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Opinion | Canada’s effect on global warming is huge, on a per-capita basis – GuelphMercury.com

A few comments on Doak McCraney’s April 18 letter “Don’t believe the hype on climate change.

He is quite correct when he says that there have been severe changes of climate in the past. Scientists do have a pretty fair idea of the sorts of things that can influence climate change, things like large meteor impacts or massive volcanic eruptions that throw large amounts of material into the atmosphere, or a slight shift in the the angle of the axis of rotation of the earth are just a few.

He mentions that these past changes have occurred over tens of thousands of years, however there is strong evidence that indicates, due to the human factor those time frames are being reduced to hundreds of years.

Canada may only be responsible for 2 per cent of the carbon footprint but with a population of fewer than 40 million people, on a per-capita basis we are at the top of the polluting nations. If Canada is indeed warming faster than other countries and this results in the thawing of vast areas of muskeg in our northern territories the 2 per cent footprint will only grow larger. How will that affect our Inuit peoples way of life?

McCraney suggests that government regulations contributed to the loss of the steel industry in Hamilton (other industries, Sudbury smelters for example have suffered as well).

I do not believe he is suggesting that we go back to the days when these companies were allowed to dump their toxic wastes into our streams and rivers or send their noxious gases up their smokestacks to burn our eyes and lungs, or not bother with providing a safe work environment for their employees. Has he forgotten the effects of acid rain? If polluting companies could be relied upon to do the right thing we would not need regulations but unfortunately far too many of them can not (remember Exxon Vadez or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill).

For them profit is the most important concern, why else would they move operations to countries where health and environmental regulations are not as rigorous (remember Bohpal India or the garment factory fire in Pakistan), or where corrupt governments can be bought off. Without government regulations mining companies have been notorious for setting up operations in poor countries, stripping off the resource wealth and then leaving behind a mess for the local community to deal with.

How much money has the city of Guelph spent over the last twenty years cleaning up the mess left behind by IMICO after they quietly packed up and slipped put of town? It is because of government regulations that we are able to wake up and smell the Roses.

Like McCraney I too have wondered why we are not refining our own oil instead of shipping it off out of country to be refined all while buying foreign oil from far and wide. If we must use oil and gas I feel we should be processing our own. However would it not be better to invest in clean renewable energy and develop our industries around clean products.

Finally a comment on becoming a poor country and a servant to communist China. It stings does it not when the shoe is on the other foot. I wonder if McCraney is familiar with the opium wars and the gunboat diplomacy used by the U.S., Britain, France, and other colonizing countries to force weaker countries such as India and China into trade agreements that were heavily weighted in favour of the stronger nations. Trade agreements that essentially stripped these “poorer” countries of their wealth.

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