Ottawa stoking unfounded climate fears to remake Canada

Printer-friendly version
Appeared in the Western Standard, November 28, 2022
Ottawa stoking unfounded climate fears to remake Canada

Once again, the Trudeau government has claimed that global weather disasters, ostensibly driven by human greenhouse gas emissions, are increasing, will continue to increase, and you should be frightened. Frightened enough, in fact, to let the government remake the Canadian economy in its “net-zero” its vision. But Canadians should fear that agenda much more than the climate because it likely means net-zero economic growth.

In its latest economic statement, the government claimed—without so much as a single reference to a published study or data source—that “Climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather and natural disasters” and links this claim with the government’s “net-zero” plan: “While harnessing demand for Canadian products and expertise in a net-zero world will create jobs and build a competitive Canadian economy, careful work must be done to support workers and businesses during this transition.” They have a scary (and ill-defined) chart that ostensibly shows a growing trend in (undefined) “natural disaster events” worldwide, again, with no way to validate the figure.

Here’s what Canadians should understand. Claims about increasing weather events are not based on actual observed temperature trends, conservatively extrapolated into the future. They are overwhelmingly based on mathematical simulations of the climate. And those mathematical models are, to put it simply, speculation. Speculation of a sort that one would never, for example, be considered valid as evidence in any kind of court proceeding.

Consider recent hurricanes (such as Fiona), which alarmists use as “evidence.” Actual data shows that damages from hurricanes (that’s the “disaster” part of the equation) are not increasing because hurricane forces are increasing, but rather because people continue to put more high-valued structures in known hurricane zones, leading to higher financial loss claims. In other words, hurricane damages are increasing because apparently humans are increasingly choosing to live in known hurricane “alleys.” As Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, who came to fame by refuting environmental exaggerations with actual measurement data, observes in a recent column in Forbes, U.S. data, the best in the world, show hurricanes making U.S. landfall since 1900 have decreased as greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations have risen—and the same is true globally. Hurricanes making landfall have also been less powerful since 1900. The “extreme weather” story is mostly distorted and speculative.

As for the Trudeau government’s “net-zero world,” that too is imaginary. There’s not going to be one, and certainly not by 2050. Whether or not Canada continues on this government’s “net-zero emissions” path in the future, China, which now dominates the world in GHG emissions, shows every intention of continuing to emit freely. China has never agreed, in any international negotiation, to reduce its rate of GHG emissions. As the BBC (no climate skeptics, they) observed last year, “China emissions exceed all developed nations combined.” And contrary to meaningless Chinese predictions of a slowdown, that’s not happening either.

For that matter, the overwhelming majority of countries that have pledged to reduce have failed, so the world is steadily getting less “net-zero” emissions every single day with no end in sight. Moreover, countries in Europe face a freezing winter where their vaunted investments in wind and solar power have proven feckless and they lack GHG-emitting fossil fuels to keep them warm.

The Trudeau government has subordinated much of Canada’s economy (and hence, its society) to the pursuit of a “net-zero” GHG emission future to be realized by 2050. But the climate risks it claims to avert are exaggerated and the realistic chances of actually seeing a “net-zero” emissions world in 2050 are nil. Ottawa should scrap the net-zero nonsense and get back to pragmatic economic policy for the betterment of Canadians both present and future.

Subscribe to the Fraser Institute

Get the latest news from the Fraser Institute on the latest research studies, news and events.