To the Editor,
The fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released last week. The results should be sobering to a world addicted to fossil fuels.
The report presents a “carbon budget” for the planet. It suggests that we can burn up to one trillion metric tonnes of carbon before the planet will undergo a two degree Celsius increase in temperature.
This is the temperature above which scientists believe we will begin to experience catastrophic climate change.
Apparently we have already burned half of the trillion tonnes since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The projection is that if we continue at the present rate of carbon use we will burn the one trillionth tonne by 2040.
Our challenge is to forestall that trillionth tonne for several hundred years until the environment has had time to accommodate the carbon in the atmosphere.
To do so each and every one of us will have to cut way back on our use of fossil fuels. Until industry, with encouragement from governments, begins to provide us with more sustainable fuels, certain activities such as home heating can undergo little change.
However, other factors, such as the amount we travel, whether we buy locally produced food and other items, and how much new “stuff” we purchase, are optional and can be reduced.
I’m not saying that we all need to do as SFU Professor Mark Jarkard suggested “everyone needs to stop burning fossil fuels”.
However, all those places that we like to travel to and the things we like to buy, have a new price tag which is being charged to our children and grand children’s future.
If each of us could cut our optional use of fossil fuels in half, it would make a big difference and it would send a message to our politicians that they need to get serious about climate change.
I saw a bumper sticker many years ago that said “When the people lead the leaders will follow”.
For those who would like to learn more about a global movement of people who are working on this challenging issue, the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society is showing the film Transition 201 on Wednesday Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at Char’s Landing.S