Dr. John Hollins, past chair Canadian Club of Rome wrote:
Re Tough Math: Accounting For Climate Change
(Re: Editorial, Jan. 2):
The Globe’s editorial reads: “The peril of climate change is recent.” Not as old as business itself, certainly, but what is actually recent is widespread appreciation of the peril.
Global warming derives from the invention in 1776 by James Watt of the first thermodynamically and economically efficient steam engine. French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier discovered in 1824 that the Earth’s atmosphere functions as a blanket. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius explained how. The pending peril of global warming has been understood by some for more than a century.
The need to reduce emissions in order to avoid catastrophic global warming was understood and accepted by the Mulroney government in 1988. In 1992, Brian Mulroney was the first to sign and ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Canada’s willpower on this issue, however, has been intermittent. What still is lacking is waypower. Governmental understanding is often limited to economic and political factors when the issue derives from the relentless evolution of technology.
Its resolution depends on understanding potential pathways to transform an energy system from its present state to a desired state. Canada has had access to energy systems analysis for three decades. It is time we put it to better use.
John Hollins Gloucester, Ont.
Globe and Mail, 2021 January 7, as published