06 January 2022

Climate consulatation

Submission to the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s public consultation on Canada’s 2030 Emission Reduction Plan: 

I'm writing to you with my response to the public consultation, and to urge the federal government to act with the speed and scale necessary to tackle the climate emergency.

Nothing on the plan is anything more than whistling past the graveyard.

The predictions Arctic Amplification Hypothesis -- that an ice-free Arctic ocean leads to very rapid warming and a loss of hydrologic stationarity for a long period of time, hundreds to thousands of years -- have so far held.

That loss of hydrologic stationarity -- climate scientist for "it rains at predictable times, in predictable amounts" -- is the loss of agriculture.  No food means no nation.  (The PRC are "hoarding" agricultural products, if you read a certain segment of the press; alternatively, they're grimly aware of these events and recognise that their legitimacy as a government rests on preventing hunger.)

The appropriate response is threefold:

1. zero fossil carbon extraction and use everywhere the writ of the Government of Canada runs, as soon as materially possible (try for 2025; it should have been no later than 2000), without exception, by any necessary means.

2. replace agriculture to guarantee food security to all Canadians; this must be done by a diversity of sufficient means, because we cannot know today what means will work.  Indigenous methods should be a significant but not sole part of this.

3. infrastructure replacement so that the residential housing stock works in the climate we're going to have, so that we have a post-fossil-carbon transportation system, so that we've got widely distributed import-replacing primary industry able to maintain communications, anaesthetised dentistry, vaccination, and the infrastructure we've built.  All of this has to be built so the rising sea does not destroy it.

Time is short.

Careful scientific enquiry from multiple teams give the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica another five to ten years, after which we may expect abrupt sea level rise measured in metres.  (You do realise that a meter of rise notionally puts salt water almost to Montreal, or that two metres floods Fredericton and cuts the highway and rail line where they go around the Bay of Fundy?  Or that the actual, complex, result of hydraulic damming in the St. Lawrence likely floods both Montreal and Toronto?)

The appropriate response is _at least_ full national mobilisation as for an early 20th century global war, because those were much smaller threats than we face as the bill comes due for the Carbon Binge.


Graydon Saunders


JReynolds said...

Happy 2022.

I wish that some country somewhere (and Canada, in particular) were mobilizing its full effort into de-carbonization. We need a strain-ever-sinew response, as you suggest.

What are we getting instead? Empty words and platitudes.

I'd rather not die of starvation or Syria-level violence, but I honestly don't see what we as Canadians (or citizens of the world) can do to stop the rush over the cliff.


Graydon said...


It's going to be painfully clear sometime this decade that most people now alive will starve to death.

I don't expect the current incumbents to survive that. It's possible we're going to get something effective out of that in time (a bad 2012-equivalent setting off the response and enough functioning agriculture afterwards to make the transition for most.)

Or we're going to see active revolution as social norms collapse under the plague; a committee of public safety and running the guillotines round the clock for a year isn't a desirable outcome but it's less bad than general starvation.

JReynolds said...

a committee of public safety and running the guillotines round the clock for a year isn't a desirable outcome but it's less bad than general starvation.

This assumes that we get a revolutionary government like the one that triumphed in Charlie Stross's Bloodline Feud universe - something competent that actually was trying to deal with the crisis in a rational manner.

Whereas we'd probably get a Lenin-Stalin combo, stacking corpses and making pyramids of skulls. While doing nothing to address the actual issue.