You can question the pasteurization of milk, express concern over the safety of common disease vaccinations and doubt the safety of GM foods and incur fewer wraths than if you challenge the holy grail of climate change.
For the record, I side with science on pasteurization, vaccination and biotechnology, but climate change science isn’t in the same league.
Sure the climate is changing. Always has. Yes, human activities are probably having an impact. There are a lot of us. But every weather event now ends up being linked to climate change and somebody uses it to promote their anti-development agenda.
It was dry over much of Western Canada this summer – forest fires, shriveled crops – just the sort of ammunition the anti-development crowd loves. “We can expect more of this as the climate continues to change,” they love to say.
Lots of factors go into a heavy forest fire season and in the agricultural area we’ve seen droughts of far bigger scale and longevity. The heavy rain that recently hit much of Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba was unusual for the end of July, but it wasn’t epic.
If the climate is really going to hell in a handbasket shouldn’t world food production be declining? To date, better production technology and farming practices have more than counterbalanced any perceived climate effects.
The experts have trouble predicting the weather two weeks from now. A seasonal forecast is little better than a coin toss. Will 2016 be another drier than normal year over much of the Prairies? No one really knows, but whatever happens you can be sure it will be attributed to climate change.
Is the long term climate trend hotter and drier, or hotter and wetter, or perhaps hotter with more variability in precipitation? Climate change advocates love that last one. Rather than tying themselves to a trend, they can point to any climate deviation as proof positive.
Climate change hysteria is being used as a club to beat the fossil fuel industry into submission. Oil shouldn’t be extracted from the ground. It shouldn’t be moved by pipelines. It shouldn’t be sold to other countries. It’s ruining the climate, don’t you know?
For the sake of the planet, Canada should do the right thing and withdraw from oil production even if that cripples the economy. Just because oil from other countries would fill the void with little or no net effect on emissions is seldom mentioned.
A surprising number of people are happy every time big, bad oil is vilified, but very few people want to make any personal sacrifice.
Reducing fossil fuel consumption is a worthy objective worldwide and as Canadians we should do our part. That doesn’t mean shutting down the industry; it means reducing personal consumption.
One of the best policy tools would be a carbon tax. We can debate the size of the tax and how it should be applied, but if you really want to curb fossil fuel use, put a tax on it and dedicate the money collected to developing renewable options.
The idea is about as popular as a skunk at a summer barbeque. People want big oil to be sacrificed on the climate change altar. They don’t want to make any sacrifice themselves.
During the upcoming federal election campaign, expect all of the political parties to give lip service to addressing climate change. Don’t expect any of them to be brave enough to advocate a carbon tax.