What does action on climate change mean?

Expect more floods with climate change, says federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. With the severe flooding in southern Alberta last year and on both sides of the Saskatchewan–Manitoba boundary this year, climate change alarmists have new ammunition. 


There are also parts of Alberta that are much drier than normal this year. Is that also due to climate change?


In 2013, Western Canada produced the largest crop ever, by a country mile. Is that anomaly also due to climate change? 


Prairie weather has always shown a great deal of variability, from one year to the next and one decade to the next. The 1930s, 1960s and 1980s were noted for frequent dry spells and many drought-reduced crops. The 1950s, 1970s and 1990s were relatively wet.


Years before settlement began, John Palliser proclaimed most of the region unfit for agricultural production and the conclusion was probably correct given the prolonged drought at the time. 


In recent years, we’ve had unprecedented rainfall in many regions, but as far as recorded history goes, we’re a young nation. It’s easy to set new records when there are relatively few years to compare against. 


Climate change proponents claim to have a majority of scientists on their side, but those scientists have done a rotten job correlating climate temperature and precipitation with increased carbon dioxide levels. 


Back in the ’80s, it was called global warming and after the severe prairie drought of 1988, it was easy to believe that hot and dry was the new norm.


Now they call it climate change and there are conflicting reports on whether the earth’s surface is warming or whether temperature increases have stalled. 


Last winter, we had month after month of below normal temperatures. The spring and summer have been cooler than normal as well. Global warming? Climate change?


The real question is whether fossil fuel consumption is significantly adding to any changes. The next question: how should Canada respond? 


We could introduce a carbon tax to discourage fossil fuel consumption. We could shut down the oil sands. We could block pipelines so that oil has to increasingly move by rail, which is more expensive, more dangerous and less environmentally friendly.


That would ravage the Canadian economy and make us all poorer, but would it really make a difference globally? If we had taken drastic measures back in the ‘80s to turn Canada into a “green” economy, would that have prevented recent floods?


The anti-science crowd that denies the safety of the science behind GM crops are often the same people that say science is on their side regarding climate change. In fact, it has become heresy to deny climate change.


Remember when Y2K was a huge threat? The turning of the century was going to cause computer failures worldwide. Planes might fall from the sky. Somehow the experts got it wrong and Y2K was a non-event. 


Unlike Y2K, the climate change theory can never be discredited. Wild and variable weather will continue just as it always has.


If asked, a majority of Canadians would probably say they want action on climate change, but how many would be willing to make economic sacrifices in a world where other countries have done little to reduce total emissions?


It may seem principled for politicians like Mulcair to call for action on climate change, but voters should ask what that means. 


Kevin Hursh is an agricultural journalist, consultant and farmer. He can be reached by e-mail at kevin@hursh.ca.

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  1. mememine69 on

    It means politicians promising to make the weather nicer, and colder.

    Science is 100% certain the planet is not flat and smoking WILL cause cancer and climate blame “believers” exaggerate science’s 32 years of “95%” certainty as an excuse to hate neocons. Only science can be certain not a mob of determined “believers” who fear monger children with sickening childish glee.

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