Premier Christy Clark chats with Global Affairs Minister Stephane Dion at United Nations climate conference in Paris

LETTERS: Readers respond to climate change column

Readers respond to Tom Fletcher, questioning effectiveness of carbon tax, rate of warming and promotion of oil sands

Carbon tax isn’t reducing emissions

Re: Inconvenient truths of climate change (B.C. Views, Dec. 2)

As Tom Fletcher pointed out, there are many questions on climate change.

I’m not sure that B.C. or Canada is the problem, but the B.C. government is on the right track with the carbon tax, because it is apparent that Canadians need to lead on the environment, and be seen as leading. We need to be able to market our resources and lead in sustainability.

The B.C. carbon tax has pluses and minuses. Some of the carbon tax burden is returned to lower income earners – this is a good thing. The tax, however, does little to reduce CO2 emissions. If four of the $5 billion collected over the past six years had been invested in reforestation, carbon sinks, the B.C. government could proclaim to the rest of Canada and the world that we are making a real difference.

I think B.C. and Canada are doing a  good job on environmental issue, but we need to seen to be doing more. A B.C. carbon tax that brings in $5 billion to provide $5.7 billion in tax cuts does not appear to me to be making the necessary changes in addressing the global environmental concerns.

The perception is that we are doing nothing. This need to change.

Phil Harrison, Comox

Merchants of sludge?

Tom Fletcher’s latest column, a litany of classic skepticism about what’s going on in the atmosphere, is like a museum display of petroleum industry attitudes.

He evidently has no shame in carrying the torch for continuing with status quo policies around energy sources and emissions. No surprise, because his boss and others are betting there’s still hope for selling sludge to Asia.

I notice in reading the letters from various outposts of Black Press, there are few readers buying this argument. That is encouraging for people who have their ears and eyes open to the realities of the climate situation.

Bill Wells, Kaslo

Where is the warming?

It has been 18 years without statistically relevant temperature increases in our atmosphere, according to satellite data used by the International Panel on Climate Change. The level of CO2 has gone up in those 18 years, yet the atmospheric temperature has not.

Is there a real connection between CO2 level and atmospheric temperature? Maybe not much. The climate scientists won’t say they got it wrong.

Time for the truth, before Canada and other countries have our economies knocked out from under us. Please climate scientists, level with us, and let your colleagues who have “lost the climate change faith” speak.

After all, no one likes muzzled scientists.

Bill Wilson, Saanichton

A selective contrarian

Tom Fletcher’s “Inconvenient truths” column was highly selective in its choice of so-called climate “alarmist” examples.

Yes, contrarian examples exist, and can be used to make a point. For example, some glaciers are growing (around seven per cent, compared to more than 70 per cent that are shrinking).  One who would sympathize with some of Fletcher’s comments is the famous independent scientist James Lovelock, annoyed with some “environmentalists who emotionalize the arguments.” But Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Theory, directs his focus not to these people but more importantly to the climate scientists, the results of their work, and the stark options facing civilization.

In his latest book, A Rough Ride to the Future, Lovelock notes that the fact that there has not been as much warming to date as most models were predicting has contributed to the denier perspective.

He sees early computer models as simulating the atmosphere well, whereas only now are models simulating the interaction between the oceans and the atmosphere, something much more complex to model.

It is clear that there has been significant warming linked to burning fossil fuels. Increasing parts per million of CO2 and other warming gases is documented, as is ocean acidification.

The built-up inertia in the Earth system, given these data, may be a tipping point from which it could be too late to take meaningful action.

The nature of this issue means we cannot be 100 per cent certain, however the Precautionary Principle would urge action on 80 per cent confidence when the realization of a risk would be catastrophic.

Editorials that denigrate vocal activists and selectively choose data lower the quality of discussion, contribute to polarized discussion, and raise doubt as to whether any action is needed; just what climate change denial interests want.

Black Press, given that it touts itself as the largest independent news chain, can do better.

Kevin Tyler, Kamloops