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LETTER: High CO2 levels bring unwelcome consequences, Langley letter write stresses

An Aldergrove resident says he’s willing to pay now so future generations can live

Dear Editor,

On Dec 3, Mr. Seguin wrote that carbon dioxide is no the enemy and can even be beneficial. He pointed to points in earth’s history where CO2 had been much higher, and that plants need it for growth; nor are higher levels too toxic for human life.

However, in focusing on these narrow points, he neglects all the side-effects of CO2. Mr Seguin, you wrote that at one point earth had 10x our current CO2 levels (at 4000 ppm). My question to you is: would you actually want to live in the world like that?

For consideration, that 4000ppm was in the Cambrian period (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian), some 500 million years ago. The average surface temperature was seven degrees Celsius higher than what we experience today. For the majority of it, there was no polar ice or glaciers.

What would that look like? With no ice, that means the sea would rise by 65 to 68 metres (216 to 224 feet). Goodbye Richmond, most of Delta, Pitt Meadows, much of Coquitlam, downtown Vancouver, a good chunk of Maple Ridge, half of Abbotsford, all of Chilliwack that isn’t mountainous, all the way up to and including most of Hope. In Langley that would include Langley City, Walnut Grove, and Fort Langley. And of course, Brookswood and Fernridge.

To say nothing of the rest of Canada (good chunks of Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec to start).

And the climate? At seven degrees warmer, that would put us closer to Florida and Louisiana, with their nice tropical swamps, and the bugs and diseases that can come with it. Malaria, Zika, and others sound appealing? How about those tropical storms and hurricanes? We might also swing the other way if rain ceases and become a seaside desert.

Of course during the Cambrian period, the surface actually had minimal life. Only microbes and some snail-like creatures that ate them. Not exactly the fecundity of life you suggest.

How about food? I hope you don’t like fish. Most fish we eat here already doesn’t like the warm water (salmon, halibut, cod), let alone water that much warmer. Not to mention the acidification of the ocean caused by CO2. Much of the ocean could come to be dominated by jellyfish again (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-an-explosion-of-jellyfish-is-wreaking-havoc/)

Some food plants, like carrots and spinach, also prefer colder temperatures. How about B.C.’s famous blueberry crops? Fort Langley’s cranberry-fest? Would we need to make cold-house greenhouses? No potatoes means no potato chips. Of course no food plants do well in the desert if it goes that way as well. Irrigation would be next to impossible to maintain without glaciers; rivers and wells would be too contaminated with salt with higher sea levels.

Is that the world you would like to live in, Mr Seguin? Even partway that sounds like a catastrophe. I, for one am, willing to pay a bit more that we have a chance of avoiding that fate, including for my children and their descendents.

Trevor Nicklason, Aldergrove

• Read the Roland Seguin letter