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When Breaking the Law Is Justified

  • Date Submitted: 09/29/2013 12:59 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 51.7 
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The recent bad news about climate change thundered through the scientific community like those twisters through the U.S.

First, the International Energy Association (IEA) announced global greenhouse gas emissions hit record highs in 2010, threatening to catapult Earth over the 2C rise in temperature that, scientists predict, will lead to cataclysmic changes.

More than 100 Arrested at White House Demanding End to Mountaintop Removal

We’re already up one degree, attributed to human causes. That’s enough to cause widespread drought, wildfires, flooding, extreme weather — and shrinkage of the polar ice caps.

Says Nobel Prize-winning meteorologist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State: “Their eventual melting would lead to more than 20 feet (6 metres) of global sea level rise — by any assessment, a catastrophic outcome.”

The other climate bombshell came when the U.S. government’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory announced that this year world greenhouse gas emissions are climbing even higher than last year.

On a per-capita basis, Canada has much to answer for. Population and economic growth, oil and gas exports and our love of light trucks have been among the key drivers of our rising emissions.

Then there’s Alberta oilsands mining, which, according to Environment Canada, spews more greenhouse gases than all the cars on our roads combined.

Earlier this month, the government quietly tabled its annual report on how Canada is doing in meeting its targets under the Kyoto Protocol and other international obligations. It isn’t, not by a long shot, say critics.

“Unfortunately, far too many are in denial and political action is at a standstill,” observes Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Boulder, Colo.-based National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“Once the problem is so obvious to everyone, it is far, far too late to do anything about it,” says Trenberth.

That sense of urgency is why a...

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