See­ing is be­liev­ing

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

By now, most peo­ple are aware that one of the most pow­er­ful coun­tries in the world - our neigh­bour to the south - is about to have a pres­i­dent who has ar­gued that cli­mate change doesn’t ex­ist, and is ac­tu­ally a fake is­sue man­u­fac­tured by the Chi­nese.

For­get sci­ence, for­get tem­per­a­ture num­bers, for­get any­thing that doesn’t suit your own sto­ry­line.

Even in this coun­try, we seem un­able to es­cape sim­i­lar ar­gu­ments. Faced with a new car­bon tax in an oil-de­pen­dent prov­ince, Al­berta has a good few cli­mate change de­niers too.

Wil­drose Party elec­tric­ity and re­new­ables critic Don MacIn­tyre re­peated the same old saw about cli­mate change as re­cently as Mon­day, say­ing, “the sci­ence isn’t set­tled.”

Well, maybe not for MacIn­tyre, Wil­drose or Trump. Oth­ers, though, are a lit­tle more prag­matic. At the Univer­sity of Missouri, the Missouri Fish and Wildlife Re­source Unit is hir­ing -spend­ing money on a new po­si­tion solely to deal with the im­pacts of global warming.

They want some­one with a PhD to: “1) Quan­tify the re­place­ment costs for mod­i­fi­ca­tions to North Amer­i­can in­land fish­eries from cli­mate change (e.g., fish­eries used for recre­ation and tribal sub­sis­tence). Pos­si­ble fac­tors in­clude: 1) an­glers switch­ing to other forms of recre­ation or to dif­fer­ent species, 2) rev­enue changes for towns or peo­ple that fo­cus on fish­ing, 3) changes in agency costs to raise/main­tain fish­eries through hatch­ery pro­duc­tion and stock­ing, and 4) en­vi­ron­men­tal costs to main­tain habi­tat for pre­ferred species.

“2) Help de­velop a global as­sess­ment on the ef­fects of cli­mate change on in­land fish and fish­eries ... tasks in­clude help­ing or­ga­nize meet­ings of global ex­perts to con­duct the global as­sess­ment. The se­lected can­di­date is also ex­pected to in­ter­act with state/pro­vin­cial and fed­eral agency bi­ol­o­gists, aca­demics, and NGOs from around the world.”

Seems like a waste of money for some­thing that a loud few claim doesn’t even ex­ist.

Truth is, for ev­ery­one ex­cept the po­lit­i­cal op­por­tunists and the di­nosaurs, the re­sults are now mea­sur­able and ob­vi­ous, and we’re mov­ing from warn­ings to at­tempts at mit­i­ga­tion.

Take the fish­ery: the New York Times pointed out Tues­day that fish­eries man­age­ment regimes are go­ing to have to change, sim­ply be­cause changes in tem­per­a­ture are mov­ing fish out of tra­di­tional fish­ing ar­eas faster that man­agers can re­act.

Here’s Tom Nies, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New Eng­land Fish­eries Man­age­ment Coun­cil: “I would be sur­prised if you find very many fish­er­men who will tell you that cli­mate change is not hap­pen­ing,” he said. “I think there’s a clear recog­ni­tion from ev­ery­body that this is a prob­lem, and a lot of peo­ple are work­ing on how to ad­dress it.”

Fish­er­men along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. have seen two-thirds of mobile species move north to cooler wa­ters, in­clud­ing lobster, whit­ing, black sea bass, scup, yel­low­tail floun­der, mack­erel, her­ring and monk­fish.

But no - keep on yelling that noth­ing’s hap­pen­ing at all.

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