Saturday, June 25, 2011

Deadly lung disease brought to you by Canada

Of course, it’s really what we should’ve expected from Stephen Harper’s government, that profits trump health.  But he wanted to continue to sell asbestos to the rest of the world (while treating it as a dangerous substance in Canada) without having to inform Canada’s customers of the health hazards.  And so he arranged it.

Is your cancer or deadly lung disease made in Canada?  Stephen Harper and the Conservatives don’t care.  That means that, officially, Canada doesn’t care, either.

Another mark against our international reputation, I guess.  I wonder how much of that reputation we have left to trade upon?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Will Canada Benefit From Climate Change? Not too likely.

The idea that certain parts of the world, particularly Canada and Russia, will actually benefit from climate change is one that you will occasionally encounter in the media.  How true is it?

Let's look at some evidence. For instance, the killer heatwave, the wildfires and the crop failures in Russia last year.  Or the 300 year flood in Manitoba this year, accompanied by the 100 year flood in Quebec.  How about the ever-expanding wildfire season which recently took out an entire Alberta town?  Okay, not so good.

Then how about the Arctic?  The melting of the Arctic sea ice has opened up sea lanes that simply never existed before in human experience.  This makes it easier to get around the Arctic and utilize its resources, right?  Not exactly.  Sea lanes may have opened up, but ground travel over northern territories has become increasingly compromised with warming.  Some areas in the far north are not accessible by year round roads--they are simply not feasible--and are accessed by temporary ice.

According to Science Daily, reporting on a new Arctic transportation study: "A major casualty will be temporary ice roads." SD continues, "Constructed across frozen ground, lakes, rivers and swampy areas using compacted snow and ice and applied sheets of ice, these roads currently provide access to vast swaths of inland terrain where the construction of all-weather roads is not economically viable."

And none of the above addresses the biggest problem.  How the heck does Canada profit when the global economy collapses?  

And it will.  A housing bubble in one country almost took the global economy down recently.  A global ecological collapse will destroy the global economy entirely, since entire countries will become economically unviable, some uninhabitable, if we don't do something now, in this decade, about climate change.

Canada may survive climate change with more crop growing land and longer growing seasons.  But the world in which the Canadian economy currently flourishes will be gone, and that is the world upon which our present standard of living is based.  Without it, we'll all be peasant farmers. 

That's hardly good news either.