Trudeau, McKenna are ‘re­al­ity de­niers’

Ottawa Sun - - COMMENT - LOR­RIE GOLD­STEIN

The Trudeau govern­ment loves to call Cana­di­ans who do not be­lieve in the science of man-made global warm­ing, “cli­mate de­niers.”

The prob­lem is, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter Cather­ine McKenna and the Lib­er­als are “re­al­ity de­niers”. That is, they sim­ply refuse to ac­knowl­edge re­al­ity.

They claim Canada will meet its Paris cli­mate agree­ment com­mit­ment, made by Trudeau in De­cem­ber, 2015, to re­duce our in­dus­trial green­house gas emis­sions to 30% be­low 2005 lev­els by 2030.

That means Trudeau, McKenna et al. are claim­ing that with Canada’s emis­sions hav­ing gone up by 33 mega­tonnes an­nu­ally in the seven years be­tween 2009 and 2015, they can re­duce them by 205 mega­tonnes an­nu­ally in the 15 years be­tween 2016 and 2030.

That’s a fan­tasy. A 205-mega­tonne an­nual re­duc­tion means we would fall short of our tar­get even if the govern­ment wiped out the equiv­a­lent of Canada’s en­tire oil and gas sec­tor (189 mega­tonnes an­nu­ally) by 2030.

But the re­al­ity de­nial of Trudeau, McKenna, et al. doesn’t end there.

Let’s imagine pigs can fly and that Canada un­der the Lib­er­als will reach its 2030 Paris tar­get in low­er­ing our emis­sions.

Let’s imagine all 195 coun­tries that signed the Paris deal will meet their 2030 tar­gets, even though none of these tar­gets is en­force­able un­der the deal.

Let’s imagine the U.S. — the world’s sec­ond-largest emit­ter — will reach its 2030 tar­get un­der the Paris agree­ment, even though Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has an­nounced the U.S. is with­draw­ing from it.

Even with all that, the United Na­tions, which crafted the Paris deal, es­ti­mates the av­er­age global tem­per­a­ture would rise 3C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els, well be­yond the 2C in­crease the Paris deal warns is the up­per limit of ac­cept­able warm­ing and dou­ble its “as­pi­ra­tional” goal of 1.5C.

As the Guardian re­ported in Novem­ber, 2016: “The (UN) report found that emis­sions by 2030 were likely to reach about 54 to 56 gi­ga­tonnes of car­bon diox­ide equiv­a­lent a year, a long way (from) the 42 gi­ga­tonnes a year likely to be the level at which warm­ing ex­ceeds 2C.”

So even if ev­ery nation on Earth reached its 2030 tar­get, all the Paris deal does, ac­cord­ing to cli­mate science, is doom us to cat­a­strophic warm­ing.

Trudeau, McKenna et al. argue Paris is merely a foun­da­tional agree­ment to get ev­ery coun­try on the same page and that its tar­gets and time­lines will be­come tougher (and pre­sum­ably en­force­able) in the fu­ture.

Which brings us to the third ex­am­ple of how Trudeau, McKenna et al. deny re­al­ity.

That’s be­cause global emis­sions are be­ing un­der-counted by sig­na­to­ries to the Paris agree­ment.

A BBC ra­dio in­ves­ti­ga­tion called “Car­bon Count­ing” air­ing this month con­cludes many coun­tries, in­clud­ing ma­jor emit­ters like China and In­dia, are likely un­der re­port­ing emis­sions of some green­house gases by up to 100%, and “these flaws pose a big­ger threat to the Paris cli­mate agree­ment” than Trump’s with­drawal.

The last refuge of the Trudeau-McKenna re­al­ity de­niers is that we have to do some­thing, hence the need for car­bon pric­ing.

But car­bon pric­ing, while it is mak­ing life more ex­pen­sive for Cana­di­ans, will not lower our emis­sions to any­where near our 2030 Paris tar­get.

To do so it would have to be set so high it would cause a mas­sive re­ces­sion.

In­stead, Trudeau, McKenna et al. sim­ply refuse to ad­mit what car­bon pric­ing is — a cash grab from be­lea­guered Cana­di­ans, mas­querad­ing as a cam­paign to save the planet.

That’s what makes them re­al­ity de­niers.

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