Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nothing to fear from climate change?

And to stay on the subject of the environment for a minute, a new study concluded that Canada is the country best positioned to avoid the dangers of climate change. It's not just because we're a cold country that wouldn't mind some warmer weather (that viewpoint is dangerously wrong), but because we're a developed country with a low population density and a healthy economy that is better prepared to deal with environmental catastrophe.

I can't say I'm too reassured, because even if climate change fails to hurt us directly, there's nothing stopping it from hurting us indirectly. We live in a global economy, and environmental catastrophes around the world cannot fail to impact us, irregardless of how well equipped we are to deal with our own problems.

3 comments:

Adam said...

My country’s on the other end of the scale – Australia’s climate is already hot, dry and fairly marginal. In ‘Collapse’, Jared Diamond argues that only Iceland managed to build a first-world society in a harsher environment. If climate change does anything to make it drier, then we’re going to have huge problems. As it is, a lot of agricultural land is on the fast-track to becoming unusable through erosion, salination, soil exhaustion and lack of water.

Desmond said...

"Collapse" is indeed an excellent book. Actually, all of Diamond's books are excellent.

Australia may be on the opposite end of the scale, but a drier climate is exactly why Canada would benefit little overall from warmer temperatures. It's true that vast regions of Canada are nothing but frozen tundra, but even if it gets warmer, those regions will still be arid and inhospitable.

And the western Prairies (Canada's wheat basket) are particularly at risk. They have suffered numerous droughts in the past, and even a minor change in temperatures and rainfall patterns could be pretty catastrophic.

Anonymous said...

Climate change? Isn't the climate always changing?
Australia is basically a desert to begin with and so is Canada "north of 60".
This whole climate change ordeal is a politically motivated mess of lies and fear mongering.
Hold on to your seats people the government will find a way to tax climate change.Just so they can say, see, were doing something for you vote for us!It's all politics.