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MPs urged to read up on climate change

Jan 22 2012

An easy-to-read book explaining the basics of climate change has been sent to every Canadian MP by a Victoria book publisher.

Andrew Wooldridge, of Orca Book Publishers, became so incensed listening to politicians bickering over climate change, after Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, that he decided to send all 307 MPs copies of Generation Us - The Challenge of Global Warming.

The book, initially intended for "reluctant adult readers," is written by renowned University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver.

"It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things," Wooldridge said.

"I was watching Justin Trudeau call [Environment Minister] Peter Kent nasty names because he was so frustrated and it made me realize that part of the issue is lack of understanding and the other part is that the issue is so politicized you can't have a reasonable debate about it."

Climate change is a difficult concept to grasp, which is one of the reasons Orca, which is best known for publishing children's books, decided it was an ideal topic for one of its books aimed at adults struggling with literacy.

The book sets out the science of global warming and the effects in clear language and explains why humans must find a solution.

"It makes it accessible to a lot more people. If everyone would read it in the House of Commons and spend some time thinking about it, they might take it more seriously," Wooldridge said.

"I think they are in a difficult spot having to toe the party line and this can't hurt."

Wooldridge has heard back from two MPs so far, both New Democrats, and hopes that others will get down to some serious reading when they return to Ottawa from their Christmas break.

Weaver, who is among a group of scientists awarded the Nobel Prize for his climate change work, is delighted that his book is landing on the desks of politicians.

"It's 18,000 words and tests out at the grade 8.5 reading level," he said.

"It's very easy to read. You don't get caught in jargon and multisyllabic words."

However, it is also used in university classes and the book lays out the science without trying to change opinions, Weaver said.

"There is so much nonsense and rhetoric coming out purportedly as [climate change] science," he said.

"Science is not about rhetoric. There are no politics, no emotion, just a story about what it does and what we can do about it."

As an additional bonus for politicians, who might have to talk publicly about climate change, the book contains a glossary explaining confusing terms such as cap-and-trade, upstream and downstream.

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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