Here’s something you don’t read everyday: A Canadian Inuit activist who lives on an airplane says that global warming is violating her “right to be cold.”
“Inuit culture is based on the ice, the snow and the cold. It’s very foundation depends on the climate being cold … freezing cold,” Sheila Watt-Cloutier told the Ottawa Citizen in an interview about her book “The Right to be Cold.”
“Therefore when the conditions become precarious as a result of the melting, it becomes an issue of safety and security,” Watt-Cloutier added. “Then our right to culture, our right to educate our children on the land, our right to safety, our right to health all become impacted by these rapid changes. In essence our right to exist as Inuit as we know it is impacted.”
Watt-Cloutier argues that global warming is forcing her people to change their way of life, but is confident Inuits will be able to weather a warmer planet. She also says that fighting global warming will help everyone protect their rights to a healthy environment.
But the odd thing about Watt-Cloutier is that she lives on an airplane. She told the Times that “[l]iving on an airplane for a good part of this global work has taken much time” — lamenting that she has less time to walk through the hills and pick berries.
It’s not exactly clear how someone can have a right to being cold or even how such a right could even conceivably be guaranteed. The climate is constantly changing and has undergone warming and cooling cycles in the past. Indeed, the world was in a “Little Ice Age” until the mid-1800s.
Currently, most scientists argue the world is warming due to human emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for heating up the atmosphere. But even if mankind stopped emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow it would not stop warming for centuries, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
“Even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to suddenly stop, Earth’s surface temperature would not cool and return to the level in the pre-industrial era for thousands of years,” the NAS wrote in a joint publication with the UK’s Royal Society.
On the other hand, Watt-Cloutier may be in luck as some scientists have argued that declining solar activity will cause the Earth to enter another “mini” ice age. A German scientist recently wrote that the “stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998.”
“From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W / m², but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted,” the scientist wrote.
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