I have a good friend who moved to Canada from Antigua. We did our Master’s Degree together. He gave me my first exposure to life in the third world. I spent many a morning peering up toward his showerhead hoping for a few spoonfuls of water.
Time went by and my friend moved back to Canada and finished a Ph.D. You might have seen the Dr. Z on television hawking Chrysler cars. However the original Dr. Z was my friend from Antigua. After he gained that title, he was hired by one of our provincial bureaucracies to lower the world’s temperature. He was given the greenhouse gas file. At the time I often teased him about spending his days trying to fight “global warming” by lowering Canada’s temperature a few degrees.
He has moved on. However, there are a myriad of other bureaucratic types currently musing about the same things. Next week the federal government is set to wear “green knickers”. Environment minister Rona Ambrose along with a few of her colleagues are set to announce some “big green” plans next week. I’m sure wherever Dr. Z is now; he’ll keep a keen eye on the politicians falling all over themselves to lower the earth’s temperature.
According to the Canadian Press’s Dennis Buekert, this is what we might expect. There will be a three-prong approach next Tuesday. The following is from Beukert’s Canada Press article.
— A $300-million-plus contribution for Vancouver’s public transit system. An official at the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cannon will not only deliver on a Liberal promise to use gas-tax money for public transit, but will enrich it.
— Repackaging an air quality health index to give it much higher profile. The index already exists but many people are not aware of it, and it could be given prominence similar to that of the UV index, which is reported in most cities on a daily basis.
— A program to retrofit diesel school buses, by either converting them to compressed natural gas or to ultra-low-emissions diesel. Air quality in school buses can be worse than what the children are exposed to outside. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is known to be concerned about asthma, which afflicted him in childhood.
That might have a real impact here in Chatham-Kent. Public transit would only benefit the former city of Chatham. However retrofitting buses would serve as a good example for others. I have never figured out why when I visit Bangladesh there are natural gas powered mini taxis everywhere. It’s a country seriously challenged for resources but they still get that done. In resource rich Canada, we have a group of politicians getting set for an announcement on somewhat the same thing. What’s up with this?
I’m sure we’ll find out next week. For those of us ensconced in a wet cool fall, a little global warming doesn’t seem such a bad idea. However, with our government about to give more prominence for the “air quality health index”, there must be something to this.
You wouldn’t know that from listening to some in the American media. In many ways they just mirror their political leadership which rejects Kyoto and beat to a different drummer. The Bush administration argued that cutting US green house gases to meet Kyoto requirements would cost 5 million American jobs. They also objected to India and China not having the same Kyoto obligations. So right now the biggest producer of the world’s greenhouse gases is outside the Kyoto protocol.
In many ways this is OK, simply because the American approach is an honest one. The former Chretien government ratified the Kyoto treaty but fell hugely short of meeting any type of greenhouse gas commitment. The Harper government is admitting this and brokering a better way. Nobody is against “clean air” and a happy planet. Sifting through the hocus pocus is the hard part.
Canada is a unique position when it comes to global warming and a “green agenda”. With our huge artic archipelago seeing more open seas year round, it seems an obvious example to the world of the global warming menace. How about the ice-free winter at Mitchell’s Bay last year? When you live in a cold country, the idea of a little global warming when its –30 outside doesn’t sell. However cracks in that cold facade like our shrinking arctic ice give us just enough cranial ammunition to understand it.
Still I must admit I have a hard time “getting it.” Thinking of a carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and assorted synthetic gases hemming me in by forming a heat-trapping blanket over top of me seems silly. However, there are a myriad of bureaucrats, politicians and others fighting this phantom. At the end of the day, perhaps like millions of others, I should continue to believe them.