Opinion

The climate crisis: a lot of hysteria, very little policy solutions

The climate crisis; it’s all everybody seems to be talking about recently.

Lucas Holtvluwer Montreal, QC
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The climate crisis; it’s all everybody seems to be talking about recently.

What’s the reason for such hub-bub you might ask? Well, here in Canada, the latest federal election is underway and so as per usual the topic of climate change and the environment is very much in the forefront.

Down south in the U.S., teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is making waves with her harsh words of warning for leaders who fail to take action to reduce carbon emissions.

Now, what action is she calling for specifically? Well, frankly, she hasn’t laid out anything concrete. To be fair to Greta, she is only 16 and shouldn’t have to come up with all the answers herself. However, advocating for a tangible policy starting point would go along way to helping her cause.

As seems to often be the case with many of the most radical climate activists, their enthusiasm for demonstrating is never matched by their solutions for the looming problem they are raising awareness for.

Canada’s Green Party, headed by longtime climate activist Elizabeth May, opposes the use of nuclear power, despite it being one of the cleanest and most efficient energy sources available.

At a provincial level, the Ontario NDP, another party that says it is very concerned about the effects of climate change, has also taken an anti-nuclear stance, instead preferring to fight climate change through an expanded carbon tax.

Their federal cousins don’t fair much better when it comes to finding ways to substantially reduce global carbon emissions. While Jagmeet Singh’s NDP do offer miniscule climate policy proposals like promoting zero emission vehicles and ending fossil fuel subsidies, the reality is that they have no concrete way of curbing global emissions.

The same goes for the rest of the federal parties as well. The Liberal’s carbon tax will do nothing but make life more expensive for Canadians unless it is implemented on a global scale. The likelihood of that being done, particularly in China and India, the world’s two biggest emitters, is slim to none.

The Conservative Party’s approach, while less punitive and more practical, is a long-term project relying on improved green tech and an increase in clean Canadian energy exporting. If the climate is truly in crisis and we only have 11 years left to save it as the U.N. says, this policy won’t cut it either.

The city of Edmonton is certainly heeding the U.N.’s dire warning. A state of climate emergency was declared by the City of Edmonton last month as part of its plan to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

Edmonton’s mayor Don Iveson said this was a clear wake up call for people to take immediate action and accept the crisis the city and the world faces.

“This is an emergency and it requires our attention and our urgent care at the local level as well as the national and planetary level to respond to this crisis because the clock is ticking and we don’t have long.”

Councillor Jon Dziadyk was one of the three councillors who voted against the motion. Speaking to The Post Millennial he said “The Edmonton Climate Emergency declaration was unnecessary and following trends of other cities does not show true leadership. I am worried that the “emergency” will be used as justification for aggressive and costly green projects that the public would not otherwise accept.”

The declaration is accompanied by a new plan that will update the energy transition strategy with a carbon accounting system, technical analysis to find areas ripe for emission reduction, industry engagement, and a 10-year path to success.

While by themselves, these are all useful ideas and policies to pursue, again, on a global scale, they are meaningless.

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the largest source of carbon emissions, by far, is energy creation, at 72%. If would follow then, logically speaking, that those who are very concerned with the dire climate projections of the U.N. would focus in on the biggest emitters in this category in order to have the biggest impact on global emissions.

However, time and time again, this is proven not to be the case. You would be hard pressed to find any of the politicians who rally and rant for climate action train their sights on big emitters like China or India or promote cleaner and more efficient energy sources like nuclear or natural gas (via fracking).

All of this hypocrisy and lack of serious action leads me to ask – just how big of a crisis is climate change?

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