Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change

Did climate change cause Hurricane Harvey? That’s not a good question and it can’t be answered satisfactorily. Better to ask “Did climate change make Hurricane Harvey more severe?” The answer to this question is “Yes”.  Here’s the explanation. Water Temperature. Global warming heats the earth’s oceans. The water in the Gulf of Mexico is about …

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Canada’s biggest climate change event of 2016

The wildland/urban interface disaster that struck Fort McMurray, Alberta in May 2016 was the largest ever insured loss in Canada.  This wildfire destroyed more than 2,400 structures. Wildfires are a distinct emergency that have and will lead to increasing losses. This is clear from comparing Fort McMurray, where the losses topped $3.6 billion, with previous …

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Climate change – but no ark in sight!

The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today re-emphasizes the conclusions expressed in previous IPCC Reports.  What is new is a focus on risk.  The Fifth Report sets out the impacts of climate change in considerable detail, with a careful statement of the probability of their occurrence.

Popular opinion may regard risk consequent on climate change differently from country to country.  People in Northern Temperate Climate Countries may think that global warming can’t be all that bad.  Particularly when they have come through a long, cold winter in which the snowfall compares with winters they experienced as children, oh so long ago – even before the term “climate change” had worked its way into a publicly consciousness. (Does that sound like Canada?)

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A carbon tax is the answer!

Stephane Dion

At 4RG’s Guelph Climate Change Forum Stephane Dion laid it on the line:  the world needs to price carbon if there is to be a chance of reducing GHG emissions from fossil fuels. One effective way for a country to do that is by introducing a carbon tax.

Dion considers that this step might well be taken at the next significant Climate Conference: Paris, 2015.  Yet this requires leadership, and Dion could not say which international leader or which country would provide that leadership.

Dion referred to the experience of several Provinces in Canada that have introduced a carbon tax in one form or another:  BC, Alberta and Quebec.

BC is the Canadian poster child for a carbon tax.  A few days before Dion’s remarks, the Secretary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (0ECD) had this to say about the BC experiment:

“It is important to note that not all governments have shied away from explicit carbon taxes. Since Sweden introduced its carbon tax in 1991, an additional nine OECD countries have followed suit. We have learned a lot from these experiences on how to introduce carbon taxes. For example, introducing the taxes incrementally over time can allow households and businesses to make smooth, efficient adjustments. The implementation of British Columbia’s carbon tax is as near as we have to a textbook case, with wide coverage across sectors and a steady increase in the rate, from CAD 5 to CAD 30 per tonne over a period of five years.”

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