June 19, 2011

Connecting the dots

The increasing severity and number of floods, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires around the world are no coincidence. They are the result of our planet getting warmer. People are causing the increased warming, and if we continue pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the warming will escalate, causing even more floods, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires.1

It’s been said that fighting global warming will require a wartime effort. You could say the Way We Green, Edmonton’s environmental strategic plan, defines the city’s wartime effort, but once everyone has their way with it, will this plan be strong enough to handle a skirmish?

In its critique of the plan, The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce says that the economic reality of our future lies in the development of our energy resources. That’s the reality we should be preparing for, says the Chamber, “not the reality of a hypothetical city focused only on reducing energy consumption.”2

Those are hardly the words for rallying the troops in a fight against global warming.

In his critique of the plan, Robert Noce, council to a group of developers, expressed concern that the City, by adopting aggressive environmental targets, “will end up being out of synch with the provincial and federal regulatory schemes.”3

He’s right, but when it comes to action on the environmental front, it takes next to nothing to be out synch with our provincial and federal governments.

Just days after the first draft of the Way We Green was discussed at City Council, a huge wildfire tore through the town of Slave Lake and forced hundreds of residents to flee to Edmonton. Did the destructiveness of the fire or the presence of so many climate refugees in our city intensify our resolve to do something about global warming?

Not if Councillor Tony Caterina speaks for the majority. In a recent report about transportation Caterina suggested a moratorium on Light Rail Transit, the expansion of which is one of the fundamental components of  Edmonton's Way We Green strategy.

1) http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/

2) http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=559&doctype=MINUTES  about 04:34:40

3) http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=559&doctype=MINUTES  about 06:04:00

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