|Chain of Fools|
It's a message much of the Third World has known, and endured, for quite a while but we really never much listened to them. Most Canadians thought global warming, for Canada, mainly meant a little less cold - yippee!
Oh sure, the Innu have been warning about climate change impacts in the far north but we really haven't paid them much mind either. But Calgary? Well that's another matter altogether.
Now we're coming to realize that the loss of that Arctic sea ice carries a price that even those of us in southern Canada are going to have to pay. We now have to cope with a new, more powerful, meandering and yet sluggish Polar Jet Stream that can draw Arctic air masses deep into the south or warm, wet southern air high into the north and leave them parked in one spot for a good long time.
Here's the thing. We're not quite at one degree of warming yet, somewhat under half of what we're told is the "do not exceed" target for this century. So, if this is what we get at the halfway mark, what will two degrees Celsius bring us? And there's a lot of science that warns, if we follow the Conservative vision for the future, the Harper/Klein/Stelmach/Redford path, we could be looking at warming of four, even five degrees Celsius. By that point, man-made emissions will be eclipsed by natural feedback mechanisms releasing stored greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That's what is called "runaway global warming."
So, what do we do from here on in? Probably nothing. The Conservative confidence artists wasted no time in framing their narrative of the Calgary floods. The event was unforeseeable. No one could have known. No one saw it coming. No one is at fault, even those in power whose obligation it was to spot things like this coming.
"Nobody saw it coming" - that could be the Conservative mantra for the 21st century. Whenever reality blows up in the face of Conservative ideology, the standard response is to duck responsibility by claiming no one could have seen it coming.
It's a pack of lies, of course. Lies from Harper. Lies from Alberta's Redford. Lies from Redford's enviromin, Diana McQueen.
McQueen insisted the severity of the flood had rendered the question of preparation moot.
“What Alberta has experienced in this past week was unprecedented: More rain, more quickly over a larger area than has ever been seen before in this province. No report or recommendation looking at the lessons of the past could have prepared us for this event,” she said.
Why is it that the party that boasts it is all about responsibility never wants to take any? Harper has Environment Canada scientists bound and gagged, held in some dank federal cellar in Lebreton Flats. Alberta has its scientists working fulltime fudging figures to show that the Tar Sands aren't really all that bad and that Athabasca drinking water is safe (enough for the sort of people who live way up there in the heart of nothing.)
It's hard not to feel a tinge of schadenfreude that a flooding event like this should hit the one province and home riding of the prime minister that have done their best to deny and undercut the reality of anthropogenic global warming while moving to ramp up production of the filthiest, most carbon-intensive unconventional petroleum product on the planet.
Harper, Redford and all of those just like them are in a race against time, one that they cannot win. It's not the 2005 flood that's the problem or even the current one. It's the floods to come that will pry power from their grasping, denialist fingers.