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Open Letter to Members of the 41st Parliament Demanding Urgent Action on Climate Change

Members of Canada’s university community are increasingly alarmed by governments’ inattention and inaction with regard to climate change. It is more than time to face the ominous facts.

The scientific consensus is clear. The human-caused injection of fossil carbon into the atmosphere is increasing greenhouse gas concentration at a geologically unprecedented rate, unabated by recent intergovernmental arrangements.

The trapped excess thermal energy is driving atmospheric and ocean warming and increasingly chaotic weather and climate changes. The melting of snow, ice, and permafrost is proceeding at an unanticipated pace. The destruction of ice cover aggravates the warming in a dangerous feedback, as reflectivity is reduced and as trapped methane is released to the atmosphere.

This disruption of the complex system of water and carbon cycles is already felt in increased drought and desertification, flooding, fires, and coastal inundation and salination. This means that greenhouse gas emissions not only must be reduced –as has been generally conceded– but that the cutbacks cannot be postponed for decades, and cannot be made a little at a time. It is analogous to a patient with a fever: at some point even a very small temperature increase causes entire organ system collapse. We now see accelerating habitat and ecosystem loss, water and food insecurity, forced migration, and premature death. The damage which has been repeatedly predicted as a future danger is now upon us.

Yet nations and businesses are racing headlong in the wrong direction.

Instead of taking even the first step of reducing emissions 5.2% below 1990 levels as agreed upon at Kyoto, they have let global emissions go more than 30% above 1990 levels.

  1. Instead of holding greenhouse gas concentration to 350 parts per million as specified by the world’s climate scientists, they have let the level rise to 392 ppm, headed for minimally 450 ppm within decades under current business-as-usual.

  2. Instead of viewing the disappearance of Arctic sea ice with alarm, business and political leaders are intent on increasing emissions through offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

  3. Instead of preserving forest carbon sinks and protecting dwindling water supply (from rivers and aquifers) for agriculture, they are destroying these resources by exploitation of the tar sands.

It is especially grotesque that when life is endangered, death should be given priority: the military is entirely exempt under the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. armed forces constitute the largest single consumer of oil in the world, using one quarter of the world’s jet fuel. In the first three weeks of “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, they burned 40 million gallons of fuel, as much as was used in all of World War I.

The carbon-reliant economy is destroying the planet as a habitable environment. The world must move beyond this system, now.


Ursula M. Franklin, Univ. Prof emerita, Massey College Liisa L. North, York University Derek Paul, University of Toronto (Professor Emeritus) Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta and McMaster University John Valleau, Chemistry, University of Toronto David Donaldson, University of British Columbia Paul Antze, Department of Social Science, York University Miriam Diamond, University of Toronto Pieter Basedow, Science for Peace, University of Toronto Louis Marchildon, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres Harry Elsholtz, University of Toronto Nchamah Miller, Instituto de Filosfia, La Habana James Robert Brown, U of Toronto Brydon Gombay, Science for Peace, Doctorate from University of Toronto Geoffrey Carre, Cape Breton University Richard Collier, Mount Royal University (ret) Margaret Roberts, Mount Royal University Ray Morris, York University Ian Hacking, U of Toronto Louis and Rosalind Lefeber, York and McMaster Universities Chandler Davis, University of Toronto Dieter Misgeld, University of Toronto Prof. Malcolm Blincow, Dept. of Anthropology, York University Larry Hannant, University of Victoria and Camosun College Dan A Morrison, Carleton Judith Baker, Glendon College, York University Jacqueline Medalye, York University Bruna Nota, post graduate Diana Abraham, York University Andrew Clement, University of Toronto Tomas Kojar, University of Toronto Margrit Eichler, University of Toronto Brad Hornick, Simon Fraser University Emily Porth, York University Timothy Leduc, York University, Assistant Professor James Nugent, University of Toronto, Department of Geography Janis Langins, University of Toronto Judith Deutsch, University of Toronto (Science for Peace) Sharon Zvonar, SFU Robert Stupka, U of Toronto Eva Kushner, University of Toronto Dr James Deutsch, Medicine, University of Toronto Peter Flood, University of Saskatchewan Joanna Santa Barbara, McMaster University Adam Hitchcock, McMaster University David Hitchcock, McMaster University Martin Muldoon, York University Donald Carveth, York University, Glendon College Ellen Flanders, York University David Burman, University of Toronto Lisa Jeffrey, CMS, UTSC Eshrat Erfanian, York University Phyllis Creighton, Trinity College, University of Toronto Masrour Zoghi, UBC Brenda Longfellow, York University Elizabeth Hellreich, University of Toronto John Sharkey, Guelph Univeristy Ralph Martin, Nova Scotia Agricultural College David Leadbeater, Laurentian University Boyd Richards, Ph.D., University of New Brunswick (retired) Richard Fung, OCAD University John Gilbart, Mc Master, U. of Western Ontario Troy David Ouellette, York University b.h. Yael, Professor, OCAD University Johanna Householder, OCAD University Kari Brozowski, Wilfrid Laurier University Alan Slavin, Trent University, Physics and Astronomy Henry A. Becker, Queen’s University Bill Atkinson, Trent University David Patton, Trent University J. Mark Parnis, Chemistry Department, Trent University Brenda L. Gallie, University of Toronto Eddy Be, Ryerson Margot Francis, Brock University Bryn Ludlow, McMaster University David Shafir, York University David DiFrancesco, Ryerson University Warren Bell BA MD CM, UBC (clinical teaching staff) Marion Dove, McGill University Jane Helleiner, Brock University Ronald Shirtliff, Ryerson, retired, Emeritus Rebecca Raby, Brock University Dr. Tim-Rasmus Kiehl, University of Toronto Chris Milburn, Dalhousie Norman Cheadle, Laurentian University Meyer Brownstone, University of Toronto (emeritus) Rejean Quesnelle, University of Ottawa Carole Roy, St. Francis Xavier University Dr. Janet Ray, University of Victoria James Heilman, UBC and U of S Dr Jonathan Down, University of Victoria Jik Neff, McMaster Dr Ian Simpson, clinical associate prof family medicine ( retired ) Johann Beda, Trent university Mary-Beth Raddon, Brock University Marie-Claude Gregoire, Dalhousie University Jean Zigby, McGill University Peter Fitting, University of Toronto Elizabeth Guptill, MD, Dalhousie Med School resident preceptor Douglas Franks, Nipissing University Carissa Weiler, Nipissing University Dr. Colleen Franklin, Laurentian University Beth Savan, University of Toronto Pieter J. Jugovic, University of Toronto Madhur Anand, University of Guelph Professor Emeritus, William Graham, University of Toronto Terry Campbell, Nipissing University Joey Power, Ryerson University Larry Patriquin, Nipissing University Larry Patriquin, Nipissing University Dr. Joanne Valin, Nipissing University Ann McDougall, University of Alberta Theo Hofmann, U.of Toronto Professor Emeritus Andre Gombay, University of Toronto Carla Wong, University of Toronto Frank Mcmahon, Professor emeritus, University of Alberta Bernd Baldus, University of Toronto s. Lawrence, University of British Columbia Kathleen Kevany, St. Francis Xavier University Julia Hart, University of Victoria Joe Vipond, University of Calgary Dewan Shuaib Afzal, Dhaka University Heather Murray, Professor, University of Toronto Jo Hayward-Haines, University of Toronto Robert Korol, McMaster University David Burman, University of Toronto Brian C. Wilson, Acadia University Rogerio Bernardes, Nipissing University George B. Spiegelman, University of British Columbia Lawrence Schmidt, University of Toronto marjorie griffin cohen, Simon Fraser University Dina Georgis, University of Toronto Astrid Steele, Nipissing University Sue Korol, Cape Breton University Elizabeth Lange, Assistant Professor, St. Francis Xavier Judy Haiven, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS Veronica Dahl, Simon Fraser University Dr. Alan Brain, Langara College, Vancouver Therry Jackson, OHSU Al Stauffer, York University Ellen Dyer, University of Toronto Edward Andrew, University of Toronto Colin L Soskolne, University of Alberta, School of Public Health Stephen Bocking, Trent University Ali Abbas Ahmadi, University of Toronto Professor Floyd Rudmin, University of Tromso (Norway) Douglas Alton, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Michelle Shahoud, University of Toronto Stephen Hill, Trent University Edward Barbeau, University of Toronto Rachel York-Bridgers, OISE / UofT Chester Sadowski, York University Helga Guderley, Université Laval Carol Schwartz, University of Toronto Sarah Gayman, Alumni University of Toronto Joseph Vise, University of Toronto Physics Dept Ivar Ekeland, FRSC, University of British Columbia Gordon Doctorow, Nova Southeastern University Eileen Smith-Piovesan, Cape Breton University Marcy MacKinnon, Cape Breton University Sue MacKenzie, Cape Breton University Patricia McCann, Summer Student Researcher & Project Coordinator Cathy Chisholm, Cape Breton University John Doue, Cape Breton University Colleen Keough, Finance Office Clerk Sheila Profit, Cape Breton University Mary Keating, Cape Breton University Martin Moy, Cape Breton University Denise Forgeron, Cape Breton University Andrew Molloy, Cape Breton University Marie MacSween, Cape Breton University Geoffrey Lee-Dadswell, Cape Breton University Rachel Baker, Cape Breton University Kathryn MacIntosh, Cape Breton University Douglass L. Grant, Cape Breton University Danny Yakimchuk, Cape Breton University James Gerrie, Cape Breton University Joseph M. Parish, Cape Breton University Jill McPherson, Employee – High School Liaison Officer Nathan Deutsch, University of Manitoba Nicholas Sobol, Library Technition Lee-Anne Broadhead, Cape Breton University Heather Schmidt, Cape Breton University Anne Marie MacNeil, Cape Breton University Andrew Reynolds, Cape Breton University Heather Sparling, Cape Breton University Yuliya Knyahnytska, University of Toronto Chris McDonald, Cape Breton University John McMurtry, Professor, University of Guelph

Affiliations for identification only

See Science for Peace Press Release from June 1, 2011

Open Letter on Climate Change to the Government of Canada, December 2009 by Science for Peace

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