The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released the summary of its 6th climate assessment report. As the report shows, we teeter on the brink of climate catastrophe with nothing to hold us back.
The report is uncharacteristically blunt, castigating all nations, particularly wealthy nations (i.e., Canada), for not only failing to transition to renewable energy but planning further development of fossil fuels, which will certainly tip the world into climate chaos. Of course, the report says there is still time if nations act quickly and decisively, it has to say that. But past behaviour tells us there is little chance of the kind of action necessary.
Canada, which has immense renewable energy potential, has never met its GHG emission reduction targets, has no plan to phase out fossil fuels, has no plan to transition to renewable energy, has no plan to assist communities to adapt to rapidly changing climate (The IPCC notes that by 2030, as things are going, even the slim benefits from adaptation will begin to fade), and has done very little to meet its commitments to assist developing countries to transition to new forms of energy.
B.C., also with immense renewable potential, continues to focus on growing its coal and LNG industries. B.C.’s recent agreements with the Blueberry River and other Indigenous nations in the Treaty 8 area are designed to ensure that the Montney shale formation – one of the largest natural gas reservoirs in the world, called a carbon bomb by climate scientists – will be as fully developed as possible. Full development of this formation would more than eat up the remaining global atmospheric carbon budget, ensuring climate chaos and human lives that are nasty, brutish, and short.
The much-touted Canada and BC Climate Adaptation Strategies are long on platitudes but lacking in actionable objectives. They are a clear indication that neither level of government has any intention of taking meaningful action to address climate change.
Get ready for a very rough ride folks. For those of you who survive (it probably will not be me), I wish you well. To our so-called leaders (Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Eby, and the rest, who have been playing chicken with our futures and have lost), your names will surely live in infamy.
Professor Emeritus, UBC