Thursday, November 30, 2006

Role of environment in Canadian leadership battle

The Liberal party of Canada is choosing a new leader this weekend. In the past week, the buzz has been about a motion before the House of Commons calling the Quebecois a "nation" within Canada. As has happened in the past, the argument about Quebec's place in or deal with Canada has devolved into a debate about linguistics (what is a nation? what's the difference between a Quebecois and a Quebecker, other than the french-english translation?).

Chantal Hebert, columnist for the Toronto Star, makes a point about the issue that should be dominating this weekend's leadership vote:

The environment, not Quebec's arrangement with the rest of Canada, has dominated the public discourse this fall; an overwhelming number of voters currently disapprove of [PM] Harper's performance on the issue. It is the calling card of the Green party and it stands to be the sleeper issue in the next election.

As of today, the Liberals would be well-advised to spend as little time as possible enshrining their status as an endangered species in Quebec and as much time as possible supplying their party with oxygen on the environment.

After all, it is not as if the Liberal record on the environment was that much more commendable than the party's standing in Quebec.

3 comments:

tim said...

Happy December everyone. I just going to change the topic and bring to your attention a new release by WMO. It troughs quite a wrench into alarmist wheels. Too bad that main media is not reporting on it. If you want to educate yourself about the “consensus” go ahead and read: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/001005wmo_consensus_statem.html

Simon Donner said...

This review of the serious caveats to research on tropical cyclones and climate change was released at the end of a recent conference of tropical cyclone researchers is very sensible. The ten consensus statements are clearly stating what any reasonable scientists or followers of the tropical cyclone / hurricane research would conclude.

Points 1-3 are very important -- there is mixed evidence for any contribution of climate change to tropical cyclones to date, no one storm could ever be attributed to climate change, the increase in damages is due to more people living in vulnerable areas.

One thing to remember in reading this report: It is not disavowing the evidence for climate change, or the evidence that warmer temperatures can affect storm intensity. There is some evidence for an anthropogenic signal in ocean warming over the past few decades, globally and in the main development regions for cyclones (see the Santer et al. 2006 paper in PNAS). The statement is a reminder that the next step (climate change = more, worse hurricanes) is not clear because of other factors, data limitations, etc.

I'm glad to see the statement. I hope it will not mis-interpreted as a rejection of evidence for human contribution to ocean warming.

tim said...

Well, Canadian Liberals went to Montreal, got drunk, and elected former Environment Minister De-Yawn. The guy, who presided over Canadian significant contribution in increasing GG emissions.