Commentary – Summer is only a hemisphere away

Jeff Burgar

I look out my window at a frozen field, bare trees, and an ice covered roadway now being cloaked by falling powdery snow.

My outside thermometre says the temperature is -2C. Hardly a blistering cold winter day. The wind seems to be gusting around 50 km/hr, sometimes more. It’s hard to believe the wind chill is only -17C, but that’s what our newspaper website, with Environment Canada, says.

In these times, they say global warming is happening. We are told that repeatedly. We are also told “something must be done” and a catastrophe is upon us.

One expert told us, through a Democrat American congress lady, and the 16-year old Greta Thunberg, we only had 12 years before the end of the world was unstoppable.

Canadians, I know, seem not too worried. Other predictions mostly seem to say we have another 80 years or so before things “get bad”. If “bad” means a few more days of summer, and less of those -40C or colder winters, maybe things won’t be tough.

In fact, people running around warning us of rising ocean levels, billions of dollars needing to be spent to save islands and ocean-front cities, ideas to force us to ride bicycles to work in the middle of winter, and what to do about grizzly bears and polar bears fighting it out for habitat, are problems not of our concern.

At least, that’s what I thought.

I did think it was unfortunate mountain pine beetles were less likely to be killed off by bitter cold winters. Or that I might have to start thinking about termite protection and Zika disease as warmer weather allowed pests to move northward.

Basically however, as long as people were heading off to tropical climates for winter breaks, or going to Arizona for months at a time, and coming home seeming none the worse for wear, notwithstanding a few sunburns and headaches from too many umbrella drinks, well, life won’t be all that bad.

Don’t ask me to pay for those seawalls, carbon tax nonsense, or other ideas. Manhattan bankers in New York can move to the hills, or Edmonton or Calgary. Why should I pay to protect their skyscrapers?

And are a couple of degrees of warming really all that bad? Really?

As usual, there are often those dang two-edged swords. Case in point, Australia. Stories about brushfires in California rarely trouble me. Life keeps on trucking in a state that would have an economy fifth in the world, bigger than Canada, if it were a country. Australia though, is another story.

I did a satellite look of the fire zones there. TV news showed the same. Instead of sand dunes and cacti in the Outback most of the region under siege looks much like northern Canada. Huge forests and many, many small communities.

Outside, at my house, I can’t see past 200 metres because of falling snow. Anywhere in Northern Canada, it has been, and can easily be again, smoke from forest fires. Climate change or not.

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