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Soaring into failure

11 Dec 2019 | News Roundup

According to the latest federal Throne Speech, “Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action — or inaction — on the defining challenge of the time: climate change”. If so we’re all going to hang, at least in effigy, because as National Post columnist Chris Selley notes, a recent survey “found that 46 per cent of Canadians were willing to contribute precisely $0 per year to fight climate change. Almost no one was willing to pay what the government says the carbon tax costs the average family even as it stands.” And it turns out political will isn’t all you need to make greenhouse gas emissions just go away; the even-more climate-minded EU just said it won’t meet its 2030 GHG reduction target even though its leaders all think it’s the defining challenge blah blah blah. Or at least they claim they do.

Now it might be thought that nothing in the Throne Speech deserves sufficient attention even to be ridiculed. For instance, the blather Chris Selley quoted in the National Post said that “Canadians have sent a clear message: from young people to seniors, they want their Parliamentarians to work together on the issues that matter most to them” is absurd because “the inevitable tragedy of our vast dominion is that what matters to some Canadians is often in violent conflict with what matters to other Canadians.”

Indeed, the reason we have competitive elections among different parties, and not just in Canada, is that people do not agree about what should be done, let alone how. As you’d think people who just contested an election would know. That the Liberals believe Canadians with one voice endorsed what they wanted to do anyway is especially odd given the level of Western alienation.

Ah, but what of climate? Sierra Youth president Megan Sutton just put out a press release (not currently available online) saying of the Madrid UN climate gabfest "The climate strikes this fall demonstrate there is massive support for dealing with climate change as an emergency. During our recent federal election, Canadians voted for climate action. Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Wilkinson is millions of Canadians stand with you and want a liveable future - now is the time for Canada to lead on climate."

The Throne Speech seemed to agree, saying “A clear majority of Canadians voted for ambitious climate action now”. Except for all the people who would consider a nickel too high a price to pay for it.

If you really believe climate change is the defining issue, you will obviously take bold action, if necessary steamrolling members of the public as well as mewling opposition MPs. So what’s the Liberal plan? Um uh gee well maybe a small increase in the carbon tax …

Canadians like to think there’s a uniquely Canadian angle to everything. But actually the situation abroad is very like the situation here when it comes to climate. As Global News reports, “The European Union said Wednesday that it will likely miss its target for reducing greenhouse gases by 2030, dealing a blow to the bloc’s efforts to be a leader in the fight against climate change.” Global is all gung ho about those targets, of course, hewing to the party line about “emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming pollutants”. But such rhetoric cannot conceal the reality: The European Environment Agency said the EU is on track to reduce GHGs by about 30% by 2020 compared to 1990. But it is pledged to a 40% reduction “and some leaders have called for this target to be raised to 55%”. We missed the target? Move it further away.

Climate Home News notes with a bizarre mix of dour resignation and fiery enthusiasm that “As Greta Thunberg’s yacht lands in Lisbon and climate diplomats scrap over arcana in Madrid, there is a sense of two worlds about to collide at COP25. Talk to young people, or any of the new, emboldened breed of climate activists inspired by the young Swede and there is an expectation these UN talks must be the moment we turn the tide on climate change. That is a long way from the reality of climate diplomats, who know all too well the limitations of the process they inhabit.”

All those climate diplomats and their allies in business and bureaucracy are slowly waking up to the realization that they are no longer in charge. The decades-long tightrope walk in which they borrowed the lingo of the alarmists long enough to convince them to tone down their protests while satisfying the demands of the plurality who want to pay precisely $0 for climate policy are coming to an end. Thunberg and her handlers are in charge now, happy to save the day even at the awkward cost of relying on a yacht whose skipper flew across the Atlantic to save her. The press, of course, is all aglow too: “CBC Kids News” (yes, it’s a thing) reports from Madrid that “’Current EU leaders are the last generation that can prevent the climate breakdown,’ said Wendel Trio, director of the campaign group Climate Action Network Europe.”

Sadly, in pursuit of this last-ditch effort to save humanity even these leaders will take any measures short of action. Clearly they love to pose as Captain Planet but they simply don’t believe what they are saying. If they did, if they honestly thought humanity stood on the brink, they would take drastic action.

So the question arises, what happens next? When the radicals are finally in charge and even they can’t deliver, what option is left for the extremists? As for the politicians, if not even they believe what they say, why should we?

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