Yes, I know what the scientists say – but the doomsayers of climate change don’t live here. If they did they would join the majority of my fellow countrymen who don’t see what the problem is if the world warms up a little. We know that the experts say that the sea level would rise and some millions of people would have to move to higher ground. There are even some smaller islands that might disappear completely. We understand the concern.
But those who are worried about global warming and rising sea levels are invited to spend visit Canada in the winter. Especially this winter. They might conclude that sacrificing a few Pacific islands was worth it. Most Canadians think so, though it is not politically correct to admit it.
When I woke up yesterday morning the temperature in Ottawa was minus 26. Add in the wind, and it felt like minus 39. That admittedly is Celsius, but when it gets that cold the scale you use is pretty much irrelevant: it is brutally cold. And we have it easier than some places, like Whitehorse, which had a wind chill of minus 48. For most people that is unspeakable cold, the like of which they have never experienced. Canadians call it winter.
By the middle of February it is supposed to be getting a little warmer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year. Spring is a distant rumour, and we wonder if it really will come, or whether we are now doomed to perpetual winter. Scientists claim the planet is warming up and we need to be concerned about that and take steps to reverse the trend. Canadians, freezing in their igloos don’t see what the big deal is about getting a little warmer for once.
Okay, we don’t actually live in igloos. Keeping warm though does require the production of greenhouse gases, the kind the scientists tell us are bad for the environment. But given a choice between environmental harm and freezing to death, most of us tend towards the selfish choice. Sorry to you Pacific islanders who will have to find a new place to live, but we have room for you here.
It is difficult to believe the scientific claims when it seems as if our winters are getting colder. Yes, I know that is an anecdotal observation, not hard science. But I also know that in Ottawa this month temperatures are averaging about 10 degrees colder than normal. To me that doesn’t seem like warming, though maybe it is warmer in other parts of the world. I am eager to hear a scientist explain to me why it is so much colder when I wake up in the morning than it used to be. (Yes, I know, the answer is “because it is Canada” – but that is not a scientific response.)
Maybe there is an end in sight to this endless winter, or at least a respite of sorts. Today’s high is predicted to be minus nine, which will feel positively tropical. It won’t last though, Sunday’s high, according to Environment Canada, will be minus 19. And that doesn’t take the wind chill into account.