Not re­al­is­tic

The use­less­ness of Canada’s cur­rent cli­mate alarmism

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Lorne GUNTER [email protected]­ @sun­lorne­gunter

With nearly ev­ery can­di­date in the cur­rent fed­eral elec­tion kow­tow­ing at the Al­tar of Cli­mate Doom (and an in­creas­ing num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils declar­ing “cli­mate emer­gen­cies”), it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand just how use­less it would be even if we sac­ri­ficed Canada’s en­tire econ­omy in an at­tempt to save the planet.

There is no prac­ti­cal way to re­duce our car­bon emis­sions by 30 per cent be­low their lev­els in 2005 or reach “net zero” emis­sions by 2030 or even 2050.

That makes ev­ery party’s cli­mate com­mit­ments mean­ing­less, since all of them (ex­cept the Peo­ple’s Party) have pledged (roughly) to achieve one or the other of these two goals.

But say it was pos­si­ble to re­duce car­bon diox­ide pro­duc­tion so dras­ti­cally, just what would that re­quire?

We could stop ev­ery new pipe­line ever dreamt up by oil com­pa­nies (and un­der the Trudeau Lib­er­als that is ef­fec­tively what Ot­tawa has done), but that wouldn’t even come close.

We could pro­hibit the use of ev­ery ve­hi­cle in Canada — and I mean ev­ery one. Ev­ery bus, car, pickup, semi, train, boat, air­plane and trac­tor. No more com­mut­ing to work or school, no more mech­a­nized farm­ing (oxen any­one?), no more de­liv­er­ies to gro­cery stores, no more trips any­where you couldn’t walk or bike. Noth­ing.

Even if we did that, we would only reach two-thirds of the goals pledged by our il­lus­tri­ous po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.

We’d also have to stop build­ing any and all new build­ings. That, com­bined with shut­ting down all trans­porta­tion, might help us ful­fill our prom­ises.

Stop­ping all oil and gas pro­duc­tion wouldn’t do it ei­ther. (Be­sides it would be dif­fi­cult to heat our homes in the mid­dle of a Cana­dian win­ter us­ing just dung-burn­ing stoves.)

If we stopped all agri­cul­ture AND all man­u­fac­tur­ing, that, too, would only get us two-thirds of the way there. Turn­ing off all elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion gets us only half­way.

So the eco prom­ises of our po­lit­i­cal party’s (ex­cept the PPC) are so fan­tas­ti­cal they’re mean­ing­less. Never go­ing to hap­pen.

Con­sider that in four years un­der the green­erthan-thou Lib­er­als, Canada has in­creased it’s CO2 pro­duc­tion by roughly as much as it in­creased in the last four years of the Harper gov­ern­ment.

But let’s play-act at be­ing a Cana­dian po­lit­i­cal leader for a sec­ond and pre­tend we could re­turn Cana­di­ans’ stan­dard of liv­ing to mid-19th Cen­tury lev­els — with­out heated hos­pi­tals or read­ing lamps or paved roads, tele­vi­sions, re­frig­er­a­tors and phones.

Even if we turned out all the lights and shut down all the life-sav­ing ma­chines, Canada’s con­tri­bu­tion to global car­bon diox­ide is so small that our so­ci­ety-wide suf­fer­ing and low­ered life ex­pectancy would do noth­ing to stop cli­mate change.

For one thing, man-made green­house gas emis­sions are only three per cent to five per cent of the world­wide an­nual to­tal. The rest (95 per cent or more) comes from natural sources such as oceans, de­cay­ing plants and car­casses and other natural pro­cesses.

Of that small amount, Canada con­trib­utes just 1.6 per cent — a tiny frac­tion of a tiny frac­tion.

If all the green­house gases in the at­mos­phere were a case of 24 one-litre wa­ter bot­tles, CO2 would be one bot­tle. The man­made con­tri­bu­tion would be 50 ml and Canada’s con­tri­bu­tion would be 0.8 ml — less than half a thim­ble­ful. (The whole at­mos­phere — green­house and non-green­houses gases — would be 2,400 bot­tles.)

Do you hon­estly think shut­ting down ma­jor in­dus­tries and rad­i­cally al­ter­ing our lifestyles to pre­vent the pro­duc­tion of one-sixth of a thim­ble­ful of CO2 is re­ally go­ing to save the Earth?

Or is it merely go­ing to let us feel morally smug as we sit in our cold, dark shacks dy­ing from eas­ily pre­ventable dis­eases?

Con­sider that China, the world’s largest emit­ter, con­trib­utes some­where be­tween 10 and 15 times as much CO2 as Canada does. And it has added an amount equiv­a­lent to our en­tire pro­duc­tion ev­ery three to four years.

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