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People hold a banner during a protest march to call for action against climate change, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in Vienna, Austria, June 26, 2020.

LEONHARD FOEGER/Reuters

Want to engage in more discussion to do with climate and the environment? Sign up for our Globe Climate newsletter or e-mail globeclimate@globeandmail.com to join the conversation.

Fuggedaboutit!

Re Calls Mount To Expand Morneau Investigation (July 24): As an accountant, I’ve grown more and more concerned about the alarming size of Canada’s debt as it exceeds $1-trillion. It was also bothersome that the government did not seem to be making much effort to formulate a plan to deal with it.

The resolution to this issue is becoming apparent. I think the Finance Minister simply plans to forget to pay it back. Hopefully there will be no finance committee to trigger a repayment.

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John Pitts London, Ont.

Solutions for suffering

Re Tough-on-crime Anti-drug Moralizing Does A Disservice To Canadians (Online, July 25): The greater one’s mental pain or trauma while sober, the greater the need to escape reality, thus the more addictive the euphoric escape-form will likely be. Yet, in many straight minds, drug addicts have somehow committed a moral crime, perhaps even those who become addicted to opiates prescribed to them for an innocent sports or work injury.

We now know many pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed addictive painkillers – to me, the real moral crime – for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting suffering and immense numbers of overdose deaths.

Frank Sterle Jr. White Rock, B.C.

More measures

Re Is It Time For Dr. Bonnie Henry To Get Tough? (July 25): Thanks to our health ministers and public health officers across Canada for their efforts to protect us from COVID-19. However, I fear we will fail to contain the virus, with enormous costs to all of us, unless two crucial changes are made to current policies.

First, mandate the universal use of masks in all public places immediately. Distribute masks for free if need be, as I saw BC Transit doing recently. Levy substantial fines for those who won’t comply, and tie payments to an offender’s driver’s licence or vehicle licence.

Second, curtail all public consumption of alcohol immediately. Drunk people often don’t care who they hurt, as we know from the tragic effects of drunk driving.

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Patrick Godfrey North Saanich, B.C.

Call for justice

Re Canada Urged To Work With Allies Against Chinese Rights Abusers (July 22): When will Canada stand up to China and protect Uyghurs from further abuses? As pointed out by The Globe, Canada has a legal tool available in the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.

For the greater good of humanity, let’s follow the U.S. lead by naming senior members of the Chinese government who are responsible for abuses against Uyghurs, and absorb whatever retaliatory measures China may impose.

As Albert Einstein said: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Andy Buchan Burnaby, B.C.

Climate criticism

Re Climate-change Alarmism Is Blinding Us To Sensible Solutions (Opinion, July 18): Contributor Bjorn Lomborg suggests that more dykes and seawalls over the next decades will reduce the displacement of people, due to sea level rise, from an estimated 187 million to 305,000. Although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s analysis extends to the year 2100, the long-term impact of man-made global warming does not stop miraculously at the end of the century.

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In his book High Tide on Main Street, John Englander cautions that, 15 million years ago, when atmospheric CO2 levels were comparable to today and the global temperature was about 6 C warmer, sea levels were approximately 23 to 36.5 metres higher than now. Without significant and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, humanity can likely look forward to the loss of coastal infrastructure and the displacement of coastal populations. Mr. Lomborg’s “don’t worry, be happy” attitude does not seem conducive to appropriate action.

Derek Wilson Port Moody, B.C.


Contributor Bjorn Lomborg believes that a focus on climate change neglects other crises that are converging on us, such as poverty, malnutrition, infectious disease epidemics and a lack of education, effective health care and good government. But a Green New Deal would be a sensible solution for both the climate and these other crises.

The actions and policies being advocated in a Green New Deal include: reducing carbon emissions to zero, developing a renewable energy supply and distribution system, creating full employment with green, well-paid jobs with benefits, ending poverty and homelessness, bettering education and health care and strengthening democracy.

We should be going beyond alarmism to take action. The federal government should lead urgent collective action with provinces, municipalities and all other sectors to create a Green New Deal for Canada – and lead the world.

John Millar Clinical professor emeritus, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia; West Vancouver

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A quick internet search shows that, yes, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates the negative economic effects of climate change to be between 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent by the 2070s. But they also state – in the same paragraph – that many of the studies they relied on didn’t take into account “catastrophic changes, tipping points and many other factors.” Thus – from the same paragraph – “losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range.”

And of course, it is the nasty tipping points that are scary. Witness the 38 C temperature seen above the Arctic Circle this summer. How much methane and carbon got liberated from the tundra on that day?

Evan Bedford Red Deer, Alta.


Contributor Bjorn Lomborg believes that subsidizing renewable energy is taking money away from charitable causes such as tuberculosis. He fails to mention the $4.7-trillion that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the world currently uses to subsidize fossil fuels. Is that money helping to prevent tuberculosis and other diseases?

Ken Smith St. Catharines, Ont.

Almost crimes

Re ‘Chair Girl’ Marcella Zoia Fined $2,000, Given Two Years Probation And Community Service (July 22): “I cannot find that she intended to hurt anyone when she threw that chair,” Justice Mara Greene said. Am I to understand that Marcella Zoia just threw a chair for fun, or as a manifestation of an immature adult temper tantrum?

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I believe the best consequence for her “very immature and stupid mistake” would have been to cool off in jail.

Muri Abdurrahman Thornhill, Ont.

Places to play

Re Ontario Place Should Be Turned Into A Park While Still Maintaining Its Architectural Legacy (July 22): My wife and I took our two youngsters to Ontario “Play-ce” each summer. They loved the mazes, foam-ball shooting, water boats and entertainers. In my opinion, the best activity was the water park. I have two suggestions for the site’s future.

First, there should be investment in a huge water park with sprinklers, overhead dumping pails and water that suddenly squirts up from the ground. I don’t want a swimming area because that creates a safety issue; just let kids and, yes, adults run around and get sopping wet. Doesn’t that sound great for a hot, lazy August day?

Second, in winter, an artificial skating trail throughout the park would be lots of Canadian fun. Let’s keep the “play” in Ontario “Play-ce!”

Don Cooper Toronto

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