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It's crystal clear: The environment will be the single most important issue of 2007

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Our year of going green officially starts today ...Read the full article

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  1. Cup of Tea from National, Canada writes: In the face of overwhelming evidence, and with George Bush now admitting to global warming (talk about eating crow), I think the media finally understands what science (and a growing public) has known for some time.

    Skeptics do not receive equal time.

    Please be sure to proceed on your journalistic endeavours with that thought clearly in mind. Thank you.
  2. Glen Murtz from Vancouver, writes: Hey BC Minister Kevin "Highwayman" Falcon - you of the infamous, "the Gateway Project is going ahead - no matter what the public thinks"- how you liking your big fat mouth now?
  3. J G from Whitby, Canada writes: Bravo to you and your staff. Please consider the broader brush of the total environment vs simply global warming. The air quality in southern Ontario, the dumping of raw sewage into our waterways in cities such as Victoria, Toronto (when it rains), Halifax, etc; the water quality of the Great Lakes; the large commercial pig and cattle farm operations; etc. As to the last one, farm animals create more body waste than humans yets is simply dumped. In summary, please go way beyond global warming. Thank you for these great articles.
  4. J.C. Davies from Canada writes: Could the message be any more blatant: the Liberal Party "bleeds green".

    Surprised Greenspon doesn't go the whole hog and urge G&M readers to vote Liberal.
  5. Bernard Bomers from Vancouver, BC, Canada writes: Edward Greenspon, while intelligent and dedicated to his mission as guardian of the newspaper of record in Canada, at the same time is curiously wedded, no doubt for business reasons, to the vacuous exemplars of mindless lifestile advocates.

    Leah Maclaren, and others, will, no doubt, land on their feet, somewhere.

    Greenspon's alliance of commercial convenience while booked as a public speaker with some of his editorial lifestile allies will continue to raise questions, some substantive.

    Bernard J Bomers
  6. Michael Bowen from Halifax, Canada writes: Man the skeptics are out in full force. Tell you what folks....go and read www.realclimate.org (with the content written by academics and government scientists) rather than www.CO2science.org and www.junkscience.com which are paid for by and written by the oil industry. And for you skeptics, "consensus" in science doesn't mean *everybody*. It means overwhelming number. And on the issue of global warming, of the people who do published research in the area, agreement is something like 99% that human-induced global warming is happening. There's a *reason* that the skeptical researchers have trouble getting their work published.....often related to "bad" data that does not actually refute other, more plausible, explanations. As for skeptics not receiving equal time? They receive far far MORE time in the public media than their proportion in the professional community would warrant. If you're all so trusting it isn't happening, I encourage you to invest all of your savings in seaside property. Me? I'll invest my money in property on a large hill overlooking yours. The Fifth Estate has a great episode on how the oil industry spent loads of money on public relation firms to manipulate the debate. All you skeptics should go to http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/index.html and see what sheeple you've all been.
  7. J.C. Davies from Canada writes: "And for you skeptics, "consensus" in science doesn't mean everybody. It means overwhelming number".

    Of course a consensus does not make it correct. Once upon a time there was consensus among astronomers that the sun revolved around the earth.
  8. Cymro yn byw yma Canada from Canada writes: Yes Mr Epp you are correct,"the climate has changed many times during the last 250,000 years" The use of fossil fuels
    is a recent phenomenon and in geological terms any climate change caused by human activity is a recent event. Pointing our that ,"the climate has changed many times during the last 250,000 years" doesn't do it for me or for many others. But thanks for pointing that out although the skeptics seem to think that it is important for us to be reminded of that.
  9. J.C. Davies from Canada writes: "The Fifth Estate has a great episode on how the oil industry spent loads of money on public relation firms to manipulate the debate."

    Just one problem all those scientists the Fifth Estate accused of being Americans employed by the oil industry:

    "The Denial Machine, starring Vancouver PR man James Hoggan. Mr. Hoggan made a number of disparaging remarks about a group of 60 scientists who signed a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper urging him to review the science of climate change. According to Mr. Hoggan, the scientists who signed are not to be trusted. "We looked into the folks who were on that, and all but 19 were Americans and most of them are kind of infamous characters from the states who worked for the tobacco industry."

    In fact, only 12 are Americans and at most two have done past science work on tobacco. About 20 are Canadians, while others are from about a dozen other countries, including France, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. So Mr. Hoggan's statements on the scientists are dead wrong."

    So much for the credibility of the CBC.
  10. Mr Fijne from Calgary, Canada writes: Mr Greenspoon sums it up: "not much about science " but "public perception" and the Globe is obliging with Mickey Mouse cartoonery and other tricks that will brainwash the uninformed. That is IT: our politicians, armed with the journalists -two of the least trusted professions according to a recent poll- will create more hot air about what they cannot control, tax more people and meanwhile won't have to fix health care, debate the Ontario-Quebec centered federation that makes the West pay for all and will appear doing something good. The perfect issue is finally in front of them and of course the media! Meanwhile Mr Greenspon never compared the case of William Sampson with Mr Arar's... that would have been useful information instead of hot air!
  11. E Germain from Spruce Grove - Edmonton Spruce Grove - CanadaAB., Canada writes: There is no Global Warming , Ralph Klien said so . All ALbertans know Ralph would not lie to us - after all he brought us deregulation wasn'[t that good for us ?.
  12. Dave Medich from Windsor, Canada writes: "It's crystal clear: The environment will be the single most important issue of 2007"............... Wow! The ability to predict the future too. I'm impressed. Just out of curiosity, if there was a successful terrorist strike in Toronto killing thousands, would it still be "crystal clear"?
  13. Michael Bowen from Halifax, Canada writes: For you "skeptics", is that just an excuse for you not taking personal action? So you can keep your creature comforts? It all starts at home folks. I only heat my house to 62F (I'm using imperial 'cuz I'm assuming the skeptics represent an older demographic....that's what the data says), what's yours at? 72F? 74F? What do you heat your home with? I use a biofuel. I drive a fuel efficient car. What do you drive? An SUV? A mini-van? How many km do you put on year? I put on 12k/yr because I walk or bus to work a couple of days a week. Do you use flourescent bulbs? I do, or dimmers on fixtures that it makes sense to. Hang out your laundry to dry? Yup, I do that too. Make sure as many groceries as possible are sourced locally so they don't have to be transported? Yup, I do that too. Could I do more? Ya, and I'm working on it. Just imagine if we ALL did more, individually, without worrying about what the government might do. I've known lots of "skeptics", and they all fit into the "I've got mine Jack" category of having a million possessions, a huge house, going out for dinner, driving to the cottage, and driving big big cars, vans, SUVs or Hummers. I once used to work for one of the more elite private schools in Canada. I was fascinated to listen to parents stand around and say things like "Well, if the air becomes too polluted to breath, I'll just dome my house and filter the air so my family will be comfortable." Interesting perspective. Aren't they doing something like this in Japan so that they can downhill ski in areas that can't afford it? Hasn't Intrawest tossed around that idea for the Collingwood area? Oh ya, WITH airconditioning so snow can be made. Wonder who can afford to ski on those hills? Bettya it's the "skeptics". Apparently "skeptics" will use any excuse they can, engage in contortionist denials extrordinaire, to not take any personal action....what a selfish bunch you are indeed. So sad that it looks like my son will inherit your planet.
  14. Brian MacDonald from Berwick NS, Canada writes: The Global Warming Conspiracy: The Liberal Party of Canada, Taliban Jack Layton, Edward Greenspoon, Libby Davis, Toronto Leftist Creeps, CBC, CTV, the Democratic Party of the US, etc.,etc.

    I drive a V-8 4X4, burn softwood in an oil-barrel heater and use lots of plastic bags. Feel guilty - not likely - I want my share of this planet while it is still available. And by the way, Green Crusaders, the sun is going to burn out anyway! LOL
  15. Brian MacDonald from Berwick NS, Canada writes: Producing children to leave on the plant is one of the most selfish and damaging things we can do, Mr "I used to work at an elite school." What were you doing evesdropping on people? You were probably leaning on your broom, eh?
  16. David Oilfield from Fredericton, Canada writes: You know, I hate to admit it, but I find myself in not total disagreement with Mr Fijne up there. There could definitely be a stronger focus on the level of information content in "Canada's National Newspaper", than on the attention grabbing headlines and articles that seem designed to get the maximum chatter on the comments board.

    The little "Global Warming 101" graphic on the web page? If my kids had produced it, I'd say nice job. They already know the content, because they are in elementary school. (What's more, they know not to spell "such" as "sush"). But from a national newspaper? I believe we expect a higher level of information content than that.

    Daily, we see unsupported comments bandied about such as "the liberals want to send billions of dollars overseas to buy credits without having any effect on emissions". Do they? Is that what was really in the 2005 act? Or, another example: "China and India aren't even in Kyoto" (actually, of course, they are, but they do not have to cut emissions in this round).

    How about some elementary facts, just the facts? How about some tables showing us where we are compared to other nations? How about an article explaining in detail how the UK already surpassed its Kyoto target (which was more stringent than ours)? How about information to explain what carbon trading means?

    I want Wikipedia's level of factual informativeness, presented in a digestible way, with your experts ensuring that all the bases get covered. Maybe this is a resource that can be built into your web site, even if not in the print edition. It could be added to over time to stay current.

    Please continue raise the level of knowledge in Canada, and please do more to dispel the myths. That will be a great service to Canadians.

    Thanks.
  17. Robert Rose from Canada writes: The Editor

    This short note only to point out how timely, interesting and useful that series of articles, graphics, photos, special reports and live discussions are, in the present circumstances. Being so critical of the media at all times, I thought I ought to write to let you know. Thank you for this long awaited presentation and debate, AT LAST! This is what I call "the media playing their proper role and taking their responsibilities" on an issue of vital importance. Once again, thank you.

    Regards
  18. Michael Bowen from Halifax, Canada writes: "The Global Warming Conspiracy: The Liberal Party of Canada, Taliban Jack Layton, Edward Greenspoon, Libby Davis, Toronto Leftist Creeps, CBC, CTV, the Democratic Party of the US, etc.,etc." Geez, somehow you missed all the scientists. Aren't the rest just disseminators? The thing that's interesting about the whole Global Warming issue is how widespread the physical evidence is....from areas no-one had ever thought of linking but that are consistent in what they show. Ice in Antarctica, content of stalactites and stalagmites, ice in the Arctic, tropical reefs in remote parts of the Bahamas etc etc. "I drive a V-8 4X4, burn softwood in an oil-barrel heater and use lots of plastic bags. Feel guilty - not likely - I want my share of this planet while it is still available." Ah, I also missed arrogant and greedy in addition to selfish. Sorry about that. I mean, if you're proud about it, you might as well own the labels. Altho', and you'll really laugh at this, from a global warming perspective burning softwood is a very good thing to do to reduce your footprint...at least in relation to burning fossil fuels. Well done. "Producing children to leave on the plant is one of the most selfish and damaging things we can do" Really? Ah. Sorry about that. I have one kid. Not even "replacement" level. Good thing, since there won't be any resources left eh? I do sincerely hope you yourself are pursuing the "non-reproduction" approach. "What were you doing evesdropping on people? You were probably leaning on your broom, eh?" Hardly. Interesting level of arrogance coming from someone living in Berwick.....never realized that the little 'burb held such strong intellectual foundations that you can dis' others (and ya, I know it....I have relatives there). I'm glad the G&M is running this series....maybe it'll actually contain some educational material of use to those in more remote areas with few resources to draw on.
  19. Elizabeth Wallace from Victoria, Canada writes: This is a breath of fresh air! I hope that while you are exploring climate change and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you will also consider the pollutants causing 'global dimming'. This man-made phenomenon is masking the full effect of global warming. Dirty clouds reflect a significant portion of the sun's rays back into space, decreasing the rate of warming and evaporation and likely changing rain patterns around the world. As with greenhouse emissions, these pollutants are produced by the richest countries while the poorest nations are suffering the worst of the consequences- so far. We must reduce all form of pollution if we want to save this planet for future generations!
  20. ward benedict from Canada writes: Lets be frank. There is one reason that the Globe and Mail (along with all other left leaning Canadian media is promoting the climate change agenda. It is the only issue the federal Liberals feel that they could potentially win an election on. So the Globe will do its part to increase the top of mind awareness of the issue for them. Keep it on the front pages and make sure not to focus on Dions failure as Environment Minister or the Liberals failing come anywhere close to the emissions goals they signed on to. Make sure to demonize the Conservatives at every turn on the environment profile. Where was Mr. Greenspon and the Globe then? Oh yeah, I forgot. They were busy promoting the Liberal talking points at that time which was the "Harper scary" "Hidden Agenda" meme. Perhaps Mr. Greenspon could also educate his readers on the architect of Kyoto, Mr. Maurice Strong. Kyoto is about income redistribution hidden behind the guise of saving the planet. The potential graft and corruption of an emissions credits trading system would make the oil for food scandal look like a pikers game. Strong was involved in that one too. Sadly, it will resonate withing the GTA echo chamber and likely succeed in proping up the morally vacant Liberals, which will only serve to delay the retooling the Liberals are desperately in need of.
  21. ward benedict from Canada writes: Looks like Mr. Greenspon has his work cut out for him. The Globes own poll at the time I write this shows that despite the alarmist stance the Globe and Mr. Greenspon have taken, that only 1 in 5 people agree that it is the most important issue facing Canadians today. Thats with a sampling of 21000 people.
  22. Ron Sinclair from Canada writes: I am glad to see the Globe get into this issue, as it certainly is not going to go away. In view of all the doomsday articles that blanket the media, it is particularly nice to see articles by Margaret Wente and Rex Murphy, who counterbalance the shrill ones. Margaret's article today in particular I found very informative, in that she names credible science folks that have a more balanced point of view than Al Gore and the sky is falling crowd.
  23. Catch 22 from Vancouver, Canada writes: Finally the powers that be seem to be seeing the reality of climate change. I would urge the Globe and Mail to keep this up. Specifically, I would like to see more information about what can be done about climate change.

    The public needs to understand what cap and trade is, and how it worked to stop acid rain. They need to understand the types of change that will have to happen in our society, that we will need to increase the energy efficiency of many devices that we use, that we will need to build more commuter trains, that we will need to use more wind/tidal/geothermal/solar energy. They need to realize that we energy efficiency awareness should be part of our everyday lives. If Canadians don't see clear solutions to this problem, then they will lose hope.

    During a visit to Paris last year, I was struck by how our friend who lived there was highly aware of energy efficiency; from rinsing dishes with cold water to turning lights and heaters off in unoccupied rooms, it was just a part of life for her, not a burden.

    I found it very interesting that in most or all apartments in Paris, the lights in the outside hallways are on timed switches. In one apartment I was in, I was initially surprised when the elevator door opened to darkness. Across from the elevator was a illuminated button, which I pressed to turn the lights on. We then walked down the hall and entered the apartment, after which the lights turned off again. Leaving apartment hallway lights on all the time is extremely wasteful of energy. Why can't we do something similar in Canada, perhaps with motion sensors?
  24. John Nemanic from Canada writes: First you blind them, then you rob them. I smell new taxes coming.... Green Politics will make lots of money for the insiders at the expense of the poor suffering slobs who have to pay for it all. What the heck, Canada needs a new tax to pay for Liberal ineptitude and corruption. Come on, you don`t actually believe that the money will go towards solving the problems, do you?
  25. Michael Bowen from Halifax, Canada writes: It must be wonderful having an opinion no matter how much these things called "facts" must interfere with it. Regarding the claim that "Al Gore is a splendid example of a Greenie who has made millions off the backs of the sheeple by promoting his line on global warming.", Gore pledged before the release of the video and book that any and all profits or royalties due to him from those would be donated to The Alliance for Climate Protection. He lives, he claims, a carbon-neutral lifestyle....and probably does so through personally purchasing carbon credits. [I'll concede that there are some potential issues with these....as there are with any developing idea]. For those interested in making efforts in that direction yourself, visit http://www.cooldrivepass.com (for your vehicle) and http://www.offsetters.ca (for your flights)). A heckuva solution for people who want to drive a V8 4X4 but lessen their environmental impact from doing so.
  26. d s from Canada writes: Mr. Greenspon,

    Thank you to your commitment to this issue. You list the sections of the paper in which this issue is covered and it is great; however, I strongly urge you to devote more of the Globeinvestor and ROB content to the environment (there is a good artical today on some green options for investments) but it would be fantastic if there were greater coverage to mutual funds, banks, businesses etc. that are leaders in green policy. We're hungry to know how our RRSPs and savings can be invested for our planets future and not just our own. I can make micro-economic decisions in my life that reduce my impact, but they are so small in comparison to the impact which fund managers and large investors can have. Inform the fund managers about what thier Green options are; and inform me on which funds are carbon and energy neutral.
  27. doctor business from vancouver, Canada writes: The Globe and Mail sells cars. Global Warming and the environment are not primarily issues of scientific authority, even if scientists think so. It is a matter of morals and politics, to most all of us. That is where the decision comes from. Our corporate media is not evil, there is no conspiracy. It is simply a matter of the bottom line. The conspiracy of the ideology that the magical invisible hands of the free market are real, are God's hands, and are sufficient to guide us while we sit by and try to cheat each other for that little bit extra. "God is very weak, it seems" said Bishop Desmond Tutu, "He needs us to do his work." And our culture claims selfish irresponsibility. The Automobile Advertising section keeps the paper afloat. It is not a big deal to just never question the central role of cars and private anti-technologies [high tech magic] in our lives. It's only the entire climate of our entire earth, the only thing that any human has ever had to live on. What a fringe group. The base is the car buyers, they are the mainstream! Driving to the mall to buy plastic shopping bags, that is NORMAL. Breathing the air and swimming in The Ocean, the sky, the blue colour that represents the spirit in all Western Art... Totally irrellevant hippy environmentalist fringe groups. Plants and animals are a commodity, expendable, cars are a real necessity!!!
  28. Susan Young from Seoul (temporarily), Korea, Rep. of writes: Excellent intentions the G&M. Why not a series on first identifying, then reducing, the GHG emissions (and other toxics?) from producing your paper? Give Canadian businesses, their employees, their shareholders, us citizens, an idea of what is involved in dealing with GHG emissions and reaching clean production. Many businesses that have already done this (called "leaders") find cost savings in the long run.
  29. Bill Woolverton from Edmonton, Canada writes: "How much of the Earth's greenhouse-gas emissions were humankind's responsibility?"

    Mr. Greenspon and his experts should know that this is an irrelevent question, because most emissions (natural and anthropogenic) are absorbed by carbon sinks. The difference is about half of the anthropogenic emissions, hence the measured increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. How much of the observed warming is a result of human activity is a valid question, which has been answered by the IPCC.
  30. Earl Anthony from Sudbury, Canada writes: Mr. Greenspon and The Globe & Mail are doing Canada and Canadians a tremendous disservice by painting the global warming issue as already decided.

    There are in fact plenty of credible scientific voices and articles that oppose the hypothesis of human induced global warming. Mr. Greenspon and his staff simply chose not to print them.

    Good journalism is investigating all sides of an issue while selective editorialism is merely propaganda.
  31. kevin joncas from Calgary, Canada writes: Hey Ed
    Way to go guy. Just like Alice in Wonderland. First the verdict,then the trial. The only evidence to be considered is that which agrees with our hypothesis. Just like the IPCC.
    Also love your line for comments..... "where the purported quote or fact is not publically known".I guess that bringing up facts that people don't know about is out of the question.
  32. Lee Thompson from Sarnia, Canada writes: Edward,

    Thanks for writing us in this regard. I truly appreciate the effort the Globe and Mail has been into our environmental crisis. I cruise all the major newspapers daily in an effort to see who is doing what. The G&M is winning this battle by a landslide.

    I was wondering if you would consider devoting an entire section of the G&M to the environment. There is so much happening there in terms of science and technology, it would be great. It would also keep the issue on the forefront of Canadian minds.

    Thanks Edward. Keep up the good work!

    Sincerely,

    Lee Thompson
  33. Alan Burke from Ottawa, Canada writes: It's about time that we faced this issue head on. I hope that we do it with objectivity. There is believable evidence that we have both caused and can correct the environmental issues surrounding the issue of "global warming".

    I think that many commentators will not be aware of the simple but effective measures that we could do by being more efficient. The most respected scientific journals, subject to vicious peer review, have shown that big companies can make huge profits by being more efficient. This isn't just about gas reduction, it's about the one world we all live in and providing incentives to the pollution producers to improve their bottom line.

    At one level, it's about holding the polluters accountable for their garbage. At another, it's about showing them how they can be more profitable if they adopt good business practices, but that will probably require government intervention.

    If you doubt what I've had to say here, please dig into past Scientific American publications on this issue. See http://www.sciam.com.
  34. Ian St. John from Canada writes: Long term there will be more and more emphasis on sustainable economies which tie into environmental issues since the key to sustainable economies is not to demand too much of the natural world.

    As noted, it would take three or four planets to give a western style developed world lifestyle to the developing world and there is no question that we will have to adapt to no longer owning the worlds resources for our own use. Higher prices, lower supplies and less waste are the new reality.
  35. c b from Canada writes: Well, I suppose the first thing that I will do is cancel my subscription to my local newspaper. I believe that this will save a few trees as well as the fuel needed for delivery, and also on everything back upstream to the fuel in the chainsaw which cuts down the tree. I'll try to convert as my of my friends and neighbors to do the same in the spirit of conservation that the author of the article has inspired in me.
  36. Ian St. John from Canada writes: "c b from Canada writes: Well, I suppose the first thing that I will do is cancel my subscription to my local newspaper."

    Or convert it to an online subscription. It will also reduce the cost of news for the newpapers, you know. That effort ( to print, distribute, etc) can then be applied to producing more 'indepth' and intelligent articles.

    Once we have 'electronic paper' it may even be possible to 'download' the paper and then read it as you would a newspaper but without the folding, the dropped inserts, the reshuffling, the search for a recycle bin, etc.

    Do it because it's better, not to feel noble.
  37. Ian St. John from Canada writes: "J.C. Davies from Canada writes: Of course a consensus does not make it correct. Once upon a time there was consensus among astronomers that the sun revolved around the earth. "

    No. Scientific method didn't start until 1637, when René Descartes established the framework for the scientific method's guiding principles in his treatise, Discourse on Method. Until then, there were no scientists as we define the term.

    To claim that early errors in philosophy and discovery (many driven by religious scripture such as heliocentricity) have any connection to the modern results of proper scientific inquiry is a fraud and a deceit.

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