Letter: Real impacts from climate change already here.

(Syrian) crisis is a direct result of climate change and its human impact. This is happening now.

To the editor:

In response to Tom Harris’ letter: Little evidence warming climate leads to forest fires”, Sept. 25 Kelowna Capital News.

“Concerned Citizen” Tom Harris was formerly the director of operations of the Ottawa office of the High Park Group, a lobbying firm for several energy industry clients. He is a mechanical engineer, not a climate or environmental scientist and the executive director of The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).

The ICSC is an anti-science group that uses a lofty but misleading name to disguise their true intentions of climate change denial. They promote the use of fossil fuel reserves over alternative energy sources and have financial ties to the Heartland Institute in Texas. The Heartland Institute fought against tobacco regulation and denies tobacco’s links to lung cancer, now they fund climate change denial lobbyists.

Tom Harris and the ICSC quotes portions of old studies out of context to make it seem that other scientific bodies are in agreement with their views, but this would be false.

He first states that the United Nations denies that there is a link between climate change and extreme weather events.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) established The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. They publish yearly reports on climate assessment and make recommendations for government policy.

Their latest report from 2014 states: “Human influence on the climate system is clear.” “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century and it is likely that human influence has more than doubled the probability of occurrence of heat waves in some locations.

“Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability (very high confidence).” (Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers www.ipcc.ch)

Increased heat causes increased weather activity. This is basic thermodynamics. As an engineer, Tom Harris should know better.

The science is clear—climate change can cause drought and heat waves which increases the frequency and severity of forest fires. Increased Okanagan, Washington and California fires since the 1990s are an obvious example. As a long-term Kelowna resident, I grew up ice skating on Okanagan Lake every winter during the 1970s. Ice is almost non-existent on the lake in winter now.

An overwhelming majority of climate scientists are in agreement—this is not natural climate variability—it is human-caused.

Tom Harris’ final point is that we shouldn’t be worrying now about a potential impact decades in the future.

In Syria, five years of drought resulted in widespread crop failures, rural population migrations to cities and subsequent government crackdowns. This was quickly followed by civil unrest, war and setting the stage for ISIS to move in. We now have the largest refugee crisis since World War II. This crisis is a direct result of climate change and its human impact. This is happening now.

Matthew Longman, Kelowna

 

Just Posted

Car accident on Leckie Road backs up traffic

An accident involving a bus is blocking traffic driving near Dilworth Mountain

Top Okanagan wedding venue no longer allows wedding ceremonies

Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park and Kaloya Regional Park will no longer allow the ceremonies

Okanagan College has new entrepaneur-in-residence

Jason Richards, has been involved in a number of start-ups over his career

Kelowna Pride Society looks for community feedback

The society is already planning this year’s festivities

Accident reported on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna

The two vehicle accident happened this afternoon

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Hang glider pilot rescued from Pincushion Mountain

Pilot was able to help guide rescue crews to her location

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Most Read