It seems like there has been altogether too much talk about climate change for Regional Director Gerald Whaley. In particular, his colleague from Cortes Island keeps insisting the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) prepare for the negative impacts. On January 15, 2020, Director Anderson talked about local implications of climate change and planetary overshoot. Whalley responded by presenting a Fox news clip called ‘The Truth About Global Warming.’
Video: The Truth About Global Warming
This late addition was added to the agenda but, according to a Campbell River informant, there was a slip up. Instead of a video about climate change, the assembled directors were shown an appeal to vote for Donald Trump. So, the minutes state, “At Director Whalley’s request, his presentation was deferred to the next meeting.”
The video was finally shown at the January 29, 2020, SRD Board meeting. While the arguments presented in ‘The Truth About Global Warming‘ may sound convincing to people with no scientific background, most scientists do not agree with its’ conclusions.
According to NASA, “The vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists – 97 percent – agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change. Most of the leading science organizations around the world have issued public statements expressing this, including international and U.S. science academies, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a whole host of reputable scientific bodies around the world.”
Most scientists are concerned about the negative effects climate change is already having on our planet, what we can do to reduce its future impact and what will happen if no steps are taken to reduce those impacts.
In the video above, Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, says the scientific community is wrong. The earth’s temperature is not rising as fast as they predicted and there are other explanations for the extreme weather events we have witnessed in recent years.
What Does God Say?
“There’s opinions from scientists on both sides of the debate and for us, who do not have all the technical background, we might be in a technical quandary. We don’t know what’s right, or what’s wrong. There is just one thing I want to conclude with, there is one absolute expert whose opinion is absolutely pure [truth?],” said Whalley.
“When Noah stepped off of the ark, God made a covenant. He made two promises. These promises are unconditional and are everlasting. The first promise God made is that ‘I will not destroy the earth again with a flood.’ The second promise God made is that he will control the climate. He said in Genesis 8:22, while the earth remains seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. So if you believe what God said, it is a cut and dried thing. The earth has gone through many cycles of warm and cold.”
(According to a 2015 survey by PEW research, “Evangelicals are the religious group least likely to believe the earth is warming due to human activity: 28%, compared to 50% of all U.S. adults.” However, some of those Christians believe they have a religious duty to care for, and protect, God’s creation. You can find numerous examples of Christians taking action against climate change on the web and many also cite Scriptural arguments.)
Our Current Trajectory
According to Climate Action Tracker, our planet is currently heading towards a 4.1C to 4.8C rise in average global temperatures by 2100. If all the nations of earth carry out their current policies, this could drop to 3.1C – 3.7C. Even if all the pledges made at COP 21 (Paris) were kept, temperatures are still expected to rise 2.6C – 3.2C over pre-industrial levels (1850-1900).
This was known at the conclusion of the Paris climate talks, when Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said:
“These national climate action plans represent a clear and determined down-payment on a new era of climate ambition from the global community of nations. Governments from all corners of the earth have signalled through their INDCs (Intended nationally determined contributions) that they are determined to play their part according to their national circumstances and capabilities.”
“The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs.”
Morocco and the Gambia are currently the only nations on track to fulfil their Paris commitments. Climate Action Tracker lists Canada among the nations whose policies are heading us into a 3˚C world; China, the United States and Russia are allegedly on a trajectory for 4˚C or more.
Local Implications Of Climate Change
Director Anderson’s presentation drew upon an Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report utilizing comments from 489 expert reviewers*, as well as materials from a recent talk Cortes author Rex Weyler made on Overshoot and from Climate Hope.
“The IPCC report uses a consensus based model, so it is the most conservative, most watered down, diluted version of what we need to do. We are already far beyond our ability to rein in the most catastrophic effects of climate change,” she explained.
Over the course of the next thirty years, large segments of Campbell River, Zeballos, Sayward, and Tahsis will most likely experience flooding because of sea level rise.
“Beyond the direct impacts that we are going to experience, in terms of fires and flooding, our globalized interconnected finance market is going to be much more vulnerable. As these climate impacts wreak havoc on places around the globe, our sources of goods will be impacted.”
In addition to climate change, humankind, as a species, appears to be in planetary overshoot.
“We are using all of our resources far faster than their ability to replace themselves and have lost touch with our right relationship with the earth.”
Director Anderson does not believe the Regional District system is going to be nimble enough to respond to the impending crises.
“Time is of the absolute essence. My request of the district is that we look at how to support local resilience.”
She emphasized the need for communities within the SRD to make preparations themselves: “community led; community directed; community centred resilience.”
The SRD Board’s Response
Aside from a question about how much the sea is expected to rise, Director Anderson’s presentation was greeted by silence. There was also no response to the video Director Whalley introduced. The Board accepted both presentations and moved on to other matters.
*correction: I originally wrote “2,000 scientists” worked on the IPCC Report, this is the number that registered, according to the subsequent IPCC news release the report incorporates comments from 489 of them.