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

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Northwest B.C. physician receives Medal of Good Citizenship Award

Dr. Peter Newbery was one of 18 people in B.C. to get provincial recognition

Northern Society for Domestic Peace remembers women killed in Montreal Massacre 30 years ago

Society will hand out 14 red roses, one for each of the victims, to women who stop by office today

Petition calls for appeal of Luke Strimbold’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says the former Burns Lake mayor’s case is under review

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Most Read