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Letter: Antarctic ice collapse highlights need for action

By: Letter to the Editor

 | May 22, 2014 - 1:12 PM |
Re: Article “Activists push for more action on climate change,” which appeared on NorthernLife.ca May 11.
Thanks for the great coverage of the Defend Our Climate event on May 11 in Memorial Park.

It appears the climate crisis has become even more urgent. On May 13, scientists reported the West Antarctic ice sheet’s collapse is inevitable.

Scientists warned us about the fragility of the West Antarctic ice sheet 36 years ago. Our country, especially since 2006, has done little to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The proof is in reports from Environment Canada. Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions between 2020 and 2030 are predicted to climb by 81 million tonnes, taking Canada 11 per cent above 2005 levels.

The good news is the collapse of the ice sheet will happen over 200-900 years, depending on how much we reduce greenhouse emissions now.

However it took millions of years for the ice to accumulate, and its melting will have profound impacts on ocean currents, climate, growing food and especially rising sea levels. The map of the world is going change dramatically and many coastal cities will disappear.

We can slow down the melt, but we must act now. Engineers have created all the technologies we need to transition to low carbon world. Economists have determined that reducing greenhouse emissions now is very affordable.

We must become serious about slowing down climate change now. This means cutting carbon emissions. Economists agree that the best way to do that is by putting a price on carbon.

Canada does not have a national climate strategy. We need to research the “fee and dividend” system and talk to our MPs. Our actions now will be a crucial part of this multicentury timeline.

Mercedez Quinlan and Gerry Labelle

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