The effects of climate change

Burning Fossil Fuels.

Over the course of a few generations and in the face of repeated warnings, we have changed the basic chemistry of our planet and endangered the survival and well-being of innumerable species. It is the greatest moral failure of our time.

“The health status of millions of people is projected to be affected through, for example, increases in malnutrition; increased deaths, diseases and injury due to extreme weather events.”- UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[1]

“There is high confidence that climate change will result in extinction of many species and reduction in the diversity of ecosystems” – UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[2]

“The Arctic will be ice-free by 2015 or 2016… the final collapse towards that state is now happening.” – Dr. Peter Wadhams, University of Cambridge.[3]

“… there have been five mass extinctions in the distant geological past, all of them caused by overly high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. ” – Chris Turner, The Leap.[4]

“The world is on the brink of a food catastrophe caused by the worst US drought in 50 years” – Reuters.[5]

Fossil fuel extraction.

There are 13.25 billion liters of gasoline extracted from our earth every day.[6] It’s a finite resource; do we think this will last forever? The cheap, easy-to-get-at stuff is gone. This is why the oil sands are commercially viable. This is why BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilled over 10 km deep in the Gulf of Mexico and devastated its ecosystems.[7] And this is why we now want to drill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


Smog from the burning of fossil fuels negatively impacts health and well-being in numerous ways.

“Mortality-related costs associated with traffic pollution in Toronto are about $2.2 billion. A 30% reduction in vehicle emissions in Toronto is projected to save 189 lives and result in 900 million dollars in health benefits.” – Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto, Toronto Public Health.[8]

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  1. Impacts on systems and sectors.UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  2. Ecosystems and biodiversity.UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  3. Alison Fairbrother. “Science Says: No Ice in the North Pole by 2016.Take Part. 20 September 2012.
  4. Chris Turner. The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy. Random House Canada, 2011.
  5. Robert Kennedy. “Food riots predicted over US crop failure.Al Jazeera/Reuters. 21 August 2012.
  6. Chris Turner. The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy. Random House Canada, 2011. Page 30.
  7. Deepwater Horizon Drills World’s Deepest Oil & Gas WellTransocean Inc.
  8. Dr. David McKeown. “Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto.” Toronto Public Health. November, 2007.

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