This is not "pick on Justin" day. There's no need for that. His record speaks for itself. The Justin Trudeau Memorial TransMountain Pipeline is what it is. The federal and Alberta governments' commitment to flooding world markets with as much toxic, high-carbon ersatz petroleum, bitumen, is inarguable. The fact that my province is in the throes of what is already the second worst wildfire season on record (only next to last year's) is incontestable. The role that climate change has played in these worsening annual wildfires is conclusively made out.
According to Chilliwack fire ecologist Robert Gray, the scale of the wildfire emergencies we've lived through in 2017 and 2018 wasn't expected for decades.
"What we thought was going to be an average condition in 2050, we're starting to see those conditions coming a lot sooner," Gray told CBC.
"There's been a lot of discussion in the scientific community about really changing what we think the future is going to look like."University of Alberta professor, Mike Flannigan, doesn't hesitate to say what our prime minister won't.
"Colleagues and I have been saying for years that the increase we've already seen in the area burned across Canada — a doubling since the early 70s — is due to human-caused climate change," he said.
Warmer weather brings longer wildfire seasons and more lightning, while the atmosphere gets better at sucking the moisture out of plants and dead wood, researchers say.
The end result is both bigger and more intense fires, and Flannigan's research suggests a significant increase in wildfire intensity in recent years.
"This is really key, because as fires become more intense, they're difficult to impossible to put out," he said.
B.C. is stuck with the question of how to better prepare for the years ahead.
Limiting the release of greenhouse gases might be a good long-term option, but both Gray and Flannigan point out that any positive impacts won't be felt for several decades.
In the meantime, they would like to see more measures like controlled burning, thinning out forests around communities, preparing homes and businesses through the Fire Smart program, developing early warning systems for wildfires and allowing more fires to burn if they aren't threatening human homes, lives or infrastructure.
"We have to learn to live with fire, coexist with fire. There's no other solution," said Flannigan.Among the proposed solutions, one that is conspicuously absent is that Canada should "go green" by flooding world markets with bitumen. No, that's what they call "counter-intuitive" or, in less polite circles, utter bullshit.
The world, our world, is in the throes of very destructive, often lethal, climate change and all indicators suggest it is rapidly worsening. Meanwhile, prime minister Nero flogs bitumen as the country burns.
"For a second straight year, this fire season will go down as the worst on record in B.C.
As of Wednesday morning, the BC Wildfire Service said 2,011 fires have burned just over 1,250,000 hectares since April 1. The 2017 fire season saw just over 1,216,000 hectares burned."
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