All MPs, February 2010

Climate sceptics have been enjoying great media coverage recently, thanks to some faulty reporting in the IPCC 2007 report, and apparently misguided cover-up.

These mistakes, regrettable as they are, do not change the situation. A massive amount of peer-reviewed scientific research demonstrates the fact of global warming, closely coinciding with industrialization. The procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change require consensus among scientists from such diverse countries as China, the United States and Saudi Arabia, and hence their conclusions tend to be understated rather than alarmist.

Far from considering that the attention to sceptics should make us all relax, we would refer you to the work of an earlier Parliamentary committee, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainability, 1990, No Time to Lose, which called for all federal departments and agencies, as part of their budget submissions, to report on the direct and indirect impacts of their operations on global warming, and to set annual targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. A report in 1991, Out of Balance: The Risks of Irreversible Climate Change, recommended that ministers of environment develop programs and regulations, across all activities of the federal government, analogous to those of the minister of Finance for economic affairs, and for the environment minister to report to Parliament annually on the environmental impact of all federal activities.

A recent Toronto Star article (Carol Goar, Feb. 10 2010) makes the germane point that even if we granted the sceptics their case there are excellent reasons for tougher emission standards for vehicles, for not burning up and selling off non-renewable resources, as if there were no tomorrow, and to reduce our fossil fuel dependence in an energy-scarce world, where oil prices are sure to rise