Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2015
Larry's response, submitted to The Sun, today.
Re; "Sound Off. Do not blame climate change." Brandon Sun. Jul. 21st, 2015.
The writer who takes me to task for suggesting a link between the wildfires still raging here and abroad, and manmade climate change, misses the point, entirely!
He makes it sound as if I invented such a link, in a lab in my back yard, or something. And his inference that the link belongs to me alone reveals, sadly, how unaware he seems to be, of the now rich body of scientific evidence which has accumulated, over decades, supporting my position.
While I may have used language a bit "cheekier" than our typically staid climatologists, I was but the messenger, conveying what they've been suggesting for many years. Climate change is bringing with it violent weather events, like wildfires, that are more severe and frequent all the time! Anyone who cannot see this for him/herself, should be checked over right away. They may have a terminal case of wilful blindness!
One of the several leading authorities I rely on for my conclusions is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If the letter-writer is not familiar with the IPCC, I suggest he should remove himself from this debate for being basically uninformed. The IPCC is, after all, the cradle of the accumulated knowledge of our finest minds on the subject, since perhaps the 1980s. If he is familiar with it, I suggest he cite the sources he relies on himself, in arriving so swiftly and comfortably at his own conclusion that all this wisdom is somehow worthless. If he cannot cite his own sources, I suggest he has nothing more to say to me, or anyone else on the topic!
And, oh, by the way, since he wrote his letter, new wildfires have erupted near Kelowna, BC, Glacier National Park, Montana, Alaska and Indonesia. June (the month just passed), has been declared the hottest month, worldwide, in the history of record-keeping. 2015 is poised to become the world's hottest year. Major heatwaves in Europe and North America are happening closer together. Rising sea-levels are proving more serious and, if we take no action, harder to avoid than earlier thought.
And five countries, including Canada, have clamped a ban on commercial fishing in international waters in the Arctic until they find out how rising temperatures, now the warmest on record, will affect sea-life there.
Just "Mother Nature" acting up again?
I think not!
Larry Powell lives in Neepawa, where he publishes the blog, www.PlanetInPeril.ca
There was also this response to my first letter, submitted to the Neepawa Press.
Fire is one of the main ways by which nutrients in dead trees are returned to the soil, and made ready for the next generation of trees. This cycle of fire and regrowth in forests was established millions of years before the emergence of humans.
It is sadly true that some fires are started by humans, but to claim that the current smoke and misery caused by forest fires is a result of man-made climate change is simply wrong.
Norm Kendall of Neepawa,
I then submitted this response to the Neepawa Press;
I'm afraid there's been a misunderstanding.
The misunderstanding is over the "link" that I drew between wildfires and manmade climate change. My critics apparently think such a link was my own idea! Nothing could be further from the truth! I was merely the messenger!
So what did I mean by my reference to "manmade climate change?" Apparently some thought I was suggesting that every single wildfire was started directly by a human! Far from it. Worsening drought turns forests into kindling, ready to explode into flames, whether the source of ignition is a human with a match, a quad, or lightning.
Since my last letter, raging wildfires of epic proportions have plagued northern California and elsewhere, driving as many people from their homes as were evacuated in the disastrous fires in Saskatchewan earlier this summer. The California blazes confounded veteran firefighters, who've never seen anything like them.
So, disagree with me, if you will. Just let it be known that, by so doing, you are also disagreeing with the accumulated wisdom (and virtually complete consensus) of our top, renowned climatologists the world over, for many years; Not to mention the World Council of Churches, the mayors of Vancouver and New York, the Premiers of BC and Ontario, the US Military, the World Bank, the Church of England, the insurance industry and now, the Pope.
As for the suggestion that I, myself contribute to global warming, I plead "guilty as charged." All humans leave a carbon footprint. The best I can do is to try to keep mine small. So I drive a car which gets 45 miles per gallon and travel as much as I can by train, which is less damaging than air travel.
My letter was "sharply-worded"for a reason. In my experience, the "low-key" kind get no response at all. And, as our planet continues to be dangerously degraded by our current behaviour, remaining silent (or low-key) is not an option for me.