Bill McKibben's piece (also available in the Toronto Star) urges Canadians to get past the green energy backlash and get to work building renewable energy projects:
Dr. Andrew Weaver's piece is along the same lines:
In the ideal world, we’d do everything slowly and carefully - but this planet is rapidly becoming the worst of all possible worlds, a place that before my daughter dies may well see temperatures exceeding anything since before the dawn of primate evolution. A planet facing hundreds of millions of environmental refugees as a result of rising seas, with heat waves like the one that killed 35,000 in Europe becoming commonplace occurrences.
The evidence gets worse by the day: already whole nations are evacuating, the Arctic is melting and we have begun to release the massive storehouse of carbon trapped under the polar ice. Scientists figure the “safe” level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 350 parts per million. This is the most important number in the world. Go beyond it for very long and we will trigger “feedbacks” that will result in runaway warming spiraling out of any human control and resulting in a largely inhospitable planet.
We are already well beyond 350 and accelerating rapidly in the wrong direction.
So when local efforts to delay or stop low-carbon energy projects come into conflict with the imperative to act urgently on global warming, they have to take second place. Because even if we win every other battle, if we lose 350, it won’t make any difference at all. You can “keep” every river and bay and lake and mountain and wilderness, but if the temperature goes up 3 degrees globally, it won’t matter. The fish that live there won’t be able to survive, the trees that anchor the landscape will die, the coral reefs will bleach and crumble. Whatever the particular part of the world that we’re each working on, it’s still a part of the world. Global warming is the whole thing.
The public debate has become a caricature. People complain about windmills blocking their view. Kayakers complain about seeing a transmission line on their weekend excursions. The public dialogue is riddled with outlandish and demonstrably false assertions such as windmills will devastate local bird populations or a hydro project will create more greenhouse emissions than it will displace by eliminating a coal-burning power plant. Some of the most insidious arguments attempt to slow things down: that we should do more planning, that we should do energy conservation first and build renewable energy later, that we shouldn’t do anything until China does.
These arguments are fundamentally not serious. They come from groups and spokespeople that have simply not grappled with the math — with the scale and speed at which we must eliminate fossil fuel emissions.
We need a global agreement and action. This means rich countries like Canada must take decisive action and demonstrate that we are willing to shoulder the responsibility for what our emissions have done to the rest of the world. To that end:
We need to build and transition to entirely emissions-free energy.
We need to tax carbon emissions and legislate their elimination.
We need aggressive efficiency policies.
These measures must happen extremely quickly and on an unprecedented scale. We desperately need all civil society organizations advocating as hard as possible for this effort and we cannot afford to have so-called environmentalists opposing what science shows to be necessary.