Skip to content

LETTER: World facing climate challenge, rather than climate emergency

Kudos to H.J. Rice on his letter on fossil fuels. Seldom do we see any sensible commentary on this subject.

Kudos to H.J. Rice on his letter on fossil fuels. Seldom do we see any sensible commentary on this subject.

While most people can agree some degree of climate change is happening, there are widely divergent views on how urgent the problem is and what to do about it.

Unfortunately, most of what we hear from media sources, environmental activists and politicians is fear-inducing hysteria. We are told that if we do not limit global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, we’re doomed. Moreover, if we do not take drastic action by 2030, it will be too late to save the planet.

However, William Nordhaus, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2018 for his seminal work on the economics of climate change, and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have projected that even with an increase of 4 C by 2100, the costs of adaptation would only reduce global GDP by 4.5 per cent. On top of that, during the same period, the global economy will grow by 300 to 600 per cent. Hardly a catastrophe.

It’s tragic that our children are being frightened into believing the world is about to end and no one is doing anything about it.

We are not facing a “climate emergency” as panic-stricken activists would have us believe; we are facing a climate challenge that we are in the process of meeting through technological innovation. Now is not the time to shut down wealth-creating oil and gas production; now is the time to use that wealth to innovate and adapt. While there has been an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and modest global warming as a result of fossil fuel use, we have also reaped enormous benefits. We can continue to enjoy these benefits as we transition to new sources of energy and new technologies over time.

I encourage folks to do some independent research and make up your own minds on this subject. You might be surprised at what you learn. I was. Climate change is a complex but very manageable problem.

Mike Pankhurst