Monday, January 02, 2006

Less Sun, More Clouds, Our Doing

You learn interesting stuff on TVO. Did you know that we receive 15 % less sunlight now than we did 50 years ago, according to David Phillips? That means for every 100 days of sunlight 50 years ago, we now receive 85. That's 15 days -- or just over 2 weeks -- LESS sunlight. No wonder I've been thinking winters are cloudier.

I remember winters when parked cars got toasted, thick snow reflected the blinding sun, and our eyes permanently squinted against the glare while the sun warmed our backs, even while we were wearing several layers to ward off the biting cold air.

Now winters are cold cars and cloud cloud cloud cloud, sun peeking out from cloud, cloud cloud cloud. Might as well live in Vancouver.

David Phillips, Senior Climatologist at Environment Canada and weather guru to the TV news, said that pollution and greenhouse gases are mostly to blame. The sun's output really hasn't dropped enough to impact on the amount of sunlight we receive.
"God said to them. 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.' God said, 'See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.' " (Genesis 1:28-29)
Historically we have translated that gift from God as we have dominion over the earth and we can do whatever we want with it. For millennia, we were like the Liberals: act how we want when we want, knowing we could do so without impunity, ignoring the responsibility part of God's gift. There would be no repercussions -- for the Liberals on voting day, for us any day. But in the last century our actions have started having global repercussions. We're receiving less sunlight! Pollution throws up particulates into the air, obscuring the sun; greenhouse gases warm the planet up; and aerosols grow clouds.

So what are you going to do about it? Vote Liberal because they talk a good game, passionately arguing for the Kyoto Accord, while allowing emissions to balloon by 24%? Will you investigate what the other parties' platforms are and ask how will they get our sunlight back? Will you ask your candidate, "What will you DO, not talk about, but DO about our global dimming?"

I don't know about you, but if I wanted to live under clouds, I'd move to Vancouver. I want my sunny Toronto back!

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