Talking climate is cheap. Action is expensive – by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail – March 3, 2016)

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers gather on March 3 in Vancouver, they need to get their heads around some inconvenient truths.

They understand, correctly, one inconvenient truth: that global warming is happening and needs, over the long-term, to be combatted. The other inconvenient truths they have yet to acknowledge freely, let alone confront.

Greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change have risen in Canada since the 2008-2009 recession. They are rising with sufficient speed that to keep them level will require a huge effort, to say nothing of what would be required to reduce them drastically to meet the emission-reduction goal the Trudeau government set for Canada at the Paris climate conference in December.

Neither the Trudeau government nor the provincial governments have any idea, as yet, how to achieve those targets. The harder they search, the more they will understand the difficulties. Rhetoric is cheap; action is expensive.

Fossil fuels – not renewables – will be the major source of energy in Canada for the foreseeable future. If anyone doubts this observation, please consult the latest forecast from the National Energy Board.

Even if the share of energy from renewables were to double to something like 20 per cent in the next 20 years or so, fossil fuels would remain the country’s dominant energy source. Burning of fossil fuels is the major source of carbon emissions. Renewables are fine in their place, but lots of people oppose wind turbines or even solar farms in their backyards.

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