Open Letter to Members of the 41st Parliament Demanding Urgent Action on Climate Change

Members of Canada’s university community are increasingly alarmed by governments’ inattention and inaction with regard to climate change. It is more than time to face the ominous facts.

The scientific consensus is clear. The human-caused injection of fossil carbon into the atmosphere is increasing greenhouse gas concentration at a geologically unprecedented rate, unabated by recent intergovernmental arrangements.

The trapped excess thermal energy is driving atmospheric and ocean warming and increasingly chaotic weather and climate changes. The melting of snow, ice, and permafrost is proceeding at an unanticipated pace. The destruction of ice cover aggravates the warming in a dangerous feedback, as reflectivity is reduced and as trapped methane is released to the atmosphere.

This disruption of the complex system of water and carbon cycles is already felt in increased drought and desertification, flooding, fires, and coastal inundation and salination. This means that greenhouse gas emissions not only must be reduced –as has been generally conceded– but that the cutbacks cannot be postponed for decades, and cannot be made a little at a time. It is analogous to a patient with a fever: at some point even a very small temperature increase causes entire organ system collapse. We now see accelerating habitat and ecosystem loss, water and food insecurity, forced migration, and premature death. The damage which has been repeatedly predicted as a future danger is now upon us.

Yet nations and businesses are racing headlong in the wrong direction.

Instead of taking even the first step of reducing emissions 5.2% below 1990 levels as agreed upon at Kyoto, they have let global emissions go more than 30% above 1990 levels.

  • Instead of holding greenhouse gas concentration to 350 parts per million as specified by the world’s climate scientists, they have let the level rise to 392 ppm, headed for minimally 450 ppm within decades under current business-as-usual.
  • Instead of viewing the disappearance of Arctic sea ice with alarm, business and political leaders are intent on increasing emissions through offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
  • Instead of preserving forest carbon sinks and protecting dwindling water supply (from rivers and aquifers) for agriculture, they are destroying these resources by exploitation of the tar sands.

It is especially grotesque that when life is endangered, death should be given priority: the military is entirely exempt under the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. armed forces constitute the largest single consumer of oil in the world, using one quarter of the world’s jet fuel. In the first three weeks of “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, they burned 40 million gallons of fuel, as much as was used in all of World War I.

The carbon-reliant economy is destroying the planet as a habitable environment. The world must move beyond this system, now.


Ursula M. Franklin, Univ. Prof emerita, Massey College
Liisa L. North, York University
Derek Paul, University of Toronto (Professor Emeritus)
Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta and McMaster University
John Valleau, Chemistry, University of Toronto
David Donaldson, University of British Columbia
Paul Antze, Department of Social Science, York University
Miriam Diamond, University of Toronto
Pieter Basedow, Science for Peace, University of Toronto
Louis Marchildon, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres
Harry Elsholtz, University of Toronto
Nchamah Miller, Instituto de Filosfia, La Habana
James Robert Brown, U of Toronto
Brydon Gombay, Science for Peace, Doctorate from University of Toronto
Geoffrey Carre, Cape Breton University
Richard Collier, Mount Royal University (ret)
Margaret Roberts, Mount Royal University
Ray Morris, York University
Ian Hacking, U of Toronto
Louis and Rosalind Lefeber, York and McMaster Universities
Chandler Davis, University of Toronto
Dieter Misgeld, University of Toronto
Prof. Malcolm Blincow, Dept. of Anthropology, York University
Larry Hannant, University of Victoria and Camosun College
Dan A Morrison, Carleton
Judith Baker, Glendon College, York University
Jacqueline Medalye, York University
Bruna Nota, post graduate
Diana Abraham, York University
Andrew Clement, University of Toronto
Tomas Kojar, University of Toronto
Margrit Eichler, University of Toronto
Brad Hornick, Simon Fraser University
Emily Porth, York University
Timothy Leduc, York University, Assistant Professor
James Nugent, University of Toronto, Department of Geography
Janis Langins, University of Toronto
Judith Deutsch, University of Toronto (Science for Peace)
Sharon Zvonar, SFU
Robert Stupka, U of Toronto
Eva Kushner, University of Toronto
Dr James Deutsch, Medicine, University of Toronto
Peter Flood, University of Saskatchewan
Joanna Santa Barbara, McMaster University
Adam Hitchcock, McMaster University
David Hitchcock, McMaster University
Martin Muldoon, York University
Donald Carveth, York University, Glendon College
Ellen Flanders, York University
David Burman, University of Toronto
Lisa Jeffrey, CMS, UTSC
Eshrat Erfanian, York University
Phyllis Creighton, Trinity College, University of Toronto
Masrour Zoghi, UBC
Brenda Longfellow, York University
Elizabeth Hellreich, University of Toronto
John Sharkey, Guelph Univeristy
Ralph Martin, Nova Scotia Agricultural College
David Leadbeater, Laurentian University
Boyd Richards, Ph.D., University of New Brunswick (retired)
Richard Fung, OCAD University
John Gilbart, Mc Master, U. of Western Ontario
Troy David Ouellette, York University
b.h. Yael, Professor, OCAD University
Johanna Householder, OCAD University
Kari Brozowski, Wilfrid Laurier University
Alan Slavin, Trent University, Physics and Astronomy
Henry A. Becker, Queen’s University
Bill Atkinson, Trent University
David Patton, Trent University
J. Mark Parnis, Chemistry Department, Trent University
Brenda L. Gallie, University of Toronto
Eddy Be, Ryerson
Margot Francis, Brock University
Bryn Ludlow, McMaster University
David Shafir, York University
David DiFrancesco, Ryerson University
Warren Bell BA MD CM, UBC (clinical teaching staff)
Marion Dove, McGill University
Jane Helleiner, Brock University
Ronald Shirtliff, Ryerson, retired, Emeritus
Rebecca Raby, Brock University
Dr. Tim-Rasmus Kiehl, University of Toronto
Chris Milburn, Dalhousie
Norman Cheadle, Laurentian University
Meyer Brownstone, University of Toronto (emeritus)
Rejean Quesnelle, University of Ottawa
Carole Roy, St. Francis Xavier University
Dr. Janet Ray, University of Victoria
James Heilman, UBC and U of S
Dr Jonathan Down, University of Victoria
Jik Neff, McMaster
Dr Ian Simpson, clinical associate prof family medicine ( retired )
Johann Beda, Trent university
Mary-Beth Raddon, Brock University
Marie-Claude Gregoire, Dalhousie University
Jean Zigby, McGill University
Peter Fitting, University of Toronto
Elizabeth Guptill, MD, Dalhousie Med School resident preceptor
Douglas Franks, Nipissing University
Carissa Weiler, Nipissing University
Dr. Colleen Franklin, Laurentian University
Beth Savan, University of Toronto
Pieter J. Jugovic, University of Toronto
Madhur Anand, University of Guelph
Professor Emeritus, William Graham, University of Toronto
Terry Campbell, Nipissing University
Joey Power, Ryerson University
Larry Patriquin, Nipissing University
Larry Patriquin, Nipissing University
Dr. Joanne Valin, Nipissing University
Ann McDougall, University of Alberta
Theo Hofmann, U.of Toronto Professor Emeritus
Andre Gombay, University of Toronto
Carla Wong, University of Toronto
Frank Mcmahon, Professor emeritus, University of Alberta
Bernd Baldus, University of Toronto
s. Lawrence, University of British Columbia
Kathleen Kevany, St. Francis Xavier University
Julia Hart, University of Victoria
Joe Vipond, University of Calgary
Dewan Shuaib Afzal, Dhaka University
Heather Murray, Professor, University of Toronto
Jo Hayward-Haines, University of Toronto
Robert Korol, McMaster University
David Burman, University of Toronto
Brian C. Wilson, Acadia University
Rogerio Bernardes, Nipissing University
George B. Spiegelman, University of British Columbia
Lawrence Schmidt, University of Toronto
marjorie griffin cohen, Simon Fraser University
Dina Georgis, University of Toronto
Astrid Steele, Nipissing University
Sue Korol, Cape Breton University
Elizabeth Lange, Assistant Professor, St. Francis Xavier
Judy Haiven, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS
Veronica Dahl, Simon Fraser University
Dr. Alan Brain, Langara College, Vancouver
Therry Jackson, OHSU
Al Stauffer, York University
Ellen Dyer, University of Toronto
Edward Andrew, University of Toronto
Colin L Soskolne, University of Alberta, School of Public Health
Stephen Bocking, Trent University
Ali Abbas Ahmadi, University of Toronto
Professor Floyd Rudmin, University of Tromso (Norway)
Douglas Alton, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Michelle Shahoud, University of Toronto
Stephen Hill, Trent University
Edward Barbeau, University of Toronto
Rachel York-Bridgers, OISE / UofT
Chester Sadowski, York University
Helga Guderley, Université Laval
Carol Schwartz, University of Toronto
Sarah Gayman, Alumni University of Toronto
Joseph Vise, University of Toronto Physics Dept
Ivar Ekeland, FRSC, University of British Columbia
Gordon Doctorow, Nova Southeastern University
Eileen Smith-Piovesan, Cape Breton University
Marcy MacKinnon, Cape Breton University
Sue MacKenzie, Cape Breton University
Patricia McCann, Summer Student Researcher & Project Coordinator
Cathy Chisholm, Cape Breton University
John Doue, Cape Breton University
Colleen Keough, Finance Office Clerk
Sheila Profit, Cape Breton University
Mary Keating, Cape Breton University
Martin Moy, Cape Breton University
Denise Forgeron, Cape Breton University
Andrew Molloy, Cape Breton University
Marie MacSween, Cape Breton University
Geoffrey Lee-Dadswell, Cape Breton University
Rachel Baker, Cape Breton University
Kathryn MacIntosh, Cape Breton University
Douglass L. Grant, Cape Breton University
Danny Yakimchuk, Cape Breton University
James Gerrie, Cape Breton University
Joseph M. Parish, Cape Breton University
Jill McPherson, Employee – High School Liaison Officer
Nathan Deutsch, University of Manitoba
Nicholas Sobol, Library Technition
Lee-Anne Broadhead, Cape Breton University
Heather Schmidt, Cape Breton University
Anne Marie MacNeil, Cape Breton University
Andrew Reynolds, Cape Breton University
Heather Sparling, Cape Breton University
Yuliya Knyahnytska, University of Toronto
Chris McDonald, Cape Breton University
John McMurtry, Professor, University of Guelph

Affiliations for identification only

See Science for Peace Press Release from June 1, 2011

Open Letter on Climate Change to the Government of Canada, December 2009 by Science for Peace