Friday, May 06, 2016

Psst, Justin. Here's an Idea.

Anything that happens almost every year is not a "disaster." It's a calamity of sorts. When it happens every year and we know it's sure to happen and we do nothing about it, it's not a disaster, it's a fuckup.

Rachel Notley, the NDP's wunderkind in Alberta, pared $15-million from this year's forest firefighting budget. That's a fuckup. Her BC counterpart, Christy Clark, has done the same - another fuckup.

But first prize, the blue ribbon, surely must go to our federal government that lavishes $34 billion each and every year (IMF figures) on the fossil energy giants by way of subsidies of all descriptions.

$34 billion a year just pissed away on the least productive economic sector in Canada. That's money that could be put to any number of other uses.

Here's an idea. How about, instead of handing that money to foreign energy giants, among the wealthiest companies on the planet, we invest some of it, say half, in Canada's aerospace industry. Canadians building Canadian-designed planes. How about these planes:

That, kids, is the legendary Canadair CL-415 waterbomber, the turbo-powered successor to the original, piston-powered CL-215, nicknamed the "SuperScooper." Everybody who can get their hands on them loves them, especially the Europeans.

I wonder how many squadrons, maybe wings, of 415s we could buy with $20 billion? Imagine being able to deploy them like a military unit to swarm a forest fire before it got totally out of control?

Here's what the 415 looks like at work, a complete cycle from empty to fully loaded to water on target.

If you're not familiar with the 415, this will fill you in.

It just keeps going back and back and back until it finally needs to refuel.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Liberals to polish their now tarnished reputation. We know the science. We know these fires are going to increase in frequency and severity. Fort Mac has proven what happens when we ignore reality.

The things only cost $37 million a pop and they last, like, forever. By some reckoning, Fort McMurray destruction could top $9 billion. You can buy a hell of a lot of water bombers for $9 billion. You can get 243 415s for 9 billion dollars. How does that stack up to $34 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies? It's peanuts, Justin, peanuts.


Steve said...

they would make good drones to patrol the borders as well

Northern PoV said...

Resistance is futile. Let it burn.

The fire is a symptom of our changing climate. In this case boreal forest is no longer sustainable. The same could happen to our 'rain forest' on the coast.

Fighting this (instead of ceasing emissions and attempting some low-tech agri-based carbon capture) is just pissin' in the wind. (And adding CO2.)

Perhaps 'carbon refugees' would be a better monniker than 'climate refugees' though both would be considered impolite by our chattering classes who prefer to ignore the 800 pound gorilla on the back of the elephant in the room.

The world hates our dilbit. An abandoned Fort McMurray (or a rebuild as a green energy center) would be a good outcome for this disaster.

Dana said...

You might find this interesting. Maybe little Xavier reads the New Yorker and can explain this article to his daddy.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Even though these planes look like they'd be awkward and clumsy, there is something elegant about them.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Dana. Thanks for the link. It's a good article that emphasizes what Justin and May's other critics refuse to acknowledge - the science. They've been warned for years now this is happening and it's getting worse and they've done nothing.

As for NPoV's "let it burn" suggestion, I don't agree. Here on the island we've been spared some terrible fires by quick response work of those Martin Mars water bombers. The important thing is always to get onto the fire quickly so that it can be first contained and then extinguished.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Pamela. Sure it's a bit slab-sided but anyone familiar with flying boats can see the graceful lines beneath that. It's a great airplane and Canada needs this sort of capacity. We have quite a few 215s and 415s, just not nearly enough.

It should be possible to design a multi-role successor to the 415 that would have
both water bomber and other needed capabilities for the off-fire season period.

We're told that we're going to need to expand ever northward during the balance of this century. It's time to begin meeting that challenge.

Anonymous said...

What are the odd s we will buy F35's first?