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

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Accident closes Hwy 22 near Castlegar

Highway not expected to reopen until Sunday.

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Tour company plans shuttle service to Kelowna for stranded travellers

SMT Kootenay wants to help travellers get in and out of ‘Cancelgar’ in winter months

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read