Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Canadian Exceptionalism

There are some 180 countries but Canada is one of just three.  We are rated one of three countries "least likely" to meet our GHG emissions targets. Way to go, Canada.

The G20 nations account for 85 per cent of global economic activity and in 2018 produced 80 per cent of all greenhouse-gas emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and trap heat. 
The [Climate Transparency] report says about half the G20 members – 19 countries with advanced economies plus the European Union collectively – are on track to meet their current targets for cutting emissions by 2030 but those targets are much too mild. If every G20 member does not drastically scale up its targets, the G20 overall will produce more emissions in 2030 than it does today, Climate Transparency said. 
Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest from meeting targets to cut emissions in line with their Paris Agreement commitments, but those commitments are nowhere close to enough, the report says. Canada’s per-capita emissions, the greenhouse gases it releases divided by the number of people who live here, are the second highest in the G20, behind only Australia.
Of course, promises are always relative. If Canada was already a low emitter - as our government claims - it really wouldn't matter much if we didn't come through with our promises.

But Canada isn't a low emitter. We're a big emitter. We're in the top ten for overall emissions and, once the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline, comes on stream we're expected to leap two, maybe three spots on that ranking. Speaking of threes, we're also in the top three for per capita emissions.

We see cutting emissions as a mortal threat to our economy and, in Canada, the economy shall always trump the global environment, the climate emergency proclamation notwithstanding.

Oh yeah, one other thing. The "targets" we're expected to miss - badly? Those were set by Stephen Harper.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

What's Going On In Our Waters? The Coastal Climate Crisis.

Until a couple of years ago coastal British Columbia had masses of purple starfish. Then something wiped them out.
Sea star wasting disease hit hard and fast. The disease arrived on the central coast of British Columbia in 2015 and rapidly killed 96 percent of the sunflower sea stars in the region. The disease exacted a similar toll on a range of other sea star species along the northeast Pacific coast. Jenn Burt, a doctoral candidate at Simon Fraser University and a Hakai Institute scholar,* was shocked by the carnage she witnessed. 
“When we showed up in the summer of 2015 to do our annual surveys, there were melted sea stars everywhere,” says Burt. “You would be literally swimming on a transect line and you’d come across single sea star arms.”
...Sea otters selectively hunt the largest sea urchins. Sea stars, however, go after the small and medium ones. In the absence of sea stars, Burt saw a proliferation of smaller urchins. These urchins, now unrestrained by predation, ate away at the kelp. As a result, the kelp forests suffered. With the SSWD epidemic, the annual survival rate of small and medium sea urchins increased by 166 percent. The density of affected kelp forests, meanwhile, declined by 30 percent.

It has been reported in recent months that Vancouver Island's kelp forests are coming under attack by massive numbers of urchins.
Tens of millions of voracious purple sea urchins that have already chomped their way through towering underwater kelp forests in California are spreading north to Oregon, sending the delicate marine ecosystem off the shore into such disarray that other critical species are starving to death. It's similar to what has been reported in B.C
A recent count found 350 million purple sea urchins on one Oregon reef alone — a more than 10,000 per cent increase since 2014. And in northern California, 90 per cent of the giant bull kelp forests have been devoured by the urchins, perhaps never to return. 
Vast "urchin barrens" — stretches of denuded seafloor dotted with nothing but hundreds of the spiny orbs — have spread to coastal Oregon, where kelp forests were once so thick it was impossible to navigate some areas by boat.
Now the climate crisis is believed to be the main cause of a deadly virus sweeping through sea mammals - sea lions, seals and otters - in the North Pacific.

A lethal virus that killed tens of thousands of harbor seals in the northern Atlantic in 2002 suddenly spread to sea lions, seals and otters in the northern Pacific Ocean two years later, confusing scientists, as NBC News reported
How could the pathogen that causes a measles-like disease in marine mammals that had only been found on the Atlantic coasts suddenly have spread to the Pacific? 
"We didn't understand how a virus from the Atlantic ended up in these sea otters. It's not a species that ranges widely," said Tracey Goldstein, a scientist at the University of California Davis who investigates how pathogens move through marine ecosystems, as National Geographic reported
Goldstein and her colleagues looked at 15 years of data and realized that the spike in the virus was commensurate with Arctic sea ice loss. The data, published in a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, finds that the loss of Arctic sea ice allowed otters and other mammals to move west and spread the virus. The study shows that global heating is opening new avenues for diseases to spread, as National Geographic reported. 
"The loss of sea ice is leading marine wildlife to seek and forage in new habitats and removing that physical barrier, allowing for new pathways for them to move," said Goldstein in a press release. "As animals move and come in contact with other species, they carry opportunities to introduce and transmit new infectious disease, with potentially devastating impacts."
The devastation of local otter populations and the starfish could explain the attack by urchins on our kelp forests. Otters feed on the urchins, keeping their populations under control and thereby safeguarding the kelp from their main predator.

This past week the New York Times reported on a contagious form of cancer attacking shellfish. The article claims the cancer is believed to have originated in bay mussels from British Columbia.  This cancer virus has now been found in mussels and clams in South America and in blue mussels in France. No one seems to know how this ends, what's next. All I know is that the federal Pacific headquarters of Fisheries and Oceans is in no rush to return my calls.

So what is Mr. Trudeau's Liberal government doing about this? Apparently nothing beyond squabbling with a gaggle of dryland premiers about a hopelessly gestural carbon tax as he falls even further behind meeting Stephen Harper's emissions targets.

We know salmon stocks are in decline. We know the orca can't find enough food and are at risk. Ottawa's response - let's build a new pipeline and launch an armada of supertankers onto the BC coast.

The study adds to a growing body of research signaling trouble for marine mammals, including an increase in marine heat waves that deplete their food supply and an increase in toxic algal blooms that can infect fish with a toxin that causes brain damage in marine mammals, as NBC News reported. 
"When we see these changes happening in animals, we can't ignore them, because the impacts on people and the planet are not far behind," said Elizabeth VanWormer, the study's lead author, as NBC News reported. "This shows how interconnected these things are — the health of people, animals and the planet."
Starfish, mussels, clams, otters, seals and sea lions all form links in the marine ecosystem. That ecosystem is now breaking down. No one knows how this ends.

This is coming on hard and fast and Ottawa is asleep at the switch. The message is clear. When climate change comes hammering on your door, you are on your own.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

The Brits Banned Fracking. Not Ottawa, And It's Ruining the Atmosphere.

A study out of Cornell has found that the fracking boom in the US and Canada is the chief culprit in the large spike in atmospheric methane levels.

Professor Robert Howarth examined hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over the past several decades, noting the fracking boom that has taken place since the first years of the 21st century. Between 2005 and 2015, fracking went from producing 31 billion cubic meters of shale gas per year to producing 435 billion cubic meters. 
Nearly 90 percent of that fracking took place in the U.S., while about 10 percent was done in Canada.
...In addition to being the second-biggest contributor to the climate crisis after carbon dioxide, methane has been known to cause and exacerbate health issues for people who live in areas where large amounts of the gas is present in the environment. 
Chest pains, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma can all be caused or worsened by high levels of methane. The process of fracking has also been linked to pollution in drinking water.
Of course these are treated as "fugitive emissions" and therefore kept off Canada's emissions books. The Trudeau government is a big fan of LNG.  So too is our NDP government.

Yeah, A Tanker-Free Zone. Except When Ottawa Says Otherwise.

Ottawa needs to leave the safety of the west coast to the grownups. Ottawa's department of fisheries and oceans seems intent on wreaking as much havoc in the Pacific as it caused the eastern provinces when their once fabled cod stocks collapsed.

Out this way, DFO seems to work for the commercial fishing fleet. Maybe it's just the Trudeau government. Doesn't matter. They approve fish farms that spread disease into the wild salmon stocks. They allow overfishing of the coastal herring that feed the wild salmon. Salmon stocks are in decline. DFO looks the other way and the commercial fleet has at them. The orca are starving from the lack of salmon. Now we have to learn from the New York Times that some species of shellfish out here have developed a contagious form of cancer.
Call DFO, they don't even return their messages.

Ottawa promised a tanker free zone along the north coast. Except for the exceptions.

10,000 Ton Texas Tanker traveling the B.C. Coast from Ingmar Lee on Vimeo.

When "Worst Case" Becomes Your New Normal

How did scientists get climate change so wrong? The question is asked in today's New York Times. Things are happening today that just ten or fifteen years ago scientists were warning might - worst case scenario - but just might happen by the end of this century if we didn't change our ways.
Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the Arctic and produce Sahara-like temperatures in Paris and Berlin, the prediction would have been dismissed as alarmist. But many worst-case scenarios from that time are now realities.

...A recent essay in Scientific American argued that scientists “tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold” and said one of the reasons was “the perceived need for consensus.” This has had severe consequences, diluting what should have been a sense of urgency and vastly understating the looming costs of adaptation and dislocation as the planet continues to warm.
The NYT article sets out a litany of bad calls, stretching from one pole to the other and everything in between. Even as the powerful denounced them as "alarmists," the scientific community continued to grievously err on the side of understatement, bordering on unfounded optimism.

The harm they caused by refusing to speak candidly, truthfully, is that they provided the cover the political caste needed to do as little as possible to thwart or adapt to severe climate change impacts.

 Our own prime minister is still working off targets set by Stephen Harper and we're not even on course to meet those. Canadians I meet don't know that Canada with our minuscule 0.5 per cent of the global population is in the Top Ten overall greenhouse gas emitters. They don't know we're in the Top Three per capita emitters. When the feds get the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline operational, Canada is expected to move up three spots on the Top Ten list.

When a nation with barely one half of one per cent of the global population makes it into the Top Ten overall greenhouse gas emitters, worse than 170 other countries, and your government says it doesn't matter, we're small potatoes, what we do doesn't matter, then what anybody, any nation does really doesn't matter, does it?
If the Trump administration has its way, even the revised worst-case scenarios may turn out to be too rosy. In late August, the administration announced a plan to roll back regulations intended to limit methane emissions resulting from oil and gas exploration, despite opposition from some of the largest companies subject to those regulations. More recently, its actions approached the surreal as the Justice Department opened an antitrust investigationinto those auto companies that have agreed in principle to abide by higher gas mileage standards required by California. The administration also formally revoked a waiver allowing California to set stricter limits on tailpipe emissions than the federal government. 
Even if scientists end up having lowballed their latest assessments of the consequences of the greenhouse gases we continue to emit into the atmosphere, their predictions are dire enough. But the Trump administration has made its posture toward climate change abundantly clear: Bring it on! 
It’s already here. And it is going to get worse. A lot worse.

Friday, November 08, 2019

You Feelin' Like You Need a Laugh?

When I "cut the cable" I lost my connection to CBC's 22 Minutes. I still haven't worked out what to do with that but I have reconnected with 22 Minutes. The satire is pretty awesome, enough to make any Canuck proud. Here, a few.

No harm meant, Maxime. Maybe a bit.

Then, for your nightcap, this. I think it will outlive us all.

Has DFO Screwed Up Again?

Have BC mussels developed a form of contagious cancer?

The New York Times is reporting on research out of Columbia University that traced the cancer back to Bay mussels from British Columbia and has since spread to shellfish in South America and Europe.

Humans have spread a contagious form of cancer around the world. 
Researchers reported on Tuesday that the cancer, which invades mussels, has spread across the Equator. Originating in one species in the Northern Hemisphere, the cancer has established itself in another species in the Southern Hemisphere
“There’s no natural explanation for how that happened without human help,” said Michael Metzger, a biologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle and a co-author of the report, published in the journal eLife.
While working as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, Dr. Metzger discovered that four species of shellfish — including soft-shell clams and bay mussels — had transmissible cancers of their own. It was the first time anyone had discovered contagious cancer in aquatic animals.

Dr. Metzger and his colleagues suspect that sick shellfish release cancer cells. The cells float along the currents until they are sucked up by healthy animals as they filter seawater for food. In one case, the researchers found, the cancer cells had moved from one species of shellfish into another. 
Nicolas Bierne, a geneticist at the University of Montpellier in France who studies blue mussels, realized that this finding perhaps held the solution to a mystery that he had been struggling with. 
Analyzing the DNA from blue mussels in France, he and his colleagues had discovered some genetic markers that looked as if they belonged to another species: bay mussels. He might have expected such a result if these species interbred — but bay mussels don’t even live in French waters.
Being fond of our local shellfish I called the seafood shop at the nearby fishing port. They've heard nothing. Seeking assurance I then called the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans at their Vancouver headquarters. Those who read this blog know the esteem in which I hold DFO.

The fellow I spoke with had heard nothing about it but he put me on to someone else's voicemail. I'm not holding my breath while I await their callback.

If this is a health hazard that DFO has overlooked that could be the final straw. It's time that British Columbia put an end to Ottawa's incompetence and reclaimed jurisdiction over our own fisheries.

Bolton Wants to Spill His Guts on Trump?

Former Trump national security advisor and bellicose neoconservative may be ready to turn on his former boss.

The New York Times reports that John Bolton's lawyer says his client is ready to sing and has a lot to say.
John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, has knowledge of “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators do not yet know about, his lawyer told lawmakers on Friday. 
The lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, made that tantalizing point in a letter to the chief House lawyer in response to House committee chairmen who have sought Mr. Bolton’s testimony in their impeachment proceedings but expressed unwillingness to go to court to get an order compelling it.
...Mr. Bolton did not show up for a deposition scheduled on Thursday because, his lawyer said, he wants a judge to determine whether he or his former deputy, Charles M. Kupperman, should testify in defiance of the White House. In effect, Mr. Bolton and Mr. Kupperman are asking for a court ruling on competing demands by the executive branch, which does not want them to testify, and the legislative branch, which does.

And Now, a Word From Britain's Ministry of Defence

From time to time this blog refers to research papers on climate change released by the Pentagon and Britain's Ministry of Defence.

The Brits recently released the sixth edition of their "Global Strategic Trends: the future starts today."

It's not pleasant reading, it's not entertaining. The central theme is, "the rate of change and level of uncertainty may outpace good governance and unity”. Run that through your mind - two or three times. Given what's transpired over the past ten years, it's hardly implausible.

Like most papers, "the future starts today" is fashioned for a particular target audience. Like most papers I link to I don't expect many will have the time to read it. Fortunately, in this case, there's a YouTube video to accompany the report suitably watered down so as not to distress the general audience.

Earlier this month, the US Center for Climate and Security released its latest overview of the Pentagon's position and preparedness, "Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: Jan 2017- Oct 2019."  It lists 35 senior Defense Department officials who have "publicly raised concerns" about climate change. Quite a list:

This includes then-Secretary of Defense, James Mattis; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva; Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer; Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), Lucian L. Niemeyer; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy, and the Environment, Phyllis L. Bayer; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, John Henderson; Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Glenn Walters; Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran; Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Stephen Wilson; Army Vice Chief of Staff, General James McConville; AFRICOM Commander General Thomas D. Waldhauser; Air Force Director of Civil Engineers, Major General Timothy Green; NORTHCOM/ NORAD Commander, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Alex Beehler; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, General Robert McMahon; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford; Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller; Commander of Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), Admiral Philip Davidson; Commander of United States European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti; Commander of United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), General Stephen R. Lyons; Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General David L. Goldfein; Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Heather A. Wilson; Commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Thomas Waldhauser; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran; the nominee for Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General David Berger, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper; Army Chief of Staff, General Mark A. Milley; Senior Naval Intelligence Manager Mr. Jeff Ringhausen; Commander ​of Air Combat Command, General Mike “Mobile” Holmes; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, Hon Robert McMahon; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy, and Hon John Henderson; and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, Hon Alex Beehler.
I'm not going to go through all that stuff. I only add it in for the one or two of you who might want to go exploring.

Trudeau Pipeline Gets Pushback in Washington

A group of climate activists in southern Washington are blocking the delivery of pipe from India destined for the construction of the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline.
Young activists interrupted the delivery of a controversial pipeline to a port in southern Washington at daybreak on Tuesday, once again taking the lead in the climate fight. 
Tuesday’s protest by Portland Rising Tide was part of a continuing effort to disrupt the opening of project that expands a pipeline running from Edmonton, Alberta, to the coast of British Columbia and would open export markets to hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands. 
Climbers flanked by kayaks chained themselves to a pier on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, intending to intercept the delivery of pipe manufactured in India for the project.
Pipe from India? I wonder if India supplied the pipe for the new Keystone XL pipeline that ruptured in North Dakota, spilling 1.4 million litres of diluted bitumen.

Depicted is pipe now stored in Kamloops soon to be aimed at the British Columbia coast.

A "Century of Revolution and Chaos"

When we entered the 21st century a few history types predicted we were embarked on a century of revolution and chaos. They suggested that our traditional institutions and modes of organization would fail us and, in some places, they would be overthrown. It seems those predictions of 20 years ago are coming to pass.

In many ways, the unusual moment we are experiencing today resembles the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when interlinked political-economic crises and social revolts and revolutions completely transformed our world. Many of the democratic rights and liberties that we see as essential today – including universal voting rights, the 8-hour working day, rights to divorce, unionize or national self-determination – have their roots in the social revolts and revolutions of the early twentieth century. 
Recent studies on social movements and revolutions highlight very interesting similarities between these two periods. Mark Beissinger at Princeton University, for instance, found that the number of revolutionary situations between 2010-2014 are almost equal to the 1915-1919 period. At the Arrighi Center for Global Studies at Johns Hopkins University, my colleagues and I also found that the frequency and geographical spread of social protests around the world since 2010 is exceptionally high, making the current moment comparable to the period of world revolutions of 1905 and 1917-1919.
...Setting aside prospects about revolutions, even the utopianism of the 19th century socialists (e.g. those of Owenites, Saint-Simonians, Fourierists) has vanished from the political imagination of the Global Left. It seems that efforts aiming at re-establishing the mid-20th century welfare states — which had provided some security to parts of the working class population in Global North at the expense of exclusion of billions of people in the Global South — has replaced both the utopian and revolutionary visions. That is why today it is much easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism and the existing world political order.
So far the affluence of the developed world has averted any significant social unrest much less revolution. Yet it's hard to see tranquility ahead as the full brunt of the climate crisis reaches our borders. Climate research predicts this will begin in the coming decade in tropical zones and it will have an  immediate ripple effect across the temperate north and the south. The massive migration of marine life - fish, marine mammals and seabirds - ever poleward is our bellweather. We will not escape what they flee from.

In my readings for this post  I stumbled across a study in LiveScience that contends America has a 50-year revolutionary cycle and the next event is due around 2020.
Circa 1870, the North fought the South in the Civil War. Half a century later, around 1920, worker unrest, racial tensions and anti-Communist sentiment caused another nationwide upsurge of violence. Then, 50 years later, the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement triggered a third peak in violent political, social and racial conflict. Fifty years after that will be 2020. If history continues to repeat itself, we can expect a violent upheaval in the United States in a few years. 
It sounds like pseudoscience, but it's a published theory. "My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970 because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time," said Peter Turchin, an ecologist, evolutionary biologist and mathematician at the University of Connecticut.
I have some difficulty with this theory but, hey, I'm no ecologist, evolutionary biologist or mathematician. And it does seem to echo the warnings of some, such as Chris Hedges, who contend that America is now simmering in a pre-revolutionary state. Then again, how many once relatively cohesive societies are not, today, deeply riven? How many have not succumbed to something vaguely resembling tribalism, camps that are inherently suspicious and hostile toward each other? Where drawbridges are pulled up, the portcullis lowered, as we focus on not what unites us but everything that divides us?

In a comment yesterday on another blog, Northern Reflections, I suggested that these deeply divided societies, such as America's, operate like an open wound that leaves the state undefended against viral infection, Donald Trump being a perfect example. The virus enters the bloodstream, sepsis sets in and, unless promptly and forcefully treated, death ensues.

America is riven. Its government is detached from its people. Political capture begat regulatory capture and now, with Trump at the helm, even judicial capture is in place. The 2014 Princeton study by Gilens and Page documents how America's 'bought and paid for' Congress routinely favours special interests when they clash with the public interests. Professors Gilens and Page concluded there was no doubt that the US had ceased to be a democracy and had, instead, become an oligarchy.

Political capture meant that regulated industries could stack regulating boards and bodies with their own representatives, giving them direct control over some vital governmental powers. What started with establishing influence progressed into control of some powerful bodies. 
Throwing Trump out of office is not going to remedy these ills. They existed before he decided to seek the Republican nomination. It's no surprise that the private interest influence and control has consolidated under Trump's administration.

The public is acrimoniously divided to the point where it is sometimes too distracted to object. Trump's people hear his harangues against the "deep state" when the real alternative government is right before their eyes in the capture of political and regulatory power.
These are the conditions that attack the immune system of liberal democracies that, around the world, are in retreat and, in some cases, succumbing to authoritarian rule.

Show Us Your Science, Mr. Trudeau

It was about as dire a warning as they come. Nobody was crying 'wolf.' Certainly not 11,000 of them.

They warned of "untold suffering" around the world if we don't change our ways in very short order. We know what that untold suffering is going to look like - we've seen it before only not on a planetary scale. It will manifest in famine, dislocation and migration, resource wars, wars of survival, and more. That's what will be on the menu for millions of our fellow human beings if we stay on our current course.

That warning is certainly sufficient to trigger the "precautionary principle" in our government's decision making, particularly on fossil fuels that those thousands of scientists, echoing so many others before them, say must be left in the ground - unless we're willing to inflict "untold suffering" on others. The precautionary principle is as sound as it is straightforward:
"The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is [not] harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. ...The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result."
That principle is also the law of Canada.
In 2015, the Federal Court of Canada upheld the precautionary principle as part of the substantive law of our country. The Supreme Court of Canada has also applied the precautionary principle.
11,000 scientists speaking with one voice exceeds the threshold of "a suspected risk" of looming harm. It's the fire hall bell.

Fortunately, Canada has a prime minister who, as far back as 2015, pledged that his government - our government - would "follow the science." How monstrously hypocritical would it be for him to ignore this massive scientific consensus. After all it is his foremost duty to protect us, you and me, our kids and our grandchildren. That's Job One. It is stated quite clearly in the preamble to the Emergencies Act.

If Mr. Trudeau disagrees all he need do is prove that our fossil energy policy is not harmful to the public or the environment. He's got plenty of scientists on the government payroll. He's even said, repeatedly, that his government has "done the science" whatever that means.

So where is Mr. Trudeau's science? Where is it? This is where it gets sticky. Environment Canada says it hasn't been done. The Royal Society says the science hasn't been done. Only Mr. Trudeau claims he has "done the science" and he's not producing it. There are lots of questions and no answers, not from the Dauphin.

I chose the photo of Greta Thunberg meeting Mr. Trudeau for the powerful message it conveys. Her body language is plain. The way she's crossed her legs, how she's tucked her hands. But it's her face, her eyes, that speak volumes. And Mr. Trudeau, his body language? He looks like he'd sooner be walking barefoot on broken glass.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

How Do You Like Your Chances?

Maybe you think they're just making this sh*t up. Maybe you would like to think they're just making this sh*t up but you realize that they're not. Maybe the enormity of what they're saying is more than you can process so you don't want to think about it period.

11,000 scientists are not a hoax. A hoax is essentially a fraud, a deception. I used to do a good bit of fraud work. Some of the bad guys I encountered were really, really good at it. I learned a lot from them. One thing I learned is that scams don't like numbers. Too many cooks spoil the broth sort of thing. People drift off script, some get cold feet, some are not worth a dam at telling lies. 11,000 people, that's no hoax. 11,000 scientists, highly educated experts from a broad range of disciplines, you've got to take them at face value.

It's incumbent on us to accept that they're telling the truth. Now it's time to confront the truth they're telling us, their blunt and dire warning that our survival is in grave peril.

The good thing is that they've told us what we must do to have a viable future. The bad thing is that it's one hell of a shopping list. We have to overhaul this thing, our way of life, how we're governed, our economy both domestic and global. We have to change course and we don't have the luxury of time.

Here are a few of their observations.
The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle. The most affluent countries are mainly responsible for the historical GHG emissions and generally have the greatest per capita emissions (table S1).
...Profoundly troubling signs from human activities include sustained increases in both human and ruminant livestock populations, per capita meat production, world gross domestic product, global tree cover loss, fossil fuel consumption, the number of air passengers carried, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and per capita CO2 emissions since 2000.

...Especially disturbing are concurrent trends in the vital signs of climatic impacts (figure 2, supplemental file S2). Three abundant atmospheric GHGs (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide) continue to increase (see figure S1 for ominous 2019 spike in CO2), as does global surface temperature (figure 2a–2d). Globally, ice has been rapidly disappearing, evidenced by declining trends in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glacier thickness worldwide (figure 2e–2h). Ocean heat content, ocean acidity, sea level, area burned in the United States, and extreme weather and associated damage costs have all been trending upward (figure 2i–2n). Climate change is predicted to greatly affect marine, freshwater, and terrestrial life, from plankton and corals to fishes and forests (IPCC 2018, 2019). These issues highlight the urgent need for action.

...Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature's reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic “hothouse Earth,” well beyond the control of humans (Steffen et al. 2018). These climate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.

To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live, in ways that improve the vital signs summarized by our graphs. Economic and population growth are among the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (Pachauri et al. 2014, Bongaarts and O’Neill 2018); therefore, we need bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies.
The group then identifies six areas in which we need wholesale change, now.

On energy they urge a rapid (i.e. engineered) shift from fossil fuels to renewable clean energy. We don't, we die. They're blunt about it - fossil fuels must be left in the ground where they can no longer poison our environment. You would have to be thicker than Scott Moe not to understand that means leaving the high carbon, low value stuff - coal and bitumen - in the ground.

Next up are short-lived climate pollutants - methane, black soot and hydroflourocarbons. That captures natural gas among the pollutants we must outlaw. That's bitumen, coal and natural gas. Oh dear.

Third is rehabilitating the biosphere, i.e. reversing  habitat and biodiversity loss,  while protecting and restoring the planet's forests through reforestation and afforestation. Afforestation is the tougher of the two because it means taking land now used for other purposes and planting trees there instead.  With a population now nearing eight billion, more than three times the global population when I was born, we've been devouring our wilderness to meet human needs. It's going to be tough to give land back to nature especially as we have already degraded our stocks of arable farmland.

Numero Quatro - 'where's the beef?' We must break our meat habit and switch to an increasingly vegetarian diet. All that grazing land should be put into crops to feed humanity. They also call for a drastic reduction in food waste. Oh, if only.

The Big Number Five. Surprise, it's the economy. We've got it stoked to crazy levels.  We're extracting and consuming far more than nature, our biosphere can provide.  And, as capitalism demands, we're still in relentless pursuit of perpetual exponential growth in GDP. Our own Justin Trudeau is an open advocate of endless growth, GDP.
Our goals need to shift from GDP growth and the pursuit of affluence toward sustaining ecosystems and improving human well-being by prioritizing basic needs and reducing inequality.
Ecosystems come ahead of GDP. So do improving human well-being and reducing inequality.

Are you ready for an end of capitalism, the economic model we've embraced back to the 17th century? We have built a global civilization on capitalism but capitalism has also been instrumental in bringing us to the edge of this abyss. Are we really interested in living within our ecological means? Can we accept structuring our society, our economy to live in harmony with our biosphere, the one we've been savaging for decades?

The final area where urgent change is needed is population. On this one I'm not so sure that these scientists have the full measure of our predicament.
...the world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity.
Credible and respected NGOs such as the Global Footprint Network conclude that mankind exceeded the Earth's ecological carrying capacity around 1970 when population passed the three billion mark. Since then we've more than doubled in numbers and that increase has been compounded by increases in longevity and in per capita consumption. GFN and other sources think that we've been in 'overshoot' for so long that the Earth's sustainable carrying capacity has declined to just two billion.

I can understand the dilemma facing these scientists. There's no acceptable means to slash human population by 75 per cent in short order. We will probably get there through a variety of means - war, disease, climate die-off (famine, resources exhaustion, etc.).

Okay, now we've gone through the Six Deadly Sins and what we must do about them if we want to preserve some viable future. We know what must be done but also the scale of what must be done.

Canadians are extremely fortunate that we have a federal government that has solemnly pledged to "follow the science." I assume that includes the science of survival but I suppose I could be wrong. I hope not.

What would our government have to do to meet these six criteria? Population - we get a pass on that one. The other five, we don't.

Energy. Canada's an energy superpower. The only two parties that have ever governed our country are big on the fossil fuels, especially one of the most harmful one, bitumen. The prescription is blunt - leave that stuff in the ground. Instead we're moving to flood world markets with even more of the high-carbon, low-value, climate-wrecking garbage. Justin Trudeau has made way more progress on this than Stephen Harper ever did.  The Dauphin is about to pull the trigger with his new and greatly expanded pipeline.

Do you think he'll "follow the science"? I surely don't.

What about methane, natural gas? Our government is a big advocate of LNG projects to get Canadian fracked gas to world markets.  Science? Meh.

Rehabilitating the environment is next. Canada is one of the two remaining sources of real wilderness. The other is Russia. A lot of our wilderness, our forests, is at risk to pests such as the pine beetle. Climate change is an additional forest stressor. We may need to reforest with tree species that are pest- and climate-resistant but we still have that option. It's an iffy proposition for governments already defunded but it's possible.

The vegetarian thing. That's going to be a hard sell. People like their beef. They like their pork. Canada being a democracy, sort of, what would it take to garner public support for slashing meat production and consumption? Think Alberta is already foaming at the mouth? I doubt we'll see Ottawa grow the cojones needed to tackle that one but who knows?

Capitalism and the abandonment of the GDP-based economy. Our prime minister, in keeping with every prime minister before him, is a big fan of GDP. He boasts of it. Gotta keep that exponential growth perpetual. More this year and more next year and the year after that and forever. It's dangerously delusional. I'll let David Suzuki explain.

Yet it seems to me every bit as delusional to expect that our leaders, including this prime minister, will accept what Suzuki observes is a matter of "mathematical certainty." It doesn't take a great mind to see Suzuki's point but, for some reason, our leaders are conditioned to ignore it. Isn't that like jumping in the back seat with a thoroughly drunk driver?

I don't see this call to arms being answered by the leadership we have today. I don't see other nations heeding this urgent warning either. What does that portend? We'll know soon enough.

If this makes you feel like throwing in the towel, don't. We need to fight this even if we're cynical about the outcome. Public attitudes are changing and while concern about climate change doesn't yet translate into a willingness to do much about it, it is a start. It does focus the public on what's happening and the more they learn the more powerful the fight becomes.  The government side can't grow nearly as fast as public opinion. That makes the fight worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

If We Don't Heed Them Now, We're SCREWED!

Parliament may have declared we're in a state of climate emergency but, lamentably, there's precious little evidence that they mean it. Canada remains bitumen country, pipeline country, and bugger the consequences.

There was another climate crisis declaration today, this one from 11,000 scientists from multiple disciplines only their warning, unlike our government's, is deadly serious.
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.” 
There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.” 
The statement is published in the journal BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979. The statement was a collaboration of dozens of scientists and endorsed by further 11,000 from 153 nations. The scientists say the urgent changes needed include ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction and slashing meat eating.
The declaration offers a list of actions we must implement now.  (Hint: none of them involve building pipelines, flooding world markets with high-carbon fossil sludge or continuing massive subsidies of fossil energy giants.) They list critical actions required now:
Use energy far more efficiently and apply strong carbon taxes to cut fossil fuel use

Stabilise global population – currently growing by 200,000 people a day – using ethical approaches such as longer education for girls

End the destruction of nature and restore forests and mangroves to absorb CO2

Eat mostly plants and less meat, and reduce food waste

Shift economic goals away from GDP growth
What the scientists are calling for is abandonment of 18th century economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century capitalism, modes of organization that outlived their usefulness to humanity by the 1980s if not earlier. What science is telling us is that we must find something to replace capitalism itself.

It is generally accepted that without perpetual growth in GDP, capitalism fails and the world economy collapses. Most who take that view can envision nothing beyond capitalism. Tracing back to the 17th century, well prior to the Industrial Revolution (which, ironically would not have occurred without it), capitalism is all we have ever known. We were born into it. Out great, great, great grandparents were born into it. Capitalism is us. Our governments are built on it, so too our cities and neighbourhoods.

Where consensus breaks down is on whether there is organized life after capitalism. The debate often comes down to whether a zero-growth or steady-state economy is even possible. Some see it as triggering inevitable collapse. I can give you a list of economists who see a no-growth model as not only feasible but essential to our continuation. You might find this op-ed, Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it? helpful.

What we need to find are leaders of the calibre to implement radical change but where in hell are they? We don't have leaders of that stature here and I'm not referring just to people like Harper and Scheer or Kenney, Moe and Ford. I'm talking also about the current prime minister and his front bench.

Lofty goals to be achieved by someone else, some other government, by 2030 or 2050, are no longer relevant. The past has shown they were nothing but aspirational lies, another term for wishful thinking, anyway.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Evangelical Christianity Off the Rails - Updated

Katherine Hayhoe knows a thing or three about evangelical Christianity, right wing politics and climate change. She is an evangelical Christian. She's married to an evangelical pastor. She is a climate scientist/teacher. She's just not a right wing evango-lunatic.

I've followed the Canadian-born Hayhoe for quite a while. She co-directs the Climate Center at Texas Tech, in Lubbock. She is something of an oddity.

While I don't buy her theology, I can understand how she reconciles Christianity and climate science.

I grew up in a Christian family with a science-teacher dad who taught us that science is the study of God’s creation. If we truly believe that God created this amazing universe, bringing matter and energy to life out of a formless empty void of nothing, then how could studying his creation ever be in conflict with his written word?
Hayhoe wrote a letter to the New York Times that's not the usual climate change stuff. Her focus is how, in the States, evangelical Christians came to repudiate climate science. It's a tale of theological corruption and it's something that flows through the veins of some of our own leaders, people like Harper and Scheer.

...it wasn’t until after I’d moved to the United States for graduate school that it dawned on me, to my disbelief, that divisions within the science-faith arena, originally focused on questions of human origins and the age of the universe, were expanding to include climate change. 
Now, this discrepancy is pointed out to me nearly every day: often by people with Bible verses in their social media profiles who accuse me of spreading Satan’s lies, or sometimes by others who share my concerns about climate change but wonder why I bother talking to “those people.” The attacks I receive come via email, Twitter, Facebook comments, phone calls and even handwritten letters. 
I track them all, and I’ve noticed two common denominators in how most of the authors choose to identify themselves: first, as political conservatives, no matter what country they’re from; and second, in the United States, as conservative Christians, because the label “evangelical” has itself been co-opted as shorthand for a particular political ideology these days. 
But I refuse to give it up, because I am a theological evangelical, one of those who can be simply defined as someone who takes the Bible seriously. This stands in stark contrast to today’s political evangelicals, whose statement of faith is written first by their politics and only a distant second by the Bible and who, if the two conflict, will prioritize their political ideology over theology.
This is where it gets really twisted.
But if caring about climate change is such a profoundly Christian value, then why do surveys in the United States consistently show white evangelicals and white Catholics at the bottom of those Americans concerned about the changing climate? 
It turns out, it’s not where we go to church (or don’t) that determines our opinion on climate. It’s not even our religious affiliation. Hispanic Catholics are significantly more likely than other Catholics to say the earth is getting warmer, according to a 2015 survey, and they have the same pope. It’s because of the alliance between conservative theology and conservative politics that has been deliberately engineered and fostered over decades of increasingly divisive politics on issues of race, abortion and now climate change, to the point where the best predictor of whether we agree with the science is simply where we fall on the political spectrum.

An important and successful part of that framing has been to cast climate change as an alternate religion. This is sometimes subtle, as the church sign that reads, “On Judgment Day, you’ll meet Father God not Mother Earth.” Other times this point is made much more blatantly, like when Senator Ted Cruz of Texas told Glenn Beck in 2015 that “climate change is not a science, it’s a religion,” or when Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at a 2014 event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations that “the problem is Al Gore’s turned this thing into a religion.”
Why is this framing so effective? Because some 72percent of people in the United States already identify with a specific religious label, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. And if you are a Christian, you know what to do when a false prophet comes along preaching a religion that worships the created rather than the Creator: Reject it! 
So this framing plays right into the narrative that scientists are a godless bunch who have teamed up with liberals (and perhaps the Antichrist, according to some comments I’ve received) to rule the world and overthrow religion, an agenda that any right-minded believer will oppose until his or her dying breath. In fact, 51 percent of scientists said in a 2009 Pew survey that they believed in God or a universal spirit or higher power.
It's a set-up, one that's been honed since the era of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression. One of the books I'm reading now is Kevin Kruse's, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. Kruse, a Princeton history prof, reveals how the Great Depression drew America's industrialists and radical Christianity together.

The Depression drove a deep wedge between the American people and their industrial aristocracy. When FDR introduced the New Deal it terrified the industrialists who feared the rise of socialism. They didn't dare push back because they were already reviled. Then they got the idea of recruiting 'tent preachers' to do their bidding by spreading the word that FDR's reforms were an affront to God, the devil's work. Their campaign was called "Freedom Under God."

Curiously enough, it was Dwight Eisenhower who married Christianity and conservative politics. It's claimed that Eisenhower saw religion as essential to uniting the American people and he wasn't too fussy which faith prevailed. On Ike's watch the National Prayer Breakfast was introduced, Congress added the phrase "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance and made "In God We Trust" America's first official motto. Church membership that had never claimed more that 30 per cent of the American public soared to 69 per cent.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Today's Christian conservatism does not spring from the Bible. It is not something organic. It's not particularly Christian, in the New Testament sense. It is engineered to serve a purpose and it's still working whether through America's 'bought and paid for' Congress or some of those who lead the Conservative Party of Canada.


If you're interested in how religious fundamentalism blossomed in America you can also check out Kevin Phillips' 2005 book, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. Phillips charts the decline of the United States from the perspective of a patrician Republican, a party stalwart long before the GOP succumbed to radicalism.

Here are a few excerpts from Phillip's American Theocracy:

[War and terror] both derive much of their current impetus from the incendiary backdrop of oil politics and religious fundamentalism, in Islam as well as the West. Despite pretensions to motivations such as liberty and freedom, petroleum and its geopolitics have dominated Anglo-American activity in the Middle East for a full century. On this, history could not be more clear.

The excesses of fundamentalism, in turn, are American and Israeli, as well as the all-too-obvious depredations of radical Islam. The rapture, end times, and Armageddon hucksters in the United States rank with any Shiite ayatollahs, and the last two presidential elections mark the transformation of the GOP into the first religious party in U.S. history.

The financialization of the United States economy over the last three decades - in the 1990s the finance, real estate and insurance sector overtook and then strongly passed manufacturing as a share of the U.S. gross domestic product - is an ill omen in its own right. ...Excessive debt in twenty fist century United States is on its way to becoming the global Fifth Horseman, riding close behind war, pestilence, famine and fire.

...A leading world power such as the United States, with almost three hundred million people and huge international responsibilities, goes about as far in a theocratic direction as it can when it satisfies the unfortunate criteria on display in Washington circa 2005: an elected leader who believes himself in some way to speak for God, a ruling party that represents religious true believers and seeks to mobilize the churches, the conviction of many voters in that Republican party that government should be guided by religion, and on top of it all, White House implementation of domestic and international political agendas that seems to be driven by religious motivations and biblical worldviews.

Over three decades of Bush presidencies, vice presidencies and CIA directorships, the Republican party has slowly become the vehicle of all three interests - a fusion of petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex.
A lesser known expansion of religious fundamentalism into the American establishment is described by career US Army commander turned academic, Andrew Bacevich, in his 2010 book, The New American Militarism. The author explores how Christian evangelism has morphed into the de facto official religion of the American military.

Again, a few excerpts:
"Certain in their understanding of right and wrong, growing in numbers, affluence, and sophistication, and determined to reverse the nation's perceived decline, conservative evangelicals after the 1960s assume the role of church militant. Abandoning their own previously well established skepticism about the morality of force and inspired in no small measure by their devotion to Israel, they articulated a highly permissive interpretation of the "just war" doctrine, the cornerstone of Christian thinking about warfare. And they developed a considerable appetite for wielding armed might on behalf of righteousness, more often that not indistinguishable from America's own interests
...evangelicals looked to soldiers to model the personal qualities that citizens at large needed to rediscover if America were to reverse the tide of godlessness and social decay to which the 1960s had given impetus. 
Militant evangelicals imparted religious sanction to the militarization of U.S. policy and helped imbue the resulting military activism with an aura of moral legitimacy."  
"Conservative Christians have conferred a presumptive moral palatability on any occasion on which the United States resorts to force. They have fostered among the legions of believing Americans a predisposition to see U.S. military power as inherently good, perhaps even a necessary adjunct to the accomplishment of Christ's saving mission. In doing so they have nurtured the preconditions that have enabled the American infatuation with military power to flourish. 
Put another way, were it not for the support offered by several tens of millions of evangelicals, militarism in this deeply and genuinely religious country becomes inconceivable."
Bacevich chronicles how today's American military would be unrecognizable to Eisenhower who, on leaving office, warned the American people of the establishment of a "military-industrial complex" that would undermine American democracy.

The author argues that, from the advent of Reagan's presidency and continuing through the Bush/Cheney era what, in the 50s, had been a military-industrial complex had metastasized into a military-industrial-Christian fundamentalist-neoconservative-commercial warfighting (think Blackwater, Haliburton etc.) complex that has driven Washington to switch from diplomacy to the use or threat of military force as America's principal instrument of foreign policy.

There is a traditional instinct in political discourse to avoid the subject of religion at all costs. Hands off, religious freedom, blah, blah, blah. I firmly embrace freedom of religion. That extends to religious belief and worship but no more than that. It needs to be understood that there can be no freedom of religion without freedom from religion. If the political realm is to steer clear of the religious realm, religion must stay out of politics.

We need to recognize that religious fundamentalism in whatever flavour - Islamic, Judaic, Christian or any other - is a scourge. Radical religion is authoritarian and doesn't seek to influence politics but to control it, making common cause along the way with other forms of radical conservatism. Today's Conservative Party, evidenced by its last two leaders, bears witness to this.

Just as corporatism pursues monopoly rather than competition, radical religion follows the same path. We can hold corporations in check through regulation but we have no similar means of curbing religious excess or the challenge it poses to liberal democracy. There is good reason why the thoroughly debauched president of the United States has gone to such lengths to court Christian conservatives and why, in turn, they have embraced Donald Trump. Each gives the other what they want and what they want has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Why This Matters - To You.

We are at a moment unlike any other in the 12,000 year span of human civilization. The past 120 years have witnessed more change than in the entire previous history of mankind. Before the Industrial Revolution our global population was barely one billion. By 1900 it had grown to 1.6 billion. In 2,000 we reached 6 billion. Two decades later we're closing in on 8 billion. From 1900, lifespans in the developed world nearly doubled while annual per capita GDP - production, consumption, waste - increased at least five fold. There are massively more of us, living far longer and, each year, consuming ever more.

Rather than meet this ominous predicament with concern and caution our only response is to double down. We won't stop until we are stopped. This will not be on our own terms. It will, however, be by our own hand.

The situation we are in today is not unprecedented, except in scale. We are on the cusp of irreversible, existential change. The scientific community speaks of "tipping points" that, once passed, cannot be remedied. Think of a canoe. When the water starts pouring in over the gunwale, you are about to tip over. You are no longer in control.

Anthropologist Jared Diamond explores our immediate predicament in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." He writes of several societies in centuries past that collapsed. In particular he focuses on societies that took decisions that ensured short-term benefits even though it was apparent that catastrophe would await future generations. Societies have knowingly written their own death warrants. These were 'rational' decisions for the time they were taken for the generation(s) they benefited even if it required discounting the interests and welfare of the future to nothing.

In the past these were limited events. A society here or there might collapse - think of the Mesopotamians, the Mayans or the Easter Islanders -  but many others would continue, even thrive. Today, by contrast, we have a global civilization and the threats we countenance for our immediate convenience are also global and very existential. These range from our resolute pursuit of perpetual exponential growth to climate change, overpopulation and truly rapacious exhaustion of Earth's finite natural resources.

Think of it as 'rational nihilism.'

Whenever any of these disastrous and counter-intuitive practices are challenged they're met by an equal, if not greater, response in the form of denial and, when that fails, delay. Examples of this are abundant and we can even attach names to them, names such as Trump, Putin and Orban, America's 'bought and paid for' Congress, and, closer to home, Harper and Scheer, Kenney, Moe and Ford, and, regrettably, even Trudeau. This isn't some bunch of cranks. It is mainstream. These are all instruments of rational nihilism.

It's now a given that liberal democracy is in decline and we may be entering an era of authoritarianism. If, as has been predicted, severe climate change impacts arrive in the coming decade the world will enter an era of spreading instability, incompatible with the ideals of liberal democracy.

Unless we are content to live in a regime other than liberal democracy we had better formulate means of dealing with the current crop of denialists and delayers, particularly forces that act out of purely ideological/theocratic reasons to the detriment of society.

Gary Mason Takes Jason Kenney To the Woodshed

When Alberta energy giant, Encana, announced it was leaving Calgary and moving to the States, the terrible-tempered Jason Kenney was quick to blame it all on Justin Trudeau. If only Trudeau wasn't undermining Alberta's gawd-given oil, if only Justin wasn't dragging his heels on building pipelines, none of this would have happened.

So outrageous were Kenney's complaints that the Globe's Gary Mason decided to take the Alberta premier to the woodshed.
None of this has to do with the Trudeau government or its “no more pipelines bill,” as Mr. Kenney calls Bill C-69. That doesn’t matter to the Alberta Premier. Encana leaving makes for good domestic politics. It gives him a platform upon which he can demand more pipelines, demand Catherine McKenna not be renamed environment minister in the next cabinet, demand an energy corridor to the east coast commence immediately, demand an urgent meeting of first ministers, demand equalization reform. 
It’s completely nuts. 
Mr. Kenney’s ego is out of control. I’m not sure whether he’s politicking for his current job or whether he’s establishing his bona fides to take over as federal Conservative leader. He certainly has become the loudest conservative voice in the country. And whether it’s current leader Andrew Scheer or someone else who ultimately assumes command of the federal party, they should be prepared for a long to-do list the Alberta Premier will have waiting for them. 
The risk Mr. Kenney runs is overreach. He becomes so obsessed in his demonization of Justin Trudeau that he actually creates sympathy for the Prime Minister instead. Because at some point, people outside of Alberta and Saskatchewan are going to see straight through the narrative. 
They are going to see a provincial premier, who has some legitimate grievances, attempting to bully the person running this country (and an old political foe he doesn’t much care for on a personal level) into acceding to his every wish. They are going to see someone seemingly more interested in personal aggrandizement than engaging in the kind of give-and-take inherent in national deal-making. 
And Mr. Kenney needs to understand that deliberately mischaracterizing the decisions oil-and-gas companies make for his own political gain ultimately doesn’t get him anything other than angrier citizens.
Why is Kenney doing this? Because, like Trump, he knows his base is just stupid enough to believe his horse shit.