Climate Change

Hot Air for Climate Change

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 17, 2005

The Hamilton Spectator seems to be increasing its coverage of climate change as we approach the month-end Montreal Conference on climate change, which will be attended by thousands of participants representing the signatories to the Kyoto Accord and various non-governmental organizations.

Today's canned article (reprinted from The Independent UK) cites a new report published in the peer reviewed scientific journal Nature, warning:

Global warming is likely to affect human health by increasing infectious diseases, exacerbating respiratory illnesses, increasing the risk and severity of flooding and reducing the availability of clean drinking water to millions of the poorest people. (Steve Connor, "Expect epidemics, rising death tolls as planet warms", The Hamilton Spectator, November 17, 2005, p. A13)

Reading it, I was reminded of the Spec editorial from November 14, which reads in part:

Many Canadians are past the waiting and into the seeing - and they see red flags going up. Increasing numbers of Canadians say they want to lessen their contributions to climate change.

What's needed now is leadership. Ottawa needs to show Canadians it has a long-term, sustainable plan to meet this country's commitments on greenhouse-gas emissions. ...

Canada is the host of the Montreal conference at the end of this month, but must also show itself to be a leader. If Canadians are to take this issue more seriously, so must their governments. (Robert Howard, "Climate change - facing the reality", The Hamilton Spectator, November 14, 2005, p. A16)

It's hard not to be nauseated by this bogus display of concern for leadership on climate change. The Spec editorial board has lined up behind nearly every energy-intensive, environmentally destructive government activity to come down the pike in years, including the Red Hill Expressway, which further entrenches car-dependent sprawl development and the aerotropolis boundary expansion, which is gambling $100 million on the most energy-inefficient mode of transport in existence.

If the Spec editorial team are serious about climate change, then they will reverse their support for these projects, acknowledging the larger principle implicit in climate change: economic developments that try to flout ecological rules are ultimately self-defeating.

Further, if the editors are serious about government "show[ing] itself to be a leader", then they must stop supporting politicians and parties that continue to support forms of economic growth that increase greenhouse gas production.

Otherwise, all the editorial proclamations in the world are just hot air.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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