Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tours General Fusion reactor prototype in Burnaby last week.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tours General Fusion reactor prototype in Burnaby last week.

Outlook cloudy for climate policies

Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Christy Clark and even the Pope have grandiose ideas about saving the planet

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau came to Vancouver last week to unveil his environmental platform for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Trudeau promised an overhaul of the National Energy Board and a vaguely defined intention to work with provinces to impose a “price” on carbon dioxide emissions across the country.

Trudeau’s media tour took him to the Burnaby facilities of General Fusion, where, like Premier Christy Clark a few weeks before, he stood at his podium before a prototype fusion reactor. This massive octopus of pistons and wires is an attempt to capture the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun and other stars, containing its fury within steel walls and magnetic fields.

The old joke about controlled fusion is that every 20 years, scientists tell us it’s just 20 years away. If it ever is developed, such a process could quickly put an end to our hand-wringing about fossil fuels, largely replacing them with endless, emission-free energy.

This is the type of technological revolution that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s officials indicated would be needed, after Canada announced a pledge with other G7 leaders to make their economies carbon-free by 2100. That’s right, some time within the next 85 years.

Clark visited General Fusion in May to announce her new climate action advisory panel, which has to give her a plan to take to Paris next December. That’s the next big United Nations climate summit, where Trudeau hopes to lead a delegation of premiers to stop the flow of “fossil awards” given to Canada by people in polar bear suits.

Asked about the fusion reactor she had just toured, Clark laughed off the question, comparing it to the “flux capacitor” used for time travel in the Michael J. Fox movie Back to the Future.

Trudeau recently told university students that we need to change our concepts of time and space, and he didn’t seem to be kidding.

The point here for voters is that all these leaders – Harper, Trudeau, Clark and many others – are talking down to you. You aren’t sophisticated enough to understand this climate business.

The Pope has weighed in, assuring us that carbon trading systems are not going to cut it. This is a rebuke to California, Quebec and the European Union, where effective carbon trading is, like controlled fusion, just around the corner.

Pope Francis warned that our “throwaway culture” views nature “solely as a source of profit and gain” and so people won’t voluntarily do the right thing. (The results of the Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite could be interpreted this way, if you ignore the bumbling, waste and political posturing that really did it in.)

The Pope concludes that there is “an urgent need” for a “true world political authority” to impose order on the greedy capitalist humans that infest our beautiful planet. Presumably this would be run by the UN, so my advice is to start hoarding candles and cat food now.

B.C.’s frozen carbon tax has ceased to have much effect, with gasoline consumption back up over 2008 levels amid the usual volatility of prices. Gasoline is going for around $1.30 a litre, despite the prolonged slump in crude oil prices, and people have basically forgotten about this tax on top of all the other gas taxes.

Perhaps B.C. can brag in Paris about the Pacific Carbon Trust, which limps along as a government department after its near-death experience in 2013.

The program continues to divert tax dollars from B.C. government operations to purported carbon-saving activities, including paying coastal First Nations not to log the portions of forests that they demanded be preserved.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Inez Louis opens up about testing positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 3, 2020. (Inez Louis/Facebook)
Juno-nominated singer and Indigenous health planner goes public about testing positive for COVID-19

In a livestream from bed, Inez Louis begs everyone to ‘do the right thing’ and follow health orders

Former Hope resident Jason Thomas Graff is set to be sentenced on charges of telecommunicating to lure a child and posession of child pornography at the Chilliwack Law Courts Jan. 28. (File photo)
Former Hope resident to be sentenced for child luring in Chilliwack court

Sentencing Jan. 28 at Chilliwack Law Courts following offences in Hope, Vancouver Island

A black-capped chickadee tolerates the 40 below zero weather. (File)
Harrison Christmas Bird Count taking flight

Local bird watchers help with worldwide bird tracking effort

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon (Dec. 3) after an inmate escaped from corrections officers. The man was taken back into custody a short while later. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
UPDATE: Prisoner shot at by guards in Abbotsford had history of escapes

Stephane Bissonnette escapes from corrections officers, but is arrested a short while later

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read