Change is afoot. The latest report on climate change in Canada is unsettling. It's even ominous.
The only surprising part is that anyone would be surprised by the report or its findings. They closely mirror reports that we've been getting, at least weekly, for the past several years.
The CBC's Neil Macdonald says this time it's for real. This time the Trudeau Liberals will answer the fire hall bell.
To the Trudeau government, this is core-mission stuff. Last week, scientists from the environment department were brought in to the Prime Minister's Office for briefings. The report will be public and online Tuesday, and Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet will be pushing the issue as something bordering on a national emergency, which is not an unreasonable way to characterize it.Think of it this way. If your house was on fire and you wanted to save your home would you douse the flames with gasoline? I'll bet that wouldn't be your first choice. You would realize that could only make your problem vastly worse.
Okay, now let's consider climate change as a national emergency and it is. A national emergency is something that you expect the national government to fight with all of its strength and means. Only despite this gestural farce of carbon taxes, our government is actually dousing the flames with gasoline.
That Trans Mountain pipeline? Perfect example. We've been told that Athabasca tar sludge has to be left in the ground. Trudeau has said no, we've got to get it out, fast, as much as possible while we still can. He even paid Kinder Morgan, the former owner and Enron alumni, a massive profit to make that happen. He's already sunk 4.5 billion into that pipeline and he's got easily another 7 billion to go.
Does that sound like somebody who's worried about climate change?
He's still paying billions in subsidies to the fossil fuel giants. They admit to a couple of billion per year. The IMF has priced not only direct subsidies but also "in kind" benefits such as minuscule royalties, grants, deferrals and other benefits at a whopping $46 billion.
Does that sound like somebody that sees shutting down the highest-carbon fossil fuel projects as "core mission stuff"?
Cast your mind back to the heady days of early December, 2015, when the Trudeau Liberals had just been installed in office. Justin and his enviro-min, Dame Cathy McKenna, strode onto the floor of the Paris Climate Summit and proclaimed "Canada's back." The dark days of the Harper era when Canada was regularly rebuked as a climate change pariah were over. No, under new Liberal management, Canada was going to put its shoulder into the fight against climate change.
Perhaps Justin and Cathy were too busy fitting their wreaths of laurels to hear the warning from a climate scientist who was also at the Paris summit, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, then head of the prestigious Potsdam climate institute.
As the political types were high-fiving each other with bold promises to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, max, Johnny Schellnhuber said achieving that goal would require nothing less than the "induced implosion" of the fossil fuel industry. Not milquetoast carbon taxes, no, nothing short of petro-states shutting down their fossil fuel producers and hastening the transition to alternative clean energy.
Do you believe that Justin is undergoing some epiphany over the dire threat of climate change? If you do I sure hope you're right and I'm wrong. Even if he had the moral spine (and he doesn't) he lacks the courage to reverse course and steer Canada to another direction.