Letters to the Editors

Rector’s speech on Remembrance Day

Dear Editors,

While I think it was important for the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Grant Hall this year to have a student voice, I resent Nick Day, the Queen’s University Rector, using his speech as a political soapbox. Nick started with some family history and then launched into commentary on Pinochet in Chile, and the on-going crisis in Palestine. He tied it together at the end by saying Canadians need to remember to protect individual freedoms. While this is an important message, I believe that Remembrance Day is actually about remembering Canadian sacrifice in war and peace. Canadians have served in both World Wars, the Korean War, and in peacekeeping operations in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Remembrance Day is the one day each year we can all put aside our political differences and be grateful of those that have gone before us.

Colin Wilkins, Sci ’11

Climate change

Re: “The climate crisis is now” (November 8, 2010)

Dear editors,

Climate change has the potential to be the worst environmental disaster ever faced by mankind.  It will exacerbate almost every issue we currently face as a society.  Rising global temperatures will not be felt evenly around the earth. In some areas it will increase the number and length of droughts, potentially causing severe freshwater shortages.  In other parts of the world it will cause massive floods and severe weather changes.

Climate change is an especially difficult environmental issue, as its effects aren’t very tangible.  You can’t say that one action (for example, driving your car) causes a specific consequence.  Carbon emissions are spread evenly over the entire atmosphere; therefore every person shares the responsibility.  The atmosphere doesn’t understand political boundaries.  While Canada may only make up one or two per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions, we are one of the highest per capita emitters.  In order to make it an international issue, we need to first deal with it at a national level.  The time to act is now.

Cassandra Cummings, ArtSci ’11

Climate alarmism

Re: “The climate crisis is now” (November 8, 2010)

Dear editors,

Do you want to help millions of human beings or the consciences of a few extremist environmentalists? In 2004, another group got together in the Danish capital: the Copenhagen Consensus.

A team of eight leading economists—four of whom were Nobel Prize winners—investigated the cost effectiveness of various proposals to help human welfare.

One of the proposals that the group looked at was fighting climate change. It turns out that, even using the extreme estimates provided by the International Panel on Climate Change, fighting climate change is one of the most ineffective ways of helping human welfare around the world.

If climate change alarmists really cared about humanity and humans they would be actively stumping for measures that are proven to help people and help them efficiently.

The Copenhagen Consensus identified, given constant expenditure, the way we could help the greatest number of people the most.

The best policies for helping people were preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria, investing in micro-nutrients for the poorest of the world and liberalising global trade.

But, then again, for many climate change activists, helping people is not the goal.

A variety of studies has shown that people feel better about themselves by supporting causes like global warming alarmism.

It’s time that people start looking at the facts of the situation and not at emotional pictures of polar bears.

In the words of the head of the Danish government’s ‘Environmental Assessment Institute’, Bjørn Lomborg: ‘Global warming is real—it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world’. Fighting it is not the best way to help humanity either.

Dan Osborne, ArtSci ’12
President, Queen’s Campus Libertarian Association

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