Canada vs. the World

In our first lecture we discussed how the majority of Canadians claim that they are concerned about climate change and have adjusted minor details in their lives to contribute towards reducing global warming. Is this actually happening? Or are Canadians choosing to do whats in our own best interest regarding the new theories on climate change?

There are instances going on all around the world today that appear as visible signs of climate change. For example, sea ice in the more northern regions of Canada is taking much longer to form. This is having a significant negative effect on animals, such as the polar bears, in that region. However, some critics of climate change have recently brought up the discussion of whether or not these changes could have a positive effect on Canada’s climate as well as our economy. This topic of discussion seems to be influencing Canadians with a more cynical view towards climate change, especially due to the economic benefits and considering the recent worldwide financial disaster. My assumption of increasing Canadian cynics is based upon the fact that throughout my research on what Canadians are doing to reduce this issue, the majority of information I came across was, in a lot of ways, how the positive effects outweigh the negatives for Canadians.

How might climate change benefit Canadians?

David Lobell from Stanford University concludes a study on harvest growth in Canada and the northern U.S. Harvest season has begun to slow all over the world, except in these regions. Studies show that the Canadian growing season may actually be lengthened. This clearly poses as an economic advantage because Canadian farmers have more product to sell and export. Another economic benefit comes from the melting ice sheets in the Northwest regions of Canada. Along this region lies the Northwest Passage. This passage is so dense with ice that it has only been successfully sailed a small number of times. If the ice were to be eliminated enough to create a safe route, it would reduce the shipping distance between Asia’s Pacific coast and Europe’s western coast by about one third the distance travelled today. With a longer ice-free season means a longer shipping season, and cut travelling costs. This is seen as an important advantage in Canada’s future economy.

How might climate change be a disadvantage to Canadians?

Climate change is currently having a substantial negative effect on Canadian forests. According to a government agency, The Sustainable Forest Management Network, forest fires in Canada have already begun to rise. More specifically, the annual area burned nationally in the Western parts of Canada and Ontario could increase by 74%-118%. Another issue that has recently begun to arise is the agents of higher insect and potential disease frequencies. Insect species such as the mountain pine beetle, the spruce pine beetle, and many more are slowly increasing and becoming potential negative economic impacts on Canadian forests.

So are we as Canadians still trying to make a difference and doing as much as we can to reduce worldwide climate change? It appears that these studies may be subconsciously affecting many Canadians with a selfish outlook. One prime example, reported by CBC, is that Canada is not fighting to meet its commitments for the Kyoto Protocol. The moral is that we Canadians need to shed our selfish views on climate change and deal with this progressing issue as it stands a global issue, and not a personal one.

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2 Responses to Canada vs. the World

  1. avatar Alicia says:

    Frances, Great title and a great topic. I encourage you to also probe some of the negative impacts of climate change to Canada. What about our forests, fisheries, and waterways? They must also be impacted and are strong parts of our economy. Are these impacts positive or negative? Might there be other reasons for the recent media bias (i.e. climate fatigue)? I think globalization is a huge part of this equation. Other countries need to be strong enough to buy our exports. What about our imports? Tell us more about what you think of this topic.

  2. avatar Alicia says:

    Also, Frances see Michael’s post:
    Maybe the two of you could have a debate.

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