THE WEATHER MAKERS Australian climate change expert Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers: How We Are Changing The Planet And What It Means For Life On Earth, speaks at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, April 3), 7 pm. $25. www.rsgc.on.ca. Rating: NNNNN
What’s Canada’s role in making weather?
The Alberta oil sands are the Achilles heel of the Canadian approach to the environment. It’s a bit like cod in Newfoundland. The Canadian government allowed the whole fishery to collapse for what turned out to be illusory economic gain. If the same thing happens with the oil sands, it won’t be just a Canadian catastrophe, but a global one.
How do we get beyond this?
You need a great political leader to step up. Otherwise, we’re going to be in serious trouble. If Canada steps away from its commitments, what’s to stop other countries from following?
Despite dramatic high-seas protests, you argue that Japanese whaling is sustainable.
The number of minke whales being taken is small enough that it’s unlikely to have an impact. There’s this great outcry for a few killed whales, but at the same time krill stocks are in real danger – that’s the food whales depend on. Just look at it through a sustainability lens.
Is overfishing getting overlooked?
The global tuna fishery is on the edge now. About 90 per cent of world fish stocks are over-exploited. In the developed world we have the luxury of agitation on behalf of 900 whales, yet very few of us care about other sustainability issues.
What does this have to do with climate change?
One of the big threats to the krill stock is global warming. Ocean waters are warming. In the medium term, the greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere in Alberta are arguably a greater threat to whale stocks than Japanese whaling.
What’s your take on Earth Hour?
Very symbolic. But that’s okay. We all need symbols.