To the editor:
David Suzuki’s environmentalism is being serious damaged by his misguided focus on climate change.
While variations in Earth’s climate can have serious detrimental (and positive) impacts on people and nature, we have no chance of stopping this natural phenomenon. Consequently, we must plan for adaptation to whatever nature throws at us next, warming or cooling, drought or flood, etc.
Suzuki should direct his foundation to drop the climate mitigation issue entirely and focus instead on real environmental concerns only such things as air, land and water pollution as well as protecting species that really are at risk.
Meanwhile, he should double-check his facts before writing more about climate. Contrary to what he has written in his column: Extreme weather events are generally not increasing worldwide. For example:
• We are now at a 30-year low in ‘accumulated cyclone energy,’ the worldwide integrated total strength of all hurricanes
• Alpine glaciers have been retreating at a relatively constant rate since the early 1800s and show no sign of accelerated retreat
• Sea level has been rising since the end of the last glacial period, over 10,000 years ago, and today’s rise is much slower than what was experienced for most of that period
• Today’s carbon dioxide levels are among the lowest in the history of our planet and if they drop too much more, plant life, indeed all life, will be seriously threatened. Carbon dioxide is a vital reactant in plant photosynthesis, not a pollutant.
Suzuki is right that: “It shouldn’t be up to young people to clean up the messes we have made.” So, let’s focus on the messes we know that we cause. Helping get the environmental movement off the climate change bandwagon and on to useful topics would be the greatest legacy Suzuki could leave his descendants.
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)