Climate change is a fact of life – the climate has changed since time immemorial. Mother Nature does what Mother Nature does, and I doubt there is much that humanity can do to change her way of life.
Globally, governments have fumbled with numerous conferences over the past 30 years trying to change the climate, but without much success. Rather than trying to change the climate 50 years from now, we need to plan how to mitigate the effects of the increasingly frequent weather events.
We have failed to predict the impact of climate change, so we need to plan for imminent disasters that seem to come without warning. However, we can mitigate the impact of natural disasters by trying to anticipate the impact of human settlements on the environment. For example, if we drain a lake in order to build a city in its place, we need to take steps to ensure that when an atmospheric river flows, the lake does not overflow again, flooding the built environment. The water has a habit of always looking for the lowest point, and this lake was and probably remains the lowest point.
Somewhat worryingly, control of the Sumy River in Abbotsford has been talked about for years – everyone says and does nothing – and now we have a billion dollar disaster that has displaced many residents. Since the Lower Mainland is a major agricultural area that we all depend on for our food, this catastrophic flood has jeopardized our already compromised supply chain.
Over the past few years, we have seen major flooding in Calgary, High River, Fort McMurray and most recently in the lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia. For Calgary and the Elbow River, eight years have passed and no action has been taken to prevent further flooding in downtown Calgary. We need to take the example of Winnipeg and the Red River. After several years of severe flooding, measures were taken to divert the regularly rising waters of the Red River from residential areas. The City of High River has also taken steps to strengthen the banks of the Highwood River, ensuring that residents and businesses are protected from future floods. In Alberta, governments at various levels have been active in floodplain mapping and, as a consequence, in restricting urban development in these floodplains. These are the actions necessary to avoid future environmental problems.
Let’s take the income from the carbon tax and use it to mitigate the effects of climate change, rather than trying to change Mother Nature’s way of life. A more appropriate name for a carbon tax would be to call it a “climate” tax.
The second way we can be more strategic in mitigating climate change globally is by focusing our resources where they can be most effective. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada are minimal compared to those in China, India and some developing countries. Let’s channel our rich energy resources to these other countries to help them reduce emissions. We have a lot of natural gas that can be shipped as LNG to help these countries reduce their dependence on coal and other polluting fuels to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, we have some of the finest and purest metallurgical coals that can be exported for steel making. Pure coal for pure steel.
Canada boasts some of the highest environmental standards in the world, as well as some of the best expertise, so we must focus on leveraging this expertise and resources to help other countries meet the global goal of reducing our carbon footprint. Exporting our natural resources and technical expertise will also be a boon to our economy, as it can help pay for the resources needed to mitigate the effects of Mother Nature’s rage.
Let’s face it, Canada hasn’t been successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; in fact, they keep creeping higher and higher, so we need to rethink our strategy. We have received a clear signal that we need to consider mitigation strategies to prevent future disasters. At the same time, we must recognize that Canada’s strength lies in exporting our expertise and our energy resources to countries that can benefit from what we have to offer.
It is time to shift our focus from reducing carbon emissions to mitigating the effects of climate change.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.