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.