All is not well in the world just because stock markets are up – particularly when it comes to climate change

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In our world, “up” is usually associated with “good” while “down” is bad. Our moods fit this categorization; we might say “I’m on top of the world” when happy or “I’m in the pits” when feeling low. The phrases “I’m up” or “I’m down” need no further explanation.

The same goes for market reports. When the markets are up, the unstated message is that we should feel good; the economy is strong and things are looking up! When the market is not moving, well, tomorrow is another day, and there might be some market growth. When the market is down, that’s alarming. And when the market stays down, that is really not good at all.

But not everything that is up is good; cancer cells are stellar exemplars of growth, but when cancer is “up,” that’s not good for the patient. Some of us struggle with weight gain, and a rising number of pounds on the scale is not better. When interest rates are up, that’s great for those with money in the bank, but terrible if you’re paying off a large mortgage.

Is burning more carbon good?

A major issue in Canada right now relates to the growth of the oil and gas industry.

The world’s economy seems to be driven by the burning of carbon-based fuels, and Canada today seems to be divided on the issue of whether we should encourage the burning of carbon or discourage it. Our economy, some leaders tell us, is going to be down unless we put more carbon up into the atmosphere; burning more carbon will lift the economy and if we don’t, we’re heading for a depression.

However, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report notes that, due to the growth in the burning of fossil fuels:

“Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8C to 1.2C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate….”

Because we can’t see carbon dioxide, the continued use of the atmosphere as a cesspool is only revealed through daily monitoring, since the late 1950s, by the late Charles Keeling and his colleagues at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

All is not well in the world just because stock markets are up – particularly when it comes to climate change  It’s worth a daily reminder: When markets are up, the environment is down This article, written by Richard Kool , Royal Roads University , originally appeared […]

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