The world first heard urgent climate change warnings in 1988, issued by an international meeting of climatologists in Toronto. The evidence then was so compelling that one report declared global warming a threat to human survival second only to nuclear war and called for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 15 years. The anecdotes in a new film, Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, add up to an overwhelming warning that social, economic and ecological costs are rapidly mounting and we must take climate change seriously. As one person says, "If you don't believe it, just look out the window."
We sometimes too easily overlook Canadians in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador -- coastal regions, like ours, on the front lines of climate change. Atlantic Canada faces risks if climate change is left unchecked, with more severe storms causing surging tides, flooding and widespread coastal erosion.
National business journalists and columnists have bought into Prime Minister Stephen Harper's demeaning view that folks in the Atlantic region are backward and have a defeatist attitude. Framed in contemptuous language, they're promoting untested economic ideas that, if adopted, would seriously damage the economy -- and the people -- of the region.