Action vs. Action Plans #GivePollutionAChance

The Liberals would like to tell you that they’ve spent a year making Real Change (TM) in Canada, since being elected in October, 2015. Undeniably, Canada has some notable differences and improvements since Harper was booted. Still, there are promised changes, not hard to make, that are forever being dangled like carrots, potentially left to lead voters to the polls yet again in 2019 to return the Red Tide.

And there is plenty of low-hanging fruit growing rotten on the vine, as a result of Government and Liberal delays. We’ve no new electoral system yet. We still can’t buy pot in a store or grow it in our yard without incurring the wrath of the Nixon/Reagan Racist War on Drugs. And freshly made micro-plastics continue to pollute our waterways and lakes, despite Canadian scientists confirming about a year ago they are a toxin.

Got this email on Friday from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

[…] The proposed Regulations would phase in prohibitions for the manufacture, import, sale or offer for sale of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.
On February 9, 2016, ECCC published a consultation document for a 30-day public comment on the proposed Regulations […]
Stakeholders will have until January 19, 2017 to submit written comments on the proposed Regulations. […]
For further information on the Government of Canada’s actions on microbeads, please visit www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/plan/approach-approche/microb-eng.php.
Xin Gao
Acting Director, Products Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
ec.produits-products.ec@canada.ca
This is a fine example of the Liberal government erring on the side of protecting corporate, short term economic gains, for the creation of inter-generational health and environmental pain. And they have the gall to call it “action”.
I’m more than a little pissed off about this.
I replied to them, and my MP Ralph Goodale:
Dear Xin Gao:

I’m dismayed to see that microbeads are still not yet banned from sale in Canada. They were ruled toxic by Government of Canada scientists almost a year ago, and still the Government dithers and proposes fully banning them only 2 years from now? There’s an expression about not being able to put the toothpaste back into the tube, and it applies very aptly to this dangerous problem. Stop squeezing the toxic tube, and get microbeads off our shelves now.

Please, do not delay, and protect our water from the micro-plastic toxin.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina, SK

The Conservatives’ Canadian Economic Action Scam, err, Plan, may have been mostly a scam, but even it managed to put some shovels into the ground and could arguably be called action. The Liberals’ Canada Climate Action department can’t even stop the steady flow of a known toxin from going into our water without consulting Canadians about it for over 2 years.

The prohibition of the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing toiletries that contain plastic microbeads, excluding natural health products or non- prescription drugs, is targeted to come into effect on January 1, 2018, with the prohibition of the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2018. Prohibitions would come into effect for the manufacture and import of exfoliating or cleansing non-prescription drugs and natural health products, (see footnote 10) such as toothpaste that contains plastic microbeads, on July 1, 2018, with a prohibition on the sale or offer for sale of these products by July 1, 2019.

Liberals wouldn’t want manufacturers and retailers of toxic cosmetics to lose their evil/bad investment by having to pull unsold toxic merch’ off the shelves before Canada Day 2019. Is that so when we go to the polls in October, the memory of Liberals freshly banning a toxic product is on the minds of ecologically minded people who missed the history of them dragging their damned heels?

9 months ago I asked them to ban the microbeads now. Instead, the Liberals have opted to Give Pollution A Chance.

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Too Much Climate Change Truth

Brad Wall’s “plan is laughable“. That’s because it isn’t a plan to address climate change, it’s a plan to sweep it under the rug for another decade. Too bad we’re short of time and marching toward oblivion.

Clearly, Wall now thinks we’ve fallen a long way as a province since the early days of his tenure in office — in terms of not only our fiscal situation, but also our generosity as a community.

This week, as part of his laughable excuse for a climate change plan, Wall started demanding that Canada’s federal government strip desperately needed resources away from some of the poorest people on the planet in order to preserve Saskatchewan’s standing as the world’s most reckless air polluter.

If Wall were to get his way, Canada would stand out as the most callous and irresponsible developed country on the planet.

Brad Wall is ignoring reality, for the benefit of greed.

When it comes to climate change, Saskatchewan’s plan is akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.

Premier Brad Wall literally wants to bury our troubles. He wants to dig up fossil fuels and then bury them in another form. Carbon capture and storage might work, for a while. But it will not work near as effectively as just leaving the carbon in the ground in the first place.

A price on carbon will help us slow the rate at which we dig up our future and might enable us the time and opportunity to find a better way to build a sustainable and just society.

The great political theorist John Dryzek labels people like Wall as “Prometheans.” In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. He symbolizes progress. Prometheans such as Wall believe that the story of human history is the story of progress.

They argue that nature has no limits, because once a resource runs out, clever people will find a new resource. Or, in the context of CO2 emissions, if humans hit the upper limit of emissions, someone will figure out a way to solve the problem without actually having to recognize limits. This is because those such as Wall recognize no limits to growth.

This is a rather hubristic position for a premier who oversees a province in which the economy is shrinking and natural resources — from grasslands to migratory birds to fresh water — are disappearing.

Most scientists agree that human generated CO2 emissions are changing the Earth’s climate. Economists, policy-makers, and politicians across the globe agree that a price on carbon is an effective way to reduce human-caused CO2 emissions. This is not a case of either-or. We do not require either technology or the economy. We need both.

We need every tool in the tool box. Saskatchewan needs to continue investing in technology that might help to mitigate climate change. And we all need to invest in adaptation strategies. But we also need to start paying for the environmental externalities associated with CO2 emitting behaviours. A price on carbon is one tool.

This is not an “economy versus the environment” issue, as Wall suggests. The economy is the environment. If Saskatchewan cannot grow lentils anymore because of unpredictable rain patterns, its economy cannot be strong. If there is no water left for hydraulic fracturing because of drought, the economy cannot be strong.

We do not choose between the economy and the environment because they are intertwined.

Wall warned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the other provinces that Saskatchewan “will fight for our interest, in the court of public opinion and, if need be, in the courts of the land.” Wall might win the battle on principle, but Saskatchewan will lose the war on climate change and environmental degradation.

The costs will be greater than we can bear. Now is not the time to bicker over technology or the economy. It is too late. We need to invest in technology and we need to invest in the environment. A national price on carbon will cost real dollars, but it is a small fee for standing on the right side of history.

Andrea Olive is an assistant professor of political science and geography at the University of Toronto. She’s from Regina and has a summer home in Saskatchewan.

What’s Really Going On With Climate Change

There are too many people espousing their uneducated, or simply malicious views about the problem of climate change. There are enough of them in some places as to have totally halted progress against one of the greatest threats facing not only our species, but countless others. It’s equivalent to having spotted an Earth-directed asteroid with perhaps 50 years advance notice, but the urgency to solve the similar problem of climate change is no where close to what we’d expect for that pending disaster.

If you want to understand the problem, there’s this useful guide. Bill McKibben also provided this easy to understand summary of the magnitude of the problem.

[If] our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s a lot of not digging. Most people grew up with the idea of oil prospectors and the image of Jed Clampett getting sprayed with Black Gold is seared into the brains of everyone older than 35. Yet if we don’t stop digging in short years, we all might as well be at the bottom of a see-ment pool.

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We Hear #carbontax Won’t Work But It Will Change Behaviour

Coyne has a point:

Kevin replies, “I’m planning the purchase of a wood stove…”

Would you normally buy a wood stove?

There it is. An admission that the changes behaviour (just not in the way intended for everyone).

As Humans Do

Idle conversation among strangers around the office printer:
-“How are you today?”
“Fine… aside from the problem that the world might end due to climate change one day.”
-“Yes, I keep hearing about that every day. For instance the Great Barrier Reef has been declared dead.”
“Yeah, it’s been around for as long as I can remember.”
– “Millions of years. By the way, do you know if there’s a stapler I can use?”
“Yeah, over there.”
-“Thanks, have a good day.”
“You too.”

Foreseeable Future of Oil

Cameron MacGillivray, the president and CEO of Enform, says he’s not hearing [a year and a half ago] many concerns about the job market of the future. Rather than getting questions about the oil and gas industry prospects, he says he is asked about what kinds of jobs are most in demand and how much opportunity young people have for career advancement in their respective fields. Due to the still-high demand for oil and other fossil fuels in the medium term, and the size of global reserves, he sees them playing a major role in the energy supply chain of tomorrow. “All the indicators are that hydrocarbons are an important source of energy for the foreseeable future,” he says.

Enform is the upstream oil and gas industry’s advocate and leading resource for the continuous improvement of safety performance (training, resources, COR)”

OK, let’s examine MacGillivray’s claim a bit. First, I think it’s crucial you understand to avoid melting our ice caps, and flooding our coastal cities, requires us to remain somewhere below 1.5 degrees C climate change. To avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees means we cannot pollute our atmosphere with Green House Gases (GHGs) past our permissible “carbon budget”. Our carbon budget to hit 2 degrees change is exceeded 5 times over, if we burn the “global reserves” MacGillivray cited. Clearly not “all the indicators” are that hydrocarbons are with us for the “forseeable future”, so long as we accept that we must not burn them all in order to save some of civilization’s greatest cities.

#NDEW2016

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A Tax on Everything Is Coming

Run for the hills!

I realize several people who I’m friends with, think Premier Wall is great for Saskatchewan. I’ve never held a high opinion of the man, I think he’s arrogant, short sighted, and nothing close to a “man of the people” that he pretends to be. When was the last time you were invited to Bilderberg as he is?

For a decade we’ve endured his constant fiscal mismanagement of our province, giving us deficit budget after deficit budget, and what do we have to show for it? Our boom/bust economy is still so fragile, that Wall admits a $10/tonne #carbontax might cripple it, even though that’s the equivalent to a 2.4 cent/L gasoline price increase by reasonable calculations.

People who live in Regina may remember the last mayor refusing to raise property taxes. Not so hard when property values were stagnant, but then 2006/7 came around, and prices doubled or tripled here. Without the benefit of incremental changes, many were caught with their pants down.

Now the same has happened with the Liberals back in Ottawa, and with 10 years of Conservative stagnation on incremental environmental pollution controls, we’re going to experience a little sticker shock when we have to buy the next generation of technology to get by in the changing world.

There will be a lot of fear and ignorance on display, but what else could we expect after the Conservatives paid (using our tax money) to deliver black and white propaganda to our mailboxes, proclaiming that a “tax on everything” was coming with Dion and Goodale.