There's so much smoke from so many wildfires, they can't see to count the fires any more. It's somewhere upwards of 500, that's all they know. Could be 600. Who knows? At this point does it really matter?
There are so many fires and so much smoke that it's making it hard for people to stay in their homes and hard for a lot of people to breathe including people nowhere near the fires. So many fires that they create their own weather patterns, inversions. So many fires that, in a lot of places, the sky has changed from blue to orange.
Justin Trudeau doesn't seem to want to come out and see for himself what mankind's fossil fuel addiction has wreaked on British Columbia. That might bugger his puerile narrative that we can flood world markets with bitumen and go green at the same time. Justin, that's like an alcoholic drinking himself to sobriety.
My place sounds like something out of Apocalypse Now with the distinctive slapping of Huey rotor blades overhead. We have a forest service training base for firefighting crews and helo pilots. The aircrews come here to qualify on the water bucket drops before heading out into the field. They must be processing a lot of pilots these days.
The west coast is on fire from Mexico all the way up into Alaska. The coastal fire season just keeps growing longer and longer, beginning sooner, ending later.
Now we're told this year's extreme summer conditions will probably continue for another four years, possibly ten, steadily warming year after year. My guess is that means more wildfires in those hotter years.
It also means more greenhouse gas emissions, CO2, and plenty more carbon soot carried aloft. British Columbia used to be considered a massive "carbon sink." Our forests were thought to absorb a great volume of atmospheric carbon for photosynthesis.
Those forests are now a "carbon bomb." Global warming has meant warmer winters that are no longer cold enough to ensure a kill off of pine beetles that emerge in the spring to infest the inland forests and cause extensive forest die-offs. Those same bugs have now crossed the Rockies and have reached the northern boreal forests, Labrador bound. Nothing burns quite so well as dead, dried-out forests.
It is not unfair to hold Justin Trudeau and our Liberal government complicit in this catastrophe. They, and their provincial counterparts, continue to lavish subsidies, direct subsidies, in excess of $3.3 billion a year, almost a hundred dollars for every Canadian man, woman and child. When it comes to oil and gas subsidies, Canada is the worst in the G7. The International Monetary Fund takes a more expansive approach to subsidies, one that includes the value of natural capital and the emissions associated with fossil fuel production, and its number for Canadian government subsidies is $46 billion. That's the measure of our federal and provincial governments' complicity in this.
Meanwhile government revenues that once peaked at nearly $13 billion, are now dropping sharply.
A comprehensive report on Canada’s energy sector says the nation’s remaining fossil fuels “are being sold off in an environment of low prices with minimal and declining returns to governments.”
More than 30 years ago many Canadian governments earned substantial income from oil and gas production primarily through royalties or taxes, but that is no longer the case, says the report.
Royalty revenue from hydrocarbon production has plummeted 63 per cent since 2000, and corporate taxes earned by government on drilling and refining activity have declined more than 50 per cent.Unfortunately none of this matters to the sitting government. It didn't matter to the Harper government either. This is a political issue. It is part of an economic ideology that infests all petro-states. It's the face of neoliberal petro-politics.
It's sad that Justin refuses to draw the obvious link between what's happening to British Columbia's forests, what will soon spread through Canada's boreal forest, and this government's energy policy. We know he won't. The lengths the Trudeau government went to in order to rig (yes, rig) the TransMountain pipeline initiative, show that there'll be no honest reckoning from Trudeau's government.