Sunday, April 29, 2018

Full Of Sound And Fury

... signifying nothing.

So says Macbeth about life in Act V Scene 5 of Shakespeare's eponymous tragedy. He might also have been talking about the 'policies' of the Justin Trudeau government.

Watching Global News last night, I was struck by the sheer lack of substance so apparent in the Liberals' almost three years in office. Here is the story that prompted my ruminations:

To listen to Catherine McKenna and the mainstream media, one might infer that the federal government is "acting in the national interest" and with boldness in its carbon-pricing scheme, and that all is well with the world. Of course, if one is refuses to embrace such willful ignorance, one understands how dire climate change has become, and that no piddling carbon tax, which affects no one's fossil-fuel-consumption habits, is going to change the destructive trajectory we are on.

And of the Liberals' contradictory, hypocritical push for pipeline expansion and greater bitumen production, I will not even speak.

Human beings need direction and leadership if we are to mitigate the worst effects of climate change; otherwise, they will allow themselves to continue in the self-indulgent behaviours that are destroying the planet as we know it. Consider the recent decision by Ford Motor Cmpany to concentrate almost exclusively on the production of truck and SUVs:

The two key takeaways from the above are that by 2022, 73% of sales in the U.S. will be utility vehicles. The second is that low fuel prices are a large factor in the purchase of the gas-guzzlers.

So tell me that the world doesn't need strong and decisive leadership. The path of least resistance and the web of illusions spun by governments such as ours are no match for the unforgiving cascade of events currently being meted out by nature.


  1. I read an analysis claiming that governments and the corporate sector have reached what amounts to a consensus of convenience that holds, yes, it is happening but "they'll think of something" in time to prevent catastrophe. Both "they" and "something" are left unexplained.

    This seems to confirm my own "just not yet" hypothesis of the thinking of governments and industry to climate change. Sure, it's a problem and we'll have to change but just not yet.

    I see carbon pricing or carbon taxes as a de facto admission of "just not yet." It's a sop. It focuses attention on one thing that is a very small part of the problem, borderline insignificant, and distracts attention from the greater, multi-faceted threat that confronts the world.

    They're working to a timeline that seems unrealistic. The problem with many of these tipping points, the markers of natural feedback loops and runaway global warming, is that we tend to acknowledge them well after they've been triggered when the real impacts are first felt.

    The oceans present a great window into the sort of thing that's happening. Look at the phenomenon we're observing, especially over the last decade: oceanic heat waves, ocean acidification, species migration and the weakening of critical ocean currents that may presage their collapse. Two years ago the combination of oceanic heat waves and ocean acidification killed off nearly a third of the Great Barrier Reef, an organism so massive it is visible to the naked eye from space. We have the Gulf Stream at its weakest in 1,600 years, the North Atlantic heat conveyor so vital to regulating the climate in Europe and eastern North America. Every now and then I write of newcomers, marine species that have migrated into British Columbia's coastal waters from the heat of warming southern waters. We just added bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales. And we know that, lurking in the ocean depths, is an enormous amount of heat energy that is predicted to return to the surface and add even more heat to the atmosphere. That, after all, is the 1st law of thermodynamics.

    It is telling that the government's approach to greenhouse gas emissions is relatively linear whether it translates into an extra 4 or 8 or 20 cents a litre for gasoline. Climate change, however, is on a more radical trajectory. We are now firmly in the throes of the "great acceleration."

    The bottom line is that we're pursuing political answers to a scientific problem with one line of reasoning bearing little connection to the reality of the other. How can that possibly work?

    1. By reading you and other sources regularly, Mound, I am well-aware of the terrible course we are on, one that no major government sees fit to acknowledge. The fact that those governments are counting on wide-scale ignorance to mask their inactivity speaks a failed democracy. Yes, we elect our representatives, but we trust them to make the hard decisions, at least in theory. That model now seems broken.

      I was watching a Q&A the other day hosted by Paul Ryan, in which young people asked him questions. In response to a question about the planet warming up, Ryan didn't deny it, but said that the solution rests in developing new technologies to deal with it. By that I don't think he meant green energy technologies, but rather those that might be classified as "deus ex machina" solutions.

      'Nuff said.

  2. .. pipelines pushing dilbit to the coast
    are the new promised land for politicians
    Drive one through all obstacles
    and any reluctant First Nation lands
    and get a 4 to 8 year payoff
    and a gold plated pension

    Any side deals with Big Foreign Energy
    are bonus time.. and funding for elections
    or simply pimping oneself publically

    1. The true affiliations of our 'leaders' are becoming increasingly clear to those who care to look, Salamander.