B.C. Views – The inconvenient truths of climate change

Provincial columnist Tom Fletcher takes a look at what's on the table at COP21.

Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Mary Polak have joined the thousands of jet-setters in Paris to once again stage negotiations for a global climate treaty.

The embarrassing failures of these United Nations events, such as the one in Lima, Peru last year, have been forgotten. Canadian TV only showed file images of an effigy of Stephen Harper receiving a “fossil of the day” award for his alleged failure to rein in Canada’s two per cent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

Now Justin Trudeau leads our biggest-ever delegation to COP21, as the Paris meeting is called.

Trudeau hasn’t even begun to develop a plan for Canada, asking provinces to come up with their own first, but he’s already hailed as a visionary. This is similar to the newly elected Barack Obama, who modestly predicted in 2008 that history would record his win as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Perhaps Obama wasn’t completely full of CO2, since in this century, global temperatures have increased by only about a fourth of what UN climate models predicted. This 20-year slowdown of the long run of post-Ice Age warming, which has dominated most of the last 10,000 years, is referred to as the “pause” or “hiatus.” It is usually explained away with reference to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or other long-term warming and cooling trends in oceans.

Other countries have put new emission reduction proposals on the table for COP21. Danish environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg did the math, and concluded that if every major emitting country keeps its word this time, the total of all their efforts would reduce global warming by about 0.2 degrees by 2100.

What? A statistically meaningless decrease after 85 years of energy austerity? That Lomborg, he’s just a “denier,” trying to get more publicity. Oh wait, here’s a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that finds the same thing – two tenths of a degree by 2100.

Wobbly climate models aren’t the only problem for global warming alarmists. NASA recently confirmed that contrary to UN projections, total ice mass in Antarctica is increasing. This is much more likely to slow sea level rise than an Obama or Trudeau speech.

Arctic ice, meanwhile, is rebounding rapidly after receding in recent years. And while UN climate conferences always cause a spike in sightings of people wearing polar bear suits, here’s another inconvenient truth.

B.C. polar bear researcher Susan Crockford reports that the world bear population is up to 26,500, a 50-year high. That Crockford, she’s just a denier…. Oh wait, the International Union for Conservation of Nature “Red List” says that’s about right, and the population trend is no longer “decreasing” but is now “unknown.”

None of this is to deny that our climate is warming, or that the Industrial Revolution and carbon fuel use are part of the picture. It’s the religious zeal, misuse of data and attacks on skeptics that are troubling.

B.C. already leads the country with its small but broad-based carbon tax, about which Clark will boast at every opportunity in Paris. We won’t see the B.C. Liberal government’s final “Climate 2.0” plan until next spring, but their advisory committee wants to start jacking up the carbon tax in 2018.

Northern and Interior B.C. folks are assured they will receive bigger rebates to reflect the fact that they pay more carbon tax to drive long distances in the cold.

And B.C.’s aggressive 2020 greenhouse gas target? The government admits we’re not going to make that, because the economy is growing.

 

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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