Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

17 Jun 2023

Danger signals

Posted by Michael Keating

It’s ironic that Canada, one of the world’s major oil and gas producers, is taking it on the chin from climate change. The country is heading toward a record forest fire season thanks to extreme high temperatures and dry forests from our warming climate. Homes and businesses are burned to the ground and tens of thousands of people have become climate refugees in their own country. Thousands of firefighters from around the world came to Canada to help but they are facing uncontrollable walls of fire as high as a 30-storey building. Smoke from the wildfires travelled thousands of kilometres, poisoning the air in cities as far south as Washington, DC. Forest fire smoke, once a faraway problem is choking millions of people in the biggest cities. Air pollution readings shoot into the danger zone. These fires add an exclamation point to a recent study by the international scientist group Earth Commission. It said human activities have pushed the planet past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone.”

BC Forest Fire 2023.
Credit: B.C. Wildfire Service

It is a sign of the profound unsustainability of our economy and lifestyles that that Canada, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, is suffering so much from climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Even as fires rage and people flee for their lives, many politicians continue to push for more fossil fuel production instead of cutting greenhouse gas emissions sharply every year.  The burning question is how frightened people will have to be to demand governments enforce stringent pollution controls and stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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