By Bruce Torrie
OTTAWA: In April, 1990, eight Standing Committees of the House of Commons convened an extraordinary hearing on Global Warming. This brought together many of the world’s leading scientists on global warming and ozone depletion, including leading Canadian government scientists. The papers that were presented are now available in a report, The Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming.
There are vast deposits of fossil methane frozen in the Arctic. Methane is 30 times as effective a greenhouse gas as CO2. If the methane is released by global warming it will likely substantially increase the rate at which the warming occurs. Wayne Evans, Canada’s leading expert on ozone depletion, thinks that it may be methane migrating to the stratosphere that activates the chlorine compounds (which are normally inert reservoir gases) to destroy the ozone. Apparently the methane decays in the stratosphere and produces H2O, which may then activate the chlorine compounds to destroy the ozone. If this is true, the release of the fossil methane spells disaster.
Recent information concerns the death of massive amounts of plankton in the southern oceans caused by the ozone depletion. In September, 1989, the "ozone hole" covered Australia, New Zealand and the tip of South America and ocean between those land masses and the pole. The hole was actually a 50% depletion of ozone. Some studies state that the fifteen times normal ultraviolet caused by this hole killed up to ninety percent of the plankton in that huge area of ocean.
Ninety percent by weight of life on earth is in the ocean and 10% is on land. Most of the plant life in the oceans is plankton. Plankton absorbs CO2 and then dies, sinking the CO2 to the ocean bottom. Plankton also produces oxygen. If ozone depletion increases, as is predicted, and the increased ultraviolet kills a lot of plankton, the speed of global warming will also increase.
Prior to this, the scientific community was predicting a 5°C increase in the earth’s temperature over the next 40 to 80 years. If the damage to marine and land based plants continues to worsen, it may increase 5°C over the next 20 years.
The proceedings of the Forum are FREE. Call the Clerk, Agricultural Committee, Christine Fisher, at (613) 992-3150. Also available:CFCs Deadly Releases from Clerk of the Committee, S. Knowles, at (613) 996-1559.
Bruce Torrie is a Vancouver lawyer and activist.
By Richard Sanders
ARMX, the most blatant manifestation of Canada’s involvement in the arms trade, is returning to the Ottawa area May 21-23 1991, in fine Orwellian tradition.
Delegations from governments violating human rights attend, as do those re-selling hardware to such countries. ARMX lets the largest U.S. nuclear weapons contractors shop for Canadian subcontractors. It also facilitates excessive Canadian military spending and glorifies machines of war.
Last year, because of the Coalilion to Oppose the Arms Trade’s campaign, Ottawa Council passed a resolution six weeks prior to ARMX ’89 banning all subsequent arms shows trom city property. ARMX organizers scrambled to find another site and finally announced this June that a "permanent" facility will be built in Carp, just west of Ottawa. "West Carleton Citizens Against Armx" has formed to build awareness and opposition among local residents.
Because ARMX is not only a local issue, but one with national and international dimensions, it is incumbent on us all to work against it. The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has expanded its efforts since ARMX ’89 by publishing Press For Conversion, a new magazine focusing on international conversion from military to socially useful and environmentally friendly production; COAT is now building toward events next spring which will include a Conversion Conference (May 18), an Interfaith Peace Service (May19) and a Mass Rally (May 20).
The generous support of social change activists across Canada is urgently needed to continue 10 oppose ARMX and offer alternatives to arms production. Please write to us for more detailed information about ARMX and COAT’s current campaign and ask peace/social change groups to which you belong to endorse our efforts. 489 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, K1S 3N7 (613)231-3076.