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Letter to the Editor: Historic heat wave should be a wake-up call for all of us

Heat wave getty
The recent heat wave in Whistler and the north west of North America is a wake up call that climate change is impacting weather patterns globally.

For those of you who are not familiar with the World Health Organization’s report on climate change (the IPCC report), I can sum it up for you with just a few numbers.

(1°) The Earth is now one degree (global surface temperature) warmer than it was in pre-industrial times. That our use of fossil fuels is responsible for this change is not in dispute among climate scientists. And already we see the effects of this single degree change with a growing number of superstorms, flooding, water shortages and drought, massive forest fires, heat waves, and so on.

(1.5°) The report is practically begging policymakers to do everything in their power to curb fossil fuel emissions and keep climate change to within 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels. That degree of change they believe might be manageable.

(2°) Two degrees is a disaster for the planet, and the world’s climate problems would not simply double from the present, but would accelerate our problems exponentially.

(4-5°) Right now we are on target to hit between four and five degrees above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. This is exactly why climate scientists are freaking out. Try, if you can, to wrap your head around the difference between one degree—and our current climate-related problems—and the four to five degrees we’re headed toward within the next 80 years.

In our own lifetime, and the lifetime of our children, massive, terrible changes are on the horizon. The heat wave we’ve just experienced should be a wake-up call for us all—especially our policymakers. This is not just a one-off. There will be more heat waves, and they will get worse.

As Greta Thunberg, and many outspoken activists have aptly said: “Our house is on fire!”

We really do need to get off our fossil fuel dependency and embrace renewables and green technology, ASAP.

And for those who think we can continue down this path of extracting that black, tarry goo out of the ground and put it in the air without consequence, it’s time to stop ignoring what is happening all around you and listen to the scientists.

Randy Block // North Vancouver