Why Not Save The Rest Of Us Some Money By Being The First To Wave Off Government Assistance If You Become The Victim Of A Severe Weather Disaster?
News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 25th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
While thousands of Ottawa-area families were reeling from the horrific destruction of tornadoes that touched down in their communities, Doug Ford and his self-described ‘Government for the People’ were busy this past September 21st, tabling a motion to shred the province’s Green Energy Act.
Ford could have announced plans to reform sections of the Act that that even the most ardent supporters of green energy found objectionable, like those that deprive local municipalities of having any say in plans to locate large-scale wind and solar energy facilities in their communities.
Ford could also have announced plans to better ensure that all interested companies, and not just those that have a special friendship with the government of the day, have a fair chance of landing renewable energy projects across the province.
But that’s not Doug Ford’s style.
True to the good old days when he and his late brother Rob were the headliners when it came to slash-and-burn politics, and to causing so much of the chaos at Toronto City Hall, he has simply decided to take a wrecking ball to the former Ontario Liberal government’s green energy legislation, leaving very little left for those who want to invest in renewable energy projects in the province to work with.
Ford took the same scorched earth approach this summer to the former government’s cap and trade program for reducing emissions of carbon-based, climate changing gases to atmosphere – always making sure, as he charged in for the kill, to vilify this program as nothing more than a “carbon tax” that is robbing people every time they pull up to the gas pumps or open a home heating bill.
All of this courtesy of a Ford government that removed the words “climate change” from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s name as soon as it’s 76-member caucus was sworn in this past June.
Gone from the environment ministry’s name, it is, yet claim change remains the elephant in the room whether you are talking about trashing the Green Energy Act, the cap-and trade program or those twisters that touched down with such ferocity just a few hours’ drive from Niagara, in communities around the Ottawa, Ontario area this past Friday, September 21st, not to forget the one that caused so much destruction in nearby Gatineau, Quebec.
The most respected climate scientists in the world will tell you that no one can ever simply point at one episode of severe weather and say that it was caused by anthropogenic (or ‘man-made’ to use the older, gender biased term) climate change.
However, when you begin to witness ever more catastrophic storms, including deadly winds and floods and droughts that now often come with flash fires that leave great stands of trees, along with entire homes and communities in ashes, occurring ever more frequently; when you see “once ever hundred years’ storms” becoming the norm, that is an entirely different story.
As one climate scientist once put it so well, if you to see a baseball player with an average batting record start regularly hitting doubles, triples and home runs in virtually every game, there is every reason to think steroids.
Carbon dioxides, released to the atmosphere in mega doses from the burning of fossil fuels, along with releases of other human-based pollutants that make up a blend of greenhouse gases are the steroids that give muscle to bouts of abnormal or severe weather.
There were fierce tornadoes of a like rarely experience in this part of the world this past week, and extraordinary amounts of floodings, droughts and wildfires in other regions of the country this year.
Niagara has so far dodged the big one, but our luck is bound to run out if little or nothing is done about carbon-based business as usual.
This year alone, we have had an unusually cold winter and spring, with a mid-April snow blizzard for an encore, following by a wind storm so powerful that, among other things, it reduced newly built homes in Niagara Falls to piles of what looked like match sticks.
A year ago this spring, we had sandbags around low-lying buildings and other structures in Port Dalhousie to wall off high-rising waters from Lake Ontario.
All of those who dismiss what is going on with the weather now with retorts like; ‘Oh, come on. I remember times when we had flooding rains or an ice or wind storm like that 30 or 40 or 50 years ago’ is a dangerous and at least in some cases, self-serving form of denial and it has got to stop.
The science that our public schools have done such a poor job of teaching and that too many people continue to ignore is not new.
Climate experts have been predicting what is going on with our weather now going back at least as far as the first Earth Day in 1970. And 30 years ago this summer, Dr. James E. Hansen, an expert on climate with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), made international headlines when he made the following statement to a Senate committee –
”Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming,” Hansen said, adding, ”It is already happening now.”
That was 30 years ago and here we have Trump to the south of us, and now Ford in Ontario, tearing up or dismantling what agreements and programs have been put in place, however limited or imperfect they may be, to address what some of the leading scientists, politicians and religious leaders around the world are identifying as one of the major challenges facing humanity in this century.
On top of that, we have a federal government in Canada – one that talks a good game when it comes to fighting climate change – that just spent billions of dollars of Canadians’ tax money buying a pipeline no private corporation now wants for transporting some of the dirtiest makings of fossil fuel in the world to west coast terminals for export.
A day after the tornadoes cut their paths of destruction in and around Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, both Ford and Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, toured some of the stricken area. For his part, Ford said his government will “spare no expense” helping the victims rebuild their homes and communities.
Certainly, all of us are willing to do our part to help of the victims of this terrible store, but what in hell is Ford talking about?
On the one hand, he’s willing to completely gut programs aimed at reducing climate changing pollution to possibly save people some pocket change on their fuel bills, then he’s prepares to spend whatever it take to repair the damage done from severe weather.
When characters like Ford and Trump are busy gutting climate action programs on the grounds that they cost too much money or more money than they are worth, you never hear them discuss how many billions of dollars the cost of doing little or nothing is going to cost present and future generations through taxes or personally through escalating insurance premiums or whatever money they have in their pockets.
Perhaps those who voted for Ford, in part on his promises to kill the cap-and-trade program and Green Energy Act, could help keep costs down for the rest of us by simply refusing to take any assistance from government or insurance companies should they become victims of severe weather.
There seems like a fair thing for Ford supporters who believe government has little or no business spending money addressing climate change could do, although it is doubtful it would ever happen.
I’ve never hear of an individual yet, who otherwise wants government out of their lives, who doesn’t mind having government in their lives if they are the victim of a disaster.
When are enough of us going to agree that the costs of addressing climate change may be a bargain compared to the costs of doing little or nothing?
If the experts on climate science are right, we have little to no time left to figure that one out.
An Footnote from Doug Draper – While I was in the process of writing this commentary, Ontario’s Ford government issued a news release, declaring that it is “committed to fighting climate change.”
Based on the government’s record so far, it is hard to view this news release as any more than a smoke screen as it prepared to cut even more programs, including environmental protection programs, to pay for tax cuts that will benefit mostly those who can well afford to pay taxes.
How tremendous it would be for all if this government proves me wrong, but I fear that it wwill not.
Here is a link to that news release – https://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2018/09/ontario-committed-to-fighting-climate-change-saving-taxpayers-money.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=m .
To hear and watch Dr. James Hansen make his climate change prediction, 30 years ago click on the following screen –
For an article on what was already known about climate change, 50 years ago, click on – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/15/50-years-climate-change-denial .
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .
“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders