|Is This Really In the "National Interest"?|
On Friday, British Columbia logged no fewer than 140 new forest fires. That might be a record. Then again, climate change is bringing the world plenty of records. Worst ever this, worst ever that.
We had plenty of forest fires last year but the big focus was, of course, on the devastation of Fort McMurray.
We've known this was coming. Some reports warned of it 20 years ago. We caught up with our reading last year.
Over the past 30 years, human-caused climate change has nearly doubled the amount of forest area lost to wildfires in the western United States, a new study has found.
The result puts hard numbers to a growing hazard that experts say both Canada and the U.S. must prepare for as western forests across North America grow warmer and drier and increasingly spawn wildfires that cannot be contained.
“Climate change is playing a substantial role in the variability of fire activity… and we expect that to continue into the future. The question is how are people going to respond to that,” said John Abatzoglou, a climatologist at the University of Idaho and lead author of the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
At this point, Mr. Trudeau, the game has changed. You can't undo the warmer, drier conditions that have set in across the western US and Canada. Nobody's asking you to do that. What you can do though and what you are doing is to make the future worse than it otherwise need be. That, after all, is the inevitable result of your considerable efforts to ramp up the extraction and export of the world's highest carbon, filthiest and most toxic ersatz oil, bitumen.
It doesn't make any difference where that bitumen and the really nasty petcoke bonus it carries are burned. It's all one atmosphere. Burning that garbage in Asia gets back here in due course.
And, I know how annoying this is but you might also consider what these heightened greenhouse gas emissions are doing in other corners of the world, the poorest and most vulnerable countries, where climate change is already killing people through droughts and floods and famine and the wars these catastrophes sometimes trigger. You can't undo much of that but you can definitely make it worse.
And then there's our grandkids and perhaps their kids in turn. You can't undo much of the environmental hardship they'll have to cope with but you can definitely make it worse, perhaps nightmarish.
I know, the world is going to need hydrocarbon energy while we transition to clean energy alternatives. Sure. And, right now, the world is awash in oil and gas. So why don't we use the cleanest of these fuels, the products that create the lowest emissions? Better yet, why not take advantage of the surface carbon cycle and produce bio-oil and bio-gas?
Why bitumen? Surely bitumen is to climate change what asbestos is to mesothelioma. Some things should be left safely in the ground.