Friday, 29 July 2016

Is the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on the Wrong Side of History, Once Again? (Opinion)

by Larry Powell

Has that old siren-song of industry hit a sour note? You know the one. If we spend too much money trying to reign in climate change, it will only damage jobs and the economy. In fact, here is a direct quote from the website of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.
"Aggressively cutting Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions would significantly harm its economic competitiveness."

But Canada's latest economic report obviously pours cold water onto that well-worn  message. 

It's not even in dispute that wildfires in Alberta played a role in shrinking our economy by over half-a-percent in May. The Fort McMurray fires are blamed for a 22 percent decline in non-conventional oil and gas extraction that month. (It was the worst monthly GDP figure in seven years.) 

The role that manmade climate change plays in the intensity, frequency and duration of wildfires is (at least among credible experts and reasonable people), no longer in dispute.

So, are wildfires on the decline? Hardly. One threatened a First Nation in Manitoba just this summer, forcing 2,500 residents to flee. Another massive "monster" nipped at the edges of Los Angeles just last week. (In California these days, there's no longer a "wildfire season." As that State's severe drought drags on into its 5th, dreary year, wildfires can now happen pretty much year-round.)

So, was Canada's dismal economic performance in May a "one-off" (unlikely to happen again)? 

You be the judge.

I believe it is now time for the Chamber and other voices of business and industry to join the 21st century and update their songbook. This is, as they say, is "The new normal!"

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