Climate change warning issued
A professional engineer warns that global warming could have serious ramifications.
John Streicker, a Yukon resident and former federal Green Party president, recently spoke in Vernon about climate change.
“Within five years, the Arctic Ocean is expected to be seasonally ice free. Santa will have to move out,” he said.
“When there is no sea ice to reflect the sun’s light and heat, 90 per cent of it is absorbed through the darkened surface and transformed into heat. This contributes to the north warming at twice the world average. It will accelerate warming around the globe. Exposing a whole new ocean will significantly alter weather and climate patterns, around the world.”
Beyond warming, Streicker says the most significant problem is the rate of change.
“Over the geologic history of the earth, we know that mass extinctions occurred when there is rapid climate change. Species of crops and critters don’t have time to adapt,” he said.
According to Streicker, there are three factors influencing today’s climate change.
“CO2 and methane from burning fossil fuels; methane released as Arctic permafrost melts, and dark surfaces uncovered as ice and snow disappear,” he said.
“The second two natural phenomena are unstoppable if the first, man-made condition is not controlled. Methane is 20 times more powerful than C02 as a greenhouse gas. Feedbacks can accelerate warming and are difficult to manage.”
Streicker says society must take action just as it did with acid rain and ozone depletion.
“Canada was a leader then. We need to price C02 into the cost of fossil fuel. Waste has a price,” he said.
“North America has burned the most fossil fuel. We’ve maxed out our growth and consumption. We have a moral responsibility to start climate action first. We have the economic power to do it. We can become sustainable and live better.”
Streicker’s visit was sponsored by the Okanagan-Shuswap Green Party.