Englishmen warned of midday sun
The sweet relief of cool summer nights that reliably arrived on Canada’s East Coast each August were mostly postponed, likely until September.
Sure, it’s been hot down here, but nothing compared to the West Coast which is on fire, literally.
Summer 2018 will be remembered for the loss of Aretha and other great ladies, but a footnote should be added for the unprecedented warning to Englishmen – in England, mind you – to stay out of the midday sun. Mad dogs, as always, were left alone.
Sept. 1 was the deadline for provinces and territories to get their carbon reduction homework in to Ottawa. The federal government threatens to impose a carbon tax on the laggards effective Jan. 1, 2019.
As one deadline passes, and another nears, Canada is a mixed-up hot mess on the matter of carbon pricing.
In Atlantic Canada, every provincial government has assured its citizenry that its carbon plan, like Goldilocks’ third bowl of porridge, will be just right.
The made-at-home plans run the gamut from vague in Nova Scotia and P.E.I., to mysterious in Newfoundland and unacceptable in New Brunswick, where a provincial election now underway seems likely to return the Liberal government and its not-good-enough-for-Ottawa carbon reduction program.
Canadian Conservatives and their provincial cousins, most of whom stubbornly cling to the ‘progressive’ qualifier despite mounting evidence that it’s anachronistic, are unequivocally opposed to carbon pricing, and have taken to framing Ottawa’s plan as a massive tax grab that won’t reduce carbon emissions.
Most economists and more environmentalists disagree, but what do they know? Opposing carbon pricing in all its forms is good politics. Just ask Doug Ford in Ontario or Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, who have teamed up to challenge the federal right to tax carbon in court.
Alberta said it was leaving the federal plan Friday, when Premier Rachel Notley said Alberta’s out until it gets the Tran Mountain pipeline moving again.
That leaves, at last count, British Columbia and Quebec with functioning carbon pricing regimes, and Manitoba scheduled to sign on this month.
In Alberta, voters will get a chance to turn the heat up next spring when Jason Kenny’s United Conservatives will try to pummel NDP Premier Rachel Notley with a ‘less-tax-more-oil’ election platform.
This week, into this fractious fray rode a hardy and slightly quixotic band of altruists with a manifesto they called the 2030 Declaration. The eclectic mix of environmentalists, social justice advocates and organized labour called on the Nova Scotia government to set the provincial greenhouse gas reduction target at 50 per cent below 1990 emission levels and achieve the target by 2030.
The province’s current objective is to reduce emissions to 46 per cent below 2005 levels, also by 2030.
The Declaration ascribes significant economic and social benefits to a low-carbon economy, it says must also redress “the structural inequities of race, gender, income, and the ongoing impacts of colonization and environmental racism in our province.”
More than two dozen organizations collaborated on the Declaration, which came about in part because the provincial government failed to consult Nova Scotians on its cap-andtrade scheme. The signatories cite research that suggests their more aggressive emission reductions could create 30,000 jobs in Nova Scotia.
In all of this are a couple of certainties, that nevertheless remain in dispute.
The first is that climate change has arrived and is causing real and growing damage to the planet and the life that depends on it.
The second is that here in Canada, the climate change battle lines are being drawn along the partisan political divides that threaten to make the fight about taxes rather than a survivable future.
A year ago, an essay in New York magazine titled The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells, was widely cited and more widely criticized as alarmist. He acknowledged he was presenting a worst-case scenario, but the censure persisted.
Last month, Wallace-Wells was back in New York magazine with a piece titled How Did the End of the World Become Old News? Its focus is media self-censorship that manifests as an aversion to link extreme weather events to climate change.
It is an aversion to get past, as is the way the climate’s become hostage to political agendas in Canada.