Global warming stalled politically too

Gordon Campbell's "climate action" era is ending and gas is gearing up. Fire up the Learjets and cue the dancing polar bears

A protester from the Occupy Wall Street 'movements' is interviewed outside the United Nations in New York before a climate conference opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

VICTORIA – On most issues this column discusses, the feedback I receive is generally negative.

One exception has been human-caused climate change, where my mail runs three to one in favour of a skeptical approach. Most express relief at having someone question the exaggerated or false claims advanced by environmentalists who strive to paint Alberta and B.C. as home to uniquely evil climate crimes.

As mentioned last week, this is an urgent issue in B.C. as the government pushes to develop liquefied natural gas exports.

The B.C. Liberal approach to limit only the “intensity” of greenhouse gas emissions from LNG production, and make no commitment on the majority of emissions from upstream gas production, looks like the effective end of Gordon Campbell’s crusade to lead North America in “climate action.”

The government has also abandoned Campbell’s collapsed effort to set up a cap-and-trade system with various U.S. states to regulate emissions. Which brings me to a key reason for public skepticism.

Going back to Jean Chrétien’s lip service to the Kyoto Accord, the world-wide effort to rein in fossil fuel emissions has been a smog of hypocrisy, hollow promises and failed experiments.

The next grand climate summit is scheduled for Paris next summer, although the vast international green bureaucracy will first have to jet to Peru for a pre-summit summit in December. Expect dancing polar bears in the hot sun.

The European Union has just agreed to a Campbell-like new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent by 2030. But that’s dependent on the Paris summit reaching a legally binding international deal, something the United States remains unwilling to do. Meanwhile, Germany is building new coal-fired power plants.

In Ontario, a grandiose scheme to replace coal-fired power with wind, solar and other renewables has produced steeply rising electricity rates and a political scandal over a cancelled plan to build gas-fired capacity.

The public continues to be bombarded with ginned-up stories of environmental destruction. You may have seen shocking TV reports in October of a “haul-out” of thousands of walruses on beaches around the Chukchi Sea in Alaska and Russia, with animals trampling each other.

The World Wildlife Fund and U.S. biologists rushed to media to frame this as a crisis caused by a lack of sea ice.

This claim has been demolished by Susan Crockford, an evolutionary biologist who teaches at the University of Victoria. Her paper and brief video document a long, pre-industrial history of these events. She concludes that they are a sign of overpopulation in the now-protected walrus herds.

Crockford’s website debunks similar claims made about supposedly disappearing polar bears that have been a mainstay over the years to drive the global warming catastrophe narrative.

In terms of actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, there are signs of progress. The United States has made considerable strides, thanks to abundant shale gas that has allowed it to switch from some of its 600-odd coal-fired power plants.

Which brings us back to B.C.’s push for natural gas exports. The NDP claims to support this, but has spent hours in the legislature warning of a giveaway of the resource, imagined fracking disasters and LNG tanker explosions and everything else they can dream up to throw at it.

This is the same party that campaigned against the carbon tax in 2009 and hasn’t had a coherent energy policy since.

But this isn’t some partisan game. It’s about whether B.C. maintains its gas industry. And so far natural gas is the only thing that has substantially cut carbon emissions.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

WATCH: Brother of missing Hope woman makes emotional appeal for more media attention

Next search for Shawnee Inyallie Nov. 18 along Highway 1 towards Boston Bar

HATS invites Hope residents to talk about addiction in the midst of opioid overdose crisis

First talk happening Thursday, Nov. 15 at Blue Moose Coffee House

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

Chilliwack Cultural Centre seeks artists who work in a large format

Deadline Nov. 22 to submit work for Cultural Centre lobby display

Raise your spirits with the 44th annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The artsy festive market runs Nov. 16 to 18 at Chilliwack Heritage Park

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read