Letter to the Editor – Dr. Ron Wilson

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I read the letter in last week’s Grapevine in regard to benefits from oil, gas and coal. I will admit that we have indeed benefited greatly from these products. I noticed that the book she referred to by Alex Epstein was published in 2022. Likely any data that was referenced in the book would have been 2021 at the latest. While the benefits have been many from fossil fuels, they have also been causing many problems as well. If they continue to be produced at the same rate, the problems we are seeing in the earth’s environment recently are only going to get worse. I refer to extreme heat waves, severe drought followed by floods when it does rain, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.  These are occurring throughout the world and are affecting those who are least able to cope with them, such as in low lying countries in the South Pacific islands. However, we only need to recall the severe fire season we had in Canada last year. The fires affected every part of Canada with large scale evacuations for prolonged periods. The total land burned more than doubled any previous year. Sadly, early predictions are that this year could be the same or even worse. 

These weather changes have now been linked with certainty to global warming with fossil fuels being far and away the main cause. Burning these fuels releases CO2 and Methane, the 2 main gases that lead to heat trapping in the atmosphere. They are responsible for 75% of this effect. This in turn increases the earth’s temperature leading to global warming. 

The Letter in last week’s issue reported an increase of 1 degree Celsius in the earth’s temperature. Due to 2023 being the hottest year on record, the last 12 months now have the earth at over 1.5 C above preindustrial times.  What is most worrisome is the rate at which the earth is heating up. It is not just the earth’s surface temperature that is being affected. The World Meteorological Organization tracks what are referred to as the Earth’s Vital Signs. Oceans are heating up, sea level is rising, Antarctic sea ice is melting and glaciers are retreating at the fastest rate ever seen. 

I could go on and on. The WMO has put out a RED ALERT for the earth on which we live and depend. It is time for all hands on deck to do everything we can for the Earth’s sake and ours. 

I realize that concerns such as the rising cost of living, housing costs and inflation are very present at this time. However, I quote from the WMO report: “The Climate crisis is the defining challenge that humanity faces”. 

The Denman Climate Climate Action Network will have a booth at the market this Saturday as Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. Hope to see you there. 

Respectfully submitted, Dr. Ron Wilson (now retired)