How many research papers are necessary to prove the obvious? Based on three decades of experience with climate change denial, an infinite amount of research is needed to conclude a spurious debate.
In a recent research paper Dr Christophe McGlade, Research Associate at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, identified the head-on inconsistency between government policy encouraging the exploitation of fossil fuels and government acceptance of the 2 degree C limit on global warming. McGlade stated:
“Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2°C goal. If they go ahead with developing their own resources, they must be asked which reserves elsewhere should remain unburnt in order for the [world] carbon budget not to be exceeded.”
The research confirms that a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves globally must remain in the ground and not be used before 2050 if global warming is to stay below the 2°C target agreed by policy makers.
What does this mean for Canada? The continued exploitation of the tar sands must be reigned in. There can be no drilling for oil in the Arctic. These imperatives will be more pressing as time passes and global warming continues.
Many countries would rather “beggar thy neighbour”. Dig up fossil fuels, pump them out, ship them somewhere else, and see that they get burnt in preference to fossil fuels resources of another nation. The most recent practitioner of this policy is Saudi Arabia, as Canada has discovered to its cost.
Canada was the neighbour who suffered! But we would gladly do it to somebody else if we could.