recognize climate change if it came up and introduced itself to him over breakfast one day.
Yet another high-profile call for putting climate change on the G8/G20 agenda in Toronto has come in, this time from six Nobel Laureates. Their letters, sent separately to PM Harper as well as to the leaders of other countries attending, warn climate change threatens both the planet’s economy and the planet’s security.
“Environmental degradation and global warming, and their impacts, are economic and security issues as well as environmental ones. Failure to address climate change will put the global economy at further risk, and plunge millions who are already living on the economic margins into deeper poverty. This poverty leads to more migration, more violence and greater social and economic insecurity for both developing and developed nations.”
Instead of recognizing that economy is interwined with many other issues, including climate change, Mr. Harper has chosen to cancel the usual meeting of environment ministers that generally happens concurrently with the main G8/G20 economic summit. He has also rejected calls from international leaders such as UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, EU President Barroso, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, to put climate change on the agenda of the Toronto summits.
If you are concerned about the Harper government’s increasing isolation internationally, and the damage being done to Canada’s reputation, why don’t you let him know? Here is his contact information: telephone: 613-992-4211, email: Harper.S@parl.ga.ca, fax: 613-941-6900.
If you are on Facebook, you can join the group “Tell Harper to put Climate Change back on the G8G20 Agenda”. Click here to go to that page.
“Man. Crops Getting Washed Out” CBC.ca