A statement by Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar today (Nov. 15, 2021) in the B.C. Legislature during discussion of the COP26 climate conference.
P. Milobar: Well, it’s important for all governments to actually listen to advice and actually take action when it comes to climate change. Imagine if a government was to commission a report, say two years ago, around climate change and the impacts of climate change, a report that would warn about things like heat dome events, a report that would say…. I don’t know. In a heat dome event, there might be up to 100, 120 people who could lose their lives.
Instead, a heat dome event comes. And yes, it devastated cherry crops. It also killed 600 people in this province. Imagine if that report was ignored, with no action being taken. That is what we see time and again when it comes to climate action plans. They’re a plan for a plan with a plan and no actual tangible deliverable.
When climate action gets questioned — why emissions would keep rising year over year — we get told: “Well, it’s a lag in data.” Then we get told: “Well, we’re actually recalculating how emissions have been calculated, and lo and behold, it looks better now.”
It doesn’t change what’s actually happening in our atmosphere. It doesn’t actually change what’s happening in our climate, but governments are able to present a report that makes them feel better, makes it look like they’re taking some action.
If a government is not prepared to take action, reading their own commissioned reports that directly result in the deaths of 600 people, yet wants to talk about the inequalities that get created because of climate change…. If you take a look at who those 600 people were, they were people that couldn’t afford air-conditioning.
They were people that didn’t have a social network. They were people that were living in substandard housing. They were people that did not have access to make sure that they were doing the right things to combat the effects of climate change during the heat dome. It ultimately cost them their lives.
Instead of taking action on a two-year-old report over that two years, nothing was done. Instead of taking action to make sure that people knew and warning systems were in place, nothing was done.
So talking about climate change and patting one’s own back because they feel like they’re doing something does not actually translate to on the ground when 600 people die because reports were ignored and actions weren’t taken, and that’s simple to see. It’s simple to see in real terms.
When you think about COVID and think of the tragic number of deaths and all the steps we have taken to combat COVID, to have 600 people over a space of two to three days die is simply not acceptable. That’s ignoring the actual impacts of climate change while talking about all the great steps that are being taken to combat climate change and how climate change creates inequalities.
It absolutely does. It’s too bad action doesn’t get taken. We’re seeing it play out this weekend. We’re seeing it play out without warning systems. We’re seeing it play out without proper culvert repair and maintenance going on.
We’re seeing it play out on the heels of devastating wildfires that have created unstable slopes, knowing that that was going to be the case but hoping that it wouldn’t rain as hard as it was forecast to rain.
So we now see people trapped — some for 14 hours, still — on highways, desperate to try to get help as temperatures start to drop, now, in mountain passes, going from rain to freezing conditions with people surrounded by wet surroundings, feeling colder and colder and colder.
But we can talk at length about COP26 and an award handed out for a theoretical plan, or we could actually acknowledge the amount of reports and recommendations that have been brought forward over the years — and zero action taken. The results speak for themselves. Zero action. 600 people dead in a heat dome event. It could have been preventable.
In fact, Washington state and Oregon — I’ll probably mix up the two death rates. Same heat dome event — 90 people died and 95 people died, in those two states. 600 in British Columbia, with an ignored report for two years.
So I look forward to hearing all of the more wonderful and great marketing plans the government has, but I would prefer to see actual, tangible action that would literally save hundreds of lives in this province if it were taken seriously by this government.
Source: BC Hansard.