Do the right thing for the planet

Do the right thing for the planet Open letter to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent: As the father of an 18-month-old son, I am so very concerned for his future in our world that I feel it necessary to contact you directly during COP17. Human-induc

Open letter to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent:

As the father of an 18-month-old son, I am so very concerned for his future in our world that I feel it necessary to contact you directly during COP17.

Human-induced climate change is resulting in more than a theoretical threat to all humans (and other species) on our planet. It is a very real consequence of the past century of reliance on fossil fuels that is now negatively and severely affecting many things important to the security of our future.

These major impacts will present us all with great challenges to food and water security, energy security, eco-system stability and, in particular, economic stability. In many regions these impacts will also lead to political instability and forced migrations. Important industries such as agriculture and insurance are already feeling major impacts of climate change. All of this is already happening to some degree in many parts of the world and such events are only increasing in frequency and intensity.

It is clear that difficult decisions must be made and that strong leadership with courage and vision will never be more important than now. Unfortunately, Canada is usually one of the last hold-outs in the negotiations to take action on human-induced climate change. This is not appropriate as Canadians recognize and accept that as major benefactors of the past century of fossil-fuel-driven developments in our society, we should be some of the first to take on serious commitments to drastically reduce GHG emissions in order to lead the way for developing nations to follow in due course.

As some of the largest per capita emitters in the world, Canadians have a responsibility to all global citizens to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lead the way in doing so, transition to sustainable economic and energy models, and to share the technologies that will achieve these important objectives. Many economists already agree that the cost of taking action to mitigate and adapt to climate change is well below that which is expected to be required if we do not take action. In fact, taking action now will not only save money, it will also lead to a better society and superior (and sustainable) systems of trade, transport and energy supply and demand.

We know that serious impacts are coming and can choose to prepare or to ignore the science. Not taking action to prepare and mitigate leaves all global citizens at the whims of a natural system that will not consider our well-being in finding a new equilibrium.

Our lack of action and investment in the future for our children is an unforgivable act and your presence at COP17 is Canada’s opportunity to accept the extreme nature of the current situation and to do the right thing. Canadians are eager to take on the challenge, given workable options and appropriate leadership from our elected officials.

The world is in a dire situation and this is a plea for my son’s well-being. I do not want him to grow up in this emerging atmosphere of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Please, for the sake of our children and for the sake of a sustainable future for all people of our fair planet, do the right thing and commit to substantial GHG emission reductions without conditions that weaken the deal or force it to fail. The future of humanity is in your hands!

Sean MacKinnon

Whitehorse