Wednesday, December 05, 2018

A Reckoning Is Coming

Two years ago, Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley reached what Tom Walkom calls a classic Canadian compromise:

The federal government would help Alberta Premier Rachel Notley exploit and transport bitumen from the province’s oilsands. In return she would support Trudeau’s demand for some form of national carbon tax.

In normal circumstances, it should have worked. But the circumstances aren't normal:

The circumstances today are far from normal. Climate change is not simply another blip in federal-provincial relations that can be resolved by, say, changing the equalization formula.
If the scientific consensus is correct, it is a crisis on par with worldwide nuclear war.
Already, climate change is producing unusually severe droughts in some areas and unusually wild storms in others. It threatens to swamp much of Florida. It is melting the Arctic ice.
It has expressed itself through flooding in Europe and devastating wildfires in British Columbia, California and Alberta. It is generally accepted as one of the root causes of the Syrian civil war and is expected to lead to more conflict.

The federal Conservatives and their provincial brethren are ostrichs. They have their heads in the oil sands. Yet they claim that economics is their strong suit. They refuse to recognize that the oil sands are no longer economically viable:

Economically, the oil sands are doomed. In a world awash with cheap shale oil, new tar sands projects are ultimately too expensive to develop — even if the $4.5-billion Trans Mountain pipeline that Ottawa bought to deliver Alberta bitumen to the Pacific coast goes ahead.
Environmentally, they are a disaster — in terms of both the tailing ponds created to store their waste and the carbon emissions they spew into the air.

Our politicians refusing to admit a painful truth. The goo in northern Alberta -- one way or another -- will have to stay in the ground. Coming to terms with that reality is very painful. But, one way or another, a reckoning is coming.

Image: United Church Observer


Lorne said...

I read this article at breakfast this morning, Owen, and all I could think about is what a shame people do not see the truth about Trudeau and McKenna and their empty environmental rhetoric. We seem, along with the rest of the world, to be content to subsist on sweet lies rather than confront bitter truths.

Owen Gray said...

We take comfort in our delusions, Lorne. And those delusions are the source of human

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm glad Walkom has finally come to grasp the enormity of this threat. It is, as he writes, on a scale of a nuclear war. It is our man-made Gotterdammerung. The question that remains is how bad we'll have to be reeling before our federal and provincial leadership change course?

Owen Gray said...

That's precisely the question, Mound. So far, we have refused to face what awaits us.

e.a.f. said...

people won't give up on the tar sands in Alberta, because Alberta wants/needs the jobs. Before Alberta had oil, it was a have not province and they don't want to go back to that

People living in Alberta don't want to give up their life style and standard of living. Now it is understood all of this could go out the window if climate change keeps up. However, right now its happening some where else. Yes, we have forest fires in B.C. and Alberta but we also had fire fighters who put it out and then the insurance companies paid for the re building. It effected people, but not like it has in developing nations where there isn't much help and certainly no insurance.

there would be a real change if insurance companies stopped paying out or there were no forest fire fighters.

There is also the problem of, even if we cleaned up our act, what are the other guys going to do. People don't want to give up what they have while others continue with their polluting. How can you get Canadians to "lower" their standard of living, when China, India, Poland, others keep polluting and do little to nothing. When you look at it, many consider we are only 36 Million, China is 2 billion. so not using straws isn't doing to save the world if its just Canada.

People in Canada haven't learnt yet that you can have a really good life, if you stop buying all that crap and plastic. We would actually save a ton of money. We are one of the most indebted nations, on a personal level in the world. if we stopped all the buying, we'd would save money. You don't need a t.v. in every room to have a decent quality of life, nor do you need a new I phone, etc. every time a new version comes out. the kids do not need a whole room just to keep their toys.

Cut down on consumption, save some money and do a bit for the environment. All that plastic you have is made out of oil

Owen Gray said...

Everything you say is true, e.a.f. Unfortunately, unless and until we come to the realization that we don't need more of everything, the planet will suffer. And we're running out of time.