Wall’s Government Denies Climate Change

Wall had the Lieutenant Governor read to the Legislature that opposition to climate change is a “misguided dogma” in his throne speech.

https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/tell-saskatchewan-s-premier-to-stop-denying-climate-change-and-act

The Premier and the Sask Party are making it government policy that a contributing factor in the wildfires that caused thousands of refugees to flee their homes last year in Saskatchewan, is actually a hoax intended to harm our economy. A misguided dogma contributed to the partial razing of Fort MacMurrray, chasing almost a hundred thousand people from their homes and jobs?

“Lots of talk about the environment,” Wall grumbled [at COP21] in Paris. “But not a lot of talk about the economy right now.”

That’s Wall’s usual response whenever climate change comes up: portray the issue as a false choice between the environment and the economy.

But even Wall’s old friend Preston Manning thinks that line of argument is tired and worn out.

Let’s entertain Wall’s ridiculous claim for a moment, and say that climate change and shifting to a low-carbon economy are not based in reality. What is his government doing with official webpages devoted to something he now claims is not real? Is his “God bless” multiple times at the end of his speech not enough evidence that he’s actually a fan of some dogma not based in reality?

“In a world where China and India are going to continue to build new coal (plants), we think that Canada can contribute to the global effort on climate change by cleaning it up, making it cleaner than natural gas even,” said Wall.

Why has Wall spent $1,500,000,000 on purportedly reducing climate change gas emissions to clean what he yesterday claimed is a “misguided dogma’ designed to rob people of work? From his misguided, indefensible perspective, is he admitting to investing over a billion dollars into a job stealing scam?

From a Government webpage:
Wall said CCS has a pivotal role to play in the mitigation of climate change […]”, “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.

On CBC:
“I don’t know how Saskatchewan can be an outlier in this when we are offering a potential solution,” to “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

What’s the Premier’s reaction to being called out for his attack on climate science, and the people supporting action based on it? More defiance in supposed defence of carbon burning jobs that help make us a world leader in emissions per capita.

His speech tone was very much like the one he uses when talking with Big Oil executives, and unlike the more balanced tone when speaking more publicly with people less biased toward carbon-burning industries.
I was reminded of this gaffe:

Head In The Tarsand

When an out of control fire roars toward you, it’s totally fine to stick your head (and the rest of you) into the sand, in a fireproof shelter preferably. After the fire passes, you’ve got to come out and ask what the heck happened, and why.

Facebook has been bustling with people talking about the tragic fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The partially razed city is the epicenter or Mecca of Canadian Conservative politics (not Calgary which is simply the more urbanized version of Fort Mac and area). It’s been booming for years and years, but with the glut of OPEC oil, and the resulting price slump, it’s been going bust. The ravages of fire are kicking a city that already is down and maybe on its way out.

The Politically Correct thing in Conservative western Canada is to not mention the fire’s connection to the global disaster For Mac is infamous for contributing to: climate change. For the love of dog, don’t you dare mention holding an opinion that we should use much much less oil. You might as well suggest someone breathe less deeply, when you see the insult on their face for having suggested it. After all, you breathe too, so why would you say such a thing?

Conservatives preach about “personal responsibility”, no? There are victims of crimes and perpetrators of them, and everyone else. In a crime against an oppressed demographic, observe how many people suggest her clothing was a contributing factor; personal responsibility, eh? Claiming the Fort Mac refugees are completely blameless for their economic situation is an affront to Conservative values and saying they don’t deserve compassion and help from government is an affront to socialist values. There’s a middle ground available somewhere between shutting up, and praying your heart out on Facebook.

Saying the fire is unrelated to politics and our economy is what politicized the tragedy.
Suggesting there is no cause also implies we can’t mitigate it to stop future evacuations.

The following is from Facebook, in response to some of these thought listed above.

Elizabeth Todd:The NDP government in Alberta just cut millions in forest fire budget. As SK did before our wildfires last year. When climate scientists have been predicting droughts and increased wildfires.

And to make up for the costs of these events our government made cuts to education and health care. This is just shitty planning that they can get away with because it is politically incorrect to talk root causes and how we plan to address issues. It is political that we are paying for climate change disasters with frontline workers, cuts to research chairs, and cuts to maintenance workers.

Its political to ignore the causes of these events. It’s also not very political, but very human to want to find out why something awful happened in order to prevent it from happening to more people.

The boreal and other forests around the world are burning like this, McMurray isn’t the exception, this is going to become the new rule if we don’t get serious about a transition to green energy.

And yes, it’s not really the workers in the patch, but they do tend to vote for oil politicians in droves and so do their families and communities because the oilfield companies frame environmental concerns as attacks on workers. Which is very effective.

And even if they don’t vote for oil politicians, the NDP is still promoting pipelines- infrastructure that guarantees decades of tar sands expansion.

Guilt is useless and a conversation around whether we- I myself, you over there- are dependent on fossil fuels doesn’t mean we have to consent to this kind of future or should feel guilty if we use the stuff. We are politically and economically hooked on it and our current state of politics has us debating whether our dependence on oil means we have to be ok with it, rather than planning the transition in our communities and demanding the government support these plans.

Its also just difficult to read about evacuees being hosted in Fort McKay and being surprised to learn that the First Nation there can’t drink their water due to fossil fuel development.

This moment of crisis goes back much further than the city of Fort McMurray burning and the moment we can move from a debate about whether we should have this debate, to a debate about what we are going to do about the issues will be the moment I actually believe that the chorus of people de-politicizing this moment actually give a damn about what happened to the people in McMurray.

Empathy without analysis and strategy is just charity. It wont stop the next blaze.

We could hold our comments about the destruction of another Canadian community in reverence of the families hurt, and for political correctness, or we could simply start talking about another tragedy contributed to by poor planning, budget cuts, and our non-renewable, fossil fuel economy driven global crisis. Lac Megantic, Slave Lake, La Ronge, which disaster shall it be if not the relevant one going on now in Fort Mac?

Trudeau on Forest Fire Tragedy

The Prime Minister spoke about forest fires’ connection to climate change at a community affected by a massive evacuation due in part to climate change.

“The reality of climate change is that we’re going to see more and more extreme weather events and we need to make sure that as a country we’re properly equipped to deal with these challenges.”

Trudeau said he expects a better collaboration between all levels of government on resources, training and funding when it comes to fires.

Fast forward a few months to this week.

Responding to comments made earlier, Trudeau said May’s suggestion that the disaster was “very related to the global climate crisis” was neither helpful, nor accurate. […]

“It’s well known that one of the consequences of climate change will be a greater prevalence of extreme weather events around the planet,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference.

“However, any time we try to make a political argument on one particular disaster, I think it’s a bit of shortcut that can sometimes not have the desired outcome. There have always been fires.

Yeesh.

The Trudeau government was also advised when it was sworn in last November that wildfires were getting worse. The bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada told their new minister, Jim Carr, that governments across the country hadn’t provided enough funding to help communities prepare for the worst.

The provincial, territorial and federal governments developed a Canadian Wildlands Fire Strategy in 2005, calling for “more resilient communities, improving fire management approaches to balance ecological integrity with protection of life and property, and implementing modern business practices.”

But Carr was told that governments didn’t invest enough money to support that strategy in the last decade.

“Governments remain supportive of the Strategy, but progress towards implementation over the past decade has been limited, primarily due to fiscal constraints,” said briefing notes, prepared for Carr.

“The frequency and severity of wild land fires have been trending upwards in the past few decades and summer 2015 was particularly severe. As a result, there have been calls from the public, communities and provinces for increased federal involvement in wildfire management.”

David Schindler, a University of Alberta scientist who studies the ecology of inland bodies of water, said there have been increasingly favourable conditions for forest fires in recent years. He noted that climate scientists have been predicting the increase in forest fires for at least a decade.

Despite the obvious drought conditions (we got almost no snow last Winter), the federal government wasn’t warning people of the extreme danger.

Wildfires briefing by mikedesouza
https://www.scribd.com/book/311550761/Wildfires-briefing

Hat tip to Daniel.

Why Did Obama Kill the #KXL Pipeline?

Everything in this article isn’t perfect, but these parts are:

Alberta’s problem is twofold: Its oilsands have been buried by fracked American oil that is both higher-value and cheaper to produce, while longer-term they face marginalization in a world committed to weaning itself off carbon.

So another pipeline isn’t needed; oilsands production won’t be expanding much in the foreseeable future, if it all. Alberta needs to figure out how to make the most of the infrastructure it has in place. Money spent on a pipeline right now would be money wasted. But Notley can’t say that aloud — not while also delivering the bad news on her province’s finances and fighting back against the implications of the so-called Leap Manifesto.

&

“As long as I’m president of the United States,” Obama said as he officially pulled the plug on Keystone XL, “America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.” Now, if Obama really wanted to have an impact on carbon emissions, he would have shut down the 500,000 barrels per day of California heavy crude — which is ‘dirtier’ than oilsands bitumen. He didn’t; he didn’t even mention it.

Canada Falling Behind in Renewable Energy Because It’s Never The Time For Wall

Wall said. “Our principle here … is that we do no further harm to an economy that already has its hands full.”

Canada is dropping behind its major trading partners in renewable energy investment, according to a study from a clean energy advocacy group.

Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada suggests government-set targets and goals for wind and solar power in regional energy grids is the best way to spur that investment and keep Canada in the game.

“Clean energy is taking off around the world and in the countries that we consider our markets,” she said. “This is really a wake-up call for Canada.”

Wall has set an unambitious target of only 50% renewables by 2030.

“Premier Wall said last week that Ottawa might not be allowed to impose a carbon tax on electricity-utility SaskPower, because it’s a provincial Crown corporation.”

Here’s a better effort than some I’ve seen lately* from Regina journalism:

Cenovus Energy — the oil company that most benefits from the $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage experiment at Boundary Dam — is the Sask. Party’s biggest donor. It donated $14,618 to the party in 2014, $16,852 in 2013 and $16,020 in 2012. In its previous existence as Encana, it gave the Sask. Party more than $30,000 between 2007 and 2009.

If Wall is truly appalled by the costs consumers and business might have to pay for a “carbon tax,” shouldn’t he be equally appalled at the way oil companies gouge us at the pumps with near $1-a-litre gas when oil is at $30 to $40 U.S. a barrel?

[Wall’s] Sask. Party government passed (in the spring 2010 session) environmental legislation such as the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act.

… this Saskatchewan law would require large emitters to pay into a technology fund that would invest in technologies aimed at lower emissions. However, the Wall government hasn’t bothered to proclaim the law in regulations, largely because it said it needed to wait on Ottawa to move on its own carbon initiative.

Well, the federal government (now under the Liberals) is moving forward, so Wall owes us a bit more than that he won’t support “a carbon tax” because $30-a-barrel oil is not the right economic climate in which to discuss such laws.

And when the floods and/or forest fires hit Saskatchewan this Summer, it won’t be time to talk about the disasters in the context of climate change from our pollution contribution either. Continue reading

Wall’s Faulty Logic

“Showing leadership matters, signals matter, examples matter, but the numbers are the numbers,” Wall said.

Essentially, Wall appears to be suggesting that because no single action by itself will solve the problem, we shouldn’t take that single action.

Applying this logic to other situations reveals just how faulty it is.

When China surpasses the amount & proportion of green electricity generation of Saskatchewan, who’re we going to use as scapegoat for lagging?