Conservatives must take into account our pain over the weather

In scholarship, as in politics, timing is everything. And when it comes to the recent Joe Oliver column On the “green pain” that is apparently being inflicted by the Trudeau government, the timing is as bad as it gets. After all, just as the former Harper-era Minister of Finance and Natural Resources was getting poetic about “expensive signs of virtue and moral gestures,” lower British Columbia was being hit by a storm that almost it will certainly end up being the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

As Trevor Tombe, an economist at the University of Calgary, said indicated On Twitter, roughly $ 2 billion to $ 2.5 billion is traded between British Columbia and the rest of Canada per week by road or rail, and that doesn’t include the direct damage associated with all the bridges and highways that have been washed away. By torrential rains. and the flood that followed. “This is huge,” he said.

These are not theoretical damages for future generations or people living in other parts of the world. They are real costs that will be borne right here today, including by businesses and industry. And make no mistake: they are a direct and irrefutable consequence of climate change.

“These are exactly the kinds of bigger challenges that a warmer climate that is sometimes drier, sometimes more humid will bring,” Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and adjunct professor of disaster and emergency management at York University, wrote in one piece for him Globe and mail. “About 130 days after clearing the heat logs by close to 5 C (almost unheard of, as new logs generally outperform old by only tenths of a degree), large portions of the same areas are now under water.”

The sixth evaluation report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in August, even identified so-called “atmospheric rivers” like the one that hit the coast of British Columbia as a growing threat in a warming world. “Therefore, the average and maximum rainfall rates associated with tropical and extratropical cyclones, atmospheric rivers, and severe convective storms will also increase with future warming,” he said.

Conservatives like Oliver will surely say that this is not the time to politicize a tragedy or seek blame, and that we need to focus much more on how we adapt and rebuild. Adaptation is important. But so is a full recognition of the attitudes that have compelled us to take these steps and the enormous financial costs they will impose on current and future generations.

It’s no wonder that people who have spent the last decade denying the reality of climate change or insisting that Canada can’t do anything about it are avoiding accounting for their behavior here.

One wonders, for example, what people whose farmland is now under water think of Oliver’s 2019 column in which he predicted that climate change would actually be well for Canada, especially its agricultural industry. “With improvements in agricultural technology, drought-resistant crops and new harvesting methods, Canada would have a wonderful opportunity to help feed a hungry world … Paradoxically, Canada is imposing onerous costs and regulations to try to prevent what warming up would be beneficial for us. ”

Oliver closed that column with an utterly ironic suggestion that “Canada urgently needs competent leadership rather than dead-end ideological obsessions,” which is as good a recipe for the future of his own party as any that has been offered to date.

Dan Albas, the Conservative Party of Canada’s shadow minister for Environment and Climate Change, is not as aggressive on this issue as Oliver. During an appearance in Power and politics, acknowledged that “climate change is real,” a statement that should be as newsworthy in 2021 as recognizing that gravity does, in fact, exist.

Opinion: If we are going to ask future generations to carry this burden on our behalf, they deserve to know who put it on their shoulders in the first place, writes columnist @maxfawcett. #CPC #cdnpoli #BCStorms

But his own party voted against acknowledging the reality of climate change earlier this year, and Albas voted against a similar movement introduced by then-environment minister Catherine McKenna in 2019. Meanwhile, as the official (and sole) CCP delegate at COP26, he seemed to be much more interested in talking about on behalf of From the oil and gas industry’s ability to continue to produce ever-increasing volumes of fossil fuels that protecting the climate, its products are helping to change.

Albas, then, is somewhere in the third stage of pain over climate change: negotiation. That’s an improvement over fossils like Oliver, who are proudly stuck in the denial and anger stages, but still a long way from where the rest of the population is today. Most Canadians are firmly rooted in the depression stage, while some have already progressed towards accepting our inability to meet our climate goals, yes, but also the cost that will be imposed on future generations.

For a political party that speaks incessantly about the intergenerational injustice associated with deficit spending and government debt, conservatives are strangely quiet when it comes to the environmental debts we are piling up on behalf of their children and grandchildren.

This hypocrisy must be denounced, now more than ever. No, it will not repair the damage in British Columbia or prevent the other climate change disasters that are sure to come. But if we are going to ask future generations to carry this burden on our behalf, they deserve to know who put it on their shoulders in the first place.

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