1. Tend to think that the carbon expenditure of flying FOUR journalists half way around the world might be a contributing factor in the ice melt.

  2. One day all of us will have to reconcile our belief that real action on climate change is long overdue with our own personal carbon footprint. This does include climate scientists, who should lead by example (see below). It also includes those who, like a couple of my co-workers, are willing to publicly demonstrate their commitment to fighting climate change by protesting against Kinder Morgan and loudly proclaim that they are voting for climate action, but then continue to maintain two homes and two cars and traipse off on long overseas vacations once or twice a year with their families (dozens over the last 30 years), each individual emitting a tonne of CO2 every 2,000 km.
    When you add up the additional methane and nitrous oxides, we have surpassed 500 parts per million of CO2 equivalents already. And injecting these Big Three pollutants so high into the atmosphere is possibly the worst possible thing that can be done next to burning coal. Paris COP21 may have been a failure before it started, considering that James Hansen’s research clearly indicates the historic cut-off is 450 ppm beyond which several major tipping points are exceeded, one of them the release of methane from permafrost. Another big one is the signs of the west Antarctic ice cap breaking up. Despite years of well-funded denial, both were already mainstream news items that ironically bracketed the roughed up airline passenger story. Essentially, two of the most serious tippling points were breached while the airlines are as crowded as ever. We are our own worst enemy.
    I have a reasonably good understating of these issues and events and their ramifications, and have a pretty solid idea about my own family’s carbon footprint and how well it compares to the co-workers mentioned above. We have never taken an overseas vacation and have had limited flying experience on this continent, have only one econobox and share the commute, and have just one home. Yet I cannot promise that we will never take the one or two lifetime overseas trips that we can afford to our ancestral homes in Europe. That will be a willful but reluctant violation of my principles, and I suspect there are 30 million others who feel the same.
    If Trudeau was serious about acting to defeat climate change he would not have approved pipelines while concurrently developing a carbon tax policy and moving very s-l-o-w-l-y on urban transit. His excuse was that the revenue from exploiting our worst carbon resources will pay for the renewables we need — which by the way are getting cheaper by the year — all the while offering the most minimal lip service to the thousands of value-added jobs and additional tax revenue renewables will generate forever. The voters of Metro Vancouver will cast their judgement on that, in the context of a recent Green-NDP anti-pipeline policy alliance of sorts. Meanwhile Rachel Notley quickly moved on carbon taxes, but then quickly claimed that gave her government the “social licence” to push pipelines into the BC environment under the public relations flackery of “nation building.” Just Google oil sands images and see that building has nothing to do with it when considering the indisputably vast environmental and climate destruction and the risk we’ll have to assume here on the coast for a few local jobs. It is backwards when you consider there is no market for bitumen overseas, and no guarantee a market will develop in the next five years while they build the pipeline, especially considering fossil fuels will likely be switched out for electricity perhaps at a speedy pace, and that China will probably start building cheap electric cars by the tens of millions to flood the world market.
    This fossilized mind set has to be broken soon. Politicos have to make some hard choices, like building continental high-speed rail, enabling the funding to shift decisively into renewables and a national-scale smart electrical grid, fostering conservation tillage in agriculture, financing energy conservation grants for buildings, and so forth. Further, personal responsibility and government action are feathers on the same bird, and by acting together it will fly in a straight line.
    There is at least one climate scientist who adamantly refuses to fly to conferences or vacation destinations, and that is Kevin Anderson with the Tyndall Centre, a climate research institute in the UK. It’s a bit easier for him considering the wide array of land transportation options and urban efficacy in continental Europe.
    The Tyndall has many interesting reports and op-eds posted on its Website.

      1. That will help. But there is enough warming ‘in the pipe’ (Hansen’s term) from the GHGs already in the atmosphere (and heat trapped in the oceans) to continue to push temps upward for another century or two, even if all emissions stopped tomorrow.
        This means that we have to plan for adaptation. Carbon taxes will be one way to help pay for it, but such huge expenditures will have to be planned decades in advance using a lot more tools than one tax. We’ve not even done the carbon tax yet nationally, and governments are still trying to “balance” the issues of carbon-based economic growth with acting to counter climate change, which will cancel each other out. They have to take a stand and carefully formulate a rationale for why they will take that stand. The people may vote them out, but that doesn’t mean climate change will stop, or that the public shouldn’t hear and debate the evidence, or read about the acceptance of ACC by a rising number of powerful economic interests, such as insurance companies and one or two of the Big Five oil companies.

    1. Pierre Gosselin? How about his 2008 prediction that we were entering an ice age, and that by 2020 it would be colder than the previous 100 years? Maybe the lesson is that civil engineers shouldn’t pretend to be climate scientists.
      Thomas, you really need to find some new sources.

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