This past weekend the world’s top climate scientists at the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued a report that emphasizes we must cut back on the burning of coal, oil and natural gas right away to avoid a terrible future for all children, including ours. This means reducing by 50 per cent by 2030 (and to zero by 2100), the removal of coal, bitumen, oil, gas and peat from the ground. If the scientists sound strident it is because they are genuinely scared.
Last year, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million. The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, the oceans were 25 metres higher, the planet two to three degrees Celsius warmer. Downtown Chilliwack is 10 metres above sea level (but the sea won’t reach us in our lifetime).
Solar and wind power have come down enormously in price so that it is estimated in the report that rapid reductions in fossil fuel use and transition to renewables would affect the global growth in the economy by only about 0.04 to 0.14 per cent, per year (still leaving over 1.5 per cent, per year).
Our provincial government is pushing as hard as it can to develop natural gas, and then use vast amounts of energy to liquefy it for export. Our federal government is pushing to develop and export the large bitumen deposit in Alberta (tar sands), which generates a huge amount of carbon dioxide for the amount of useful energy we get out. Even Chilliwack is to get an expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline though the city, carrying diluted bitumen. This month the provincial government just dropped an incentive to buy clean electric cars.
Am I the only one left wondering, when and why we started devaluing scientific findings?