There is a saying that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Whether true or not, it is a metaphor for this election.
Climate warming is ‘the’ issue of the day. I don't have statistics on the percentage of people who deem it to be the overriding issue, but its importance is undeniable.
All one has to do is consider the forest fires in the western U.S.A. which filled our skies with smoke in September. Add to that the number of hurricanes and other violent weather events attributable to global warming. And, there is the eradication and relocation of various species throughout the world, including right here in this province.
Why then is climate change not a prominent theme in this election?
Neither the Liberals nor NDP in their campaigns give climate change the prominence that it deserves, yet the world is well on its way to ever increasing global warming.
B.C. needs to do its part. The NDP does have initiatives to reduce carbon, but a cornerstone of its BC Clean Plan depends upon increasing the amount of liquid natural gas produced in this province. A huge LNG project (LNG Canada) is underway in Kitimat as well as plans for an additional six plants.
LNG is touted as a benign fuel. It is not. The gas used in LNG is acquired through fracking, primarily in the N.E. area of B.C. This results in methane emissions as well as earthquakes in the area, and, the impacts upon health have yet to be fully considered.
As for natural gas itself, it is primarily methane. It can also contain butane, pentane, and hexane. The warming potential of methane is 25 times more than carbon dioxide on a 100-year timescale. The provincial government estimated that in 2017 methane emissions in B.C. totaled 8.8 million tons; this is the equivalent of 1,724,724 vehicles on the road for one year. And, with an increase in LNG plants, thousands of additional fracking wells will be required. At present there are 11,000 inactive fracking wells in B.C., many of which are still releasing methane emissions.
In a recent debate on the environment hosted by West Coast Environmental Law, NDP candidates George Heyman, the then provincial Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, was unable to explain how the province would meet its carbon reduction goals while at the same time increasing its production of LNG. His response amounted to “wait and see.”
Time and space does not permit me to expand further on this theme, but further information can be found on The Narwhal website as well as in the election platforms of all three parties running in this election.
For those of you who have yet to vote, please give climate change the emphasis which it deserves.
Anita den Dikken