Letter to my British Cousins

We wish that Canada was in the same league as the UK in mitigating GHG emissions and taking practical steps to adapt to global warming. Here are examples of the large differences between the attitude of our two countries.

Response to Climate Change!

The theme of 4RG’s May Climate Change Forum in Peterborough, Ontario, was “A Tale of Two Cities”.  This theme compared the measures undertaken by the UK and Canada in the field of climate change policy, regulation of emissions, introduction of renewable sources of energy and practical measures to guard against flooding due to extreme weather events.

Peterborough, Ontario suffered extensive flooding damage in 2002. Governments repaired much of the damage, but did next to nothing to prevent similar damage in the future. Unfortunately in 2004 Peterborough was hit by a second flood of even greater magnitude.  If steps had been taken in the interim to avert damage from such an event, the loss could have been much reduced.

Peterborough, England also experienced flood damage on several occasions.  Prior to the second flood, UK authorities at both the national and borough levels took practical measures to control the effects of extreme weather events.

The lesson has not been lost on the citizens of Peterborough, Ontario. As of the end of 2013 Peterborough is now one of the leading Ontario municipalities in tackling climate change

Adaptation measures: insurance against flooding contributed to by climate change!

The UK Government is establishing an insurance program to protect homeowners against damages caused by flooding, whether attributable to storm surge generated by higher ocean levels or by extreme rainfall.

Here is what the Institute of Catastrophic Losses said in November 2010:

“Homeowners cannot purchase insurance for overland flood damages in Canada. Governments have created financial assistance programs to help Canadian homeowners after flood events. However, insurance for flood damages is common in other developed countries. Flood insurance has many advantages over government relief programs for flood damage coverage. For example, risk based premiums and deductibles can provide incentives to encourage actions to reduce flood risk . . . . “

calgary1

The City of Calgary has experienced floods much in the same way as Peterborough.  After a 2005 flood, a Government of Alberta appointed Commission recommended restrictions on building in the flood plain of the Bow and Highood Rivers.  These recommendations were not implemented.  When these rivers flooded in June 2013 buildings and homes in parts of the City and nearby municipalities were devastated.

Damages are now estimated to be approximately $6 billion, a Canadian record for flood loss.  Many individual property owners are not insured against this type of loss.

Members of the public who are not insured are upset with the refusal of insurers to accept their claim from flooding.  Nothing is being done to enable protection along the lines of the UK program.  The best that Canada has is the Federal Disaster Assistance arrangement program.

Recognition of Climate Change

All parties in the UK Parliament acknowledge the reality of climate change.  Our Federal Government boasts that it is leading the fight against climate change. Yet some of its Ministers question whether emissions from fossil fuels are a significant contributor to climate change.

Internationally

At the Conference of the Parties at Warsaw (COP19) the UK, along with certain other nations, promised to increase its contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which finances efforts by developing nations to restrict GHG emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Canada has gone in the other direction.  Canada will not make any further contribution to this Fund beyond the monies pledged in 2009 at the Copenhagen Conference.

Copenhagen Emission Targets

The UK and (the European Union) are expected to meet their Copenhagen emissions targets. It is a safe bet that Canada will not.

So there is it my British cousins.  If you do circulate this information please do not mention my name.  The Government and the Conservative Party thinks that it is anti-patriotic to criticize Canada’s performance on climate change in an international setting.

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