Edmonton surprises Us

Our drive through Edmonton was uneventful. That is the best way to drive through a major city.  There was one thing of importance that happened. This was the announcement that the City of Edmonton has declared a state of climate emergency as part of its urgent response to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By itself that is not that amazing.  What makes it interesting is that Edmonton is a city deep in the Oil belt. It is in the heart of Conservative climate denial. Recently elected Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has already announced  that he is getting Alberta out of the climate deal the previous Premier made with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A number of Canadian Conservative Premiers, including Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario have committed to fighting the federal climate plan which includes a puny carbon tax even though many serious economists, including the recent Nobel Prize winner have stated that a carbon tax is the most effective means of tackling climate change.

Most politicians in Canada are doing little or nothing about climate change, even though scientists agree it is posing an existential threat to the country. Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist has been haranguing political leaders around the world to treat the climate crisis as an emergency because she sees so few of them treating it as a real emergency. And that is what we actually need. We should be acting like it is an emergency rather than battling each other about how to deal with the problem.

Many local governments in Canada have already declared a state of climate change emergency. I know that mere declarations serve little purpose unless they are accompanied by action, and I hope Edmonton will do exactly that, as its mayor has promised. But doing nothing or advocating that nothing be done, or failing to treat this issue as an emergency, as so many governments are doing, including the Provincial government in both Alberta and Manitoba, is a gross dereliction of duty. It is incredible that it requires a young teen age activist to make that clear.

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