Sunday, May 11, 2014
Day of Climate Action rallies across
Climate Action rally organizer Wayne
Froese pumps his fist in the air to cheers from supporters at Five
Corners Park on Saturday in Chilliwack.
biggest challenge facing mankind is how to reduce carbon emissions
associated with the use of fossil fuels. Even though the science
behind understanding global climate change may be flawed, there's no
denying that the weather is being affected.
In order to understand the
"runaway greenhouse effect" scientists need only refer to Venus
where trapped gasses have heated the planet's surface temperature
Saturday was deemed National Day of Climate Action in response to
the most contentious issues facing Canada today – the Kinder Morgan
pipeline expansion in the Lower Mainland, Enbridge's Northern
Gateway pipeline project and the Keystone pipeline back east.
According to reports, there's been a threefold increase of the
amount of bitumen being shipped via rail from Fort McMurray in
Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico and to Lower Mainland refineries for
shipment to Asia via tankers. Some people feel shipping oil products
on trains has the potential to be a more environmentally dangerous
alternative to pipelines.
But whatever your view is on
the subject handling and refining oil, it remains clear that in
order to reduce global CO2 emissions, mankind has got to get off of
fossil fuels, even if it takes the rest of the century to do it.
In downtown Vancouver, dozens of speakers and thousands of
supporters rallied at Sunset beach.
"We're hosting this fun, empowering and inspiring day to send one
last loud message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper against this
misguided project," said Ben West, a Campaign Director with
ForestEthics Advocacy in a release Saturday. "First Nations stand
strong against Enbridge, the BC government has formally opposed
their Northern Gateway pipeline proposal — and the people of BC are
not going to let this monstrosity ever be built."
Chilliwack resident Rachel Perigny spoke and played her guitar at
the rally Saturday.
West's message has ominous overtones.
"Harper has a decision to make: does he want to do this the easy or
the hard way? Either he stops the Enbridge pipeline or we will,"
said West. "We hope he does the right thing and listens to the
people of BC to stop this pipeline. It seems pretty clear that this
could make Clayoquot Sound look like a walk in the park. Harper
might think he has the final word on this project but he's wrong. We
still live in a democracy and the people are saying no to Enbridge."
Locally, a couple of dozen planet saviours grabbed placards and
gathered at Five Corners Park.
Wayne Froese spoke at the rally and implored people to push
politicians for change.
"We're here today, taking a look at what our concerns are and what
we as a community feel in terms of what we believe in and what we
want to do to adress the climate issues, the energy project issues
and the future of our economy and our environment in Canada," said
Dan Coulter is a Chilliwack resident and uncle to local School Board
trustee of the same name was at the rally and told the Voice that
only 6 per cent of the Canada's national GDP is based on oil. He
doesn't believe that oil is a meaningful part of the economy and the
jobs oil producers talk about is a fallacy.
"We should be going completely away from the dirty oil and taking
the very last drop before we even think of doing something else,"
"A report came out last week
from an international consortium of scientists studying climate
change. You have to react now, it's not a problem for tomorrow."
Environmental activist Ian Stephen spoke eloquently about the
issues. Below are his speaking notes which he agreed to share with
Local environmental activist Ian Stephen speaks at the rally.
When was the warming effect of atmospheric CO2 first hypothesized?
1896 by a Swedish physicist and chemist Svante Arrhenius. Actual
warming was first reported in the 1930s.
There is uncertainty in the small points of course. Certainty of
fine details in complex systems is not to be expected, but so far as
the big picture the only uncertainty is in the minds of people who
see a lot more media and advertising than science.
Consider: who has budget for lobbying government – oil or science?
Who has budget for advertising – oil or science?
When I opened my browser to Songza this morning, at the top of the
page was an Enbridge Northern Gateway ad. Who has had their budgets
cut recently – oil or science?
lets assume the "enviros" are crazy and just want to end
civilization, lets assume the scientists are all conspiring to get
more research funding (though why would they not conspire to get
more research funding for something real anyway?)
Instead of those sources, let's look at what an oil company has
published. Shell, the largest company in the world by revenue in
Shell Energy Scenarios 2050
“By 2015, growth in the production of easily accessible oil and gas
will not match the projected rate of demand growth.”
“Even if it were possible for fossil fuels to maintain their current
share of the energy mix and respond to increased demand, CO2
emissions would then be on a pathway that could severely threaten
human well-being. Even with the moderation of fossil fuel use and
effective CO2 management, the path forward is still highly
challenging. Remaining within desirable levels of CO2 concentration
in the atmosphere will become increasingly difficult.”
The worse scenario, Scramble, predicts that “Despite increasing
protests by campaigners, [that's us] alarm fatigue afflicts the
general public. International discussion on climate change becomes
bogged down in an ideological 'dialogue of the deaf' between the
conflicting positions of rich, industrialized countries versus
poorer, developing nations – a paralysis that allows emissions of
atmospheric CO2 to grow relentlessly”
That'll sound familiar to anyone who has been following
international talks on climate change.
That scenario concludes with
“Having avoided some hard choices early on, nations now recognise
that they are likely to face expensive consequences beyond 2050.”
Shell's other scenario, which they call Blueprint, is better. It
starts with local and regional initiatives, (that's us again),
taking the lead and national governments following. It says that “As
more consumers and investors realise that [change can be]
attractive, fear of change is moderated and ever-more substantial
actions become politically feasible.”
It foresees a more just world where new energy production and
efficiencies benefit developing countries as well as developed and
grassroots pressure moves governments to be more accountable in both
democratic and authoritarian countries.
course Shell defend themselves too. We talk of removing subsidies
from the most profitable corporations in the world and using them
instead to incent progress. Shell refers to that as “misguided
attempts to moderate energy demand through the knee-jerk removal of
I guess if you're the one being kicked in the pants, it might seem
Shell has a newer scenarios document as well that they call New Lens
Scenarios that considers possibilities to 2100. It foresees a future
where visionary leadership may help, or one where market forces
dictate growth and we end up with either a major social reset or
One scenario sees social stratification, rising classism, declining
access to education, 'Balkanisation' of the internet at regional and
national levels and a rise of protest for freedom of information as
well as social justice. It sees a move to fracking for natural gas,
coal bed methane and shale gas, and we overshoot our climate
The other scenario sees institutional reforms, not always peaceful,
in political, fiscal and legal realms. The internet grows and with
it a global perspective and improved coordination in all fields. A
shift in popular ideology toward intertwined fates. Social cohesion
increases. With a rise of “Netizens”, people power drives politics.
Former Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O'Mahony (2nd from right) rubs
shoulders with Natalie Jones from WaterWealth Project (right) were
there to take a stance on climate change.
Surprising to me was that they see this scenario possibly leading to
worse climate outcomes. They seem to think that authoritarian rule
offers more potential for making big changes quickly.
But in any case though, they state that “A positive outcome requires
a series of proactive, far-sighted, and coordinated national and
international policy developments that, to date, seem beyond the
bounds of plausibility.”
Shell predicts that climate impacts will be felt most by the poor
with storms, droughts, rising food costs, significant damage to the
ocean food chain from acidification, salination of major deltas from
sea-level rise, and mass migrations of human populations seeking
food. You'd think that was Greenpeace talking!
They see two approaches to the debate on how to deal with this. One
is “Those who project what they understand to be plausible given
current realities, the nature of human behaviours, and the range of
economic and technical possibilities.”
Unfortunately they conclude that all plausible outcomes by that
approach appear ecologically and economically unsustainable over the
The second approach is where I'm at and seems to be the place to be
given their conclusion that the first approach leads inevitably to
failure. The second approach is to set an ambition for an outcome,
then demonstrate feasibility in order to provide encouragement. The
flaw with this approach according to Shell is that it “assumes a
seismic shift in humanity's attitudes and lower energy consumption
starting from today.”
They point out that “the debate on climate change has been heavily
contaminated by polarized and politicized ideologies".
“Hard choices are postponed, often for years, and the longer the
delay the greater the [consequences].”
And Shell, a global oil giant and player in Canada's tar sands, ask
“Are we morally prepared to leave the next generation to deal with
I say No.
Shell's Energy Scenarios
2050 can be found at;
Their New Lens Scenarios can be found at;
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