WE ARE PAST the point of debating whether climate change is real.
International panels of scientists have established again and again that our climate is heating on a continuous basis because of human activities that have increased the amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
We are past the point of debating climate change, but we are far from deciding what to do about it. As with any serious matter, political debate is important.
You may think electric vehicles are the solution. I might think that a carbon tax will solve the problem. Either way, debate allows us to discuss the issues, critique proposed solutions, and find the best path forward.
Political debate is a required part of democracy. More than ever, we need debate on solutions to climate change.
Which is why it is so disappointing that the BC Liberals, the official opposition to the B.C. provincial government, have walked away from their role.
For more than the last 12 months, the BC Liberal caucus have issued no press releases on climate change. Nothing about how to minimize climate change. Nothing on how to mitigate against the effects of climate change. Nothing about how to improve the CleanBC plan, which addresses climate change. Nothing.
Maybe the BC Liberals were expecting MLA Peter Milobar, Critic for Environment & Climate Change Strategy, to speak on their behalf.
If that was the case, his statements are far and few between.
In all of 2021, according to Hansard, the official record of the B.C. Legislature, Milobar spoke just once in the Legislature with regards to climate change. On Oct. 6, 2021, Milobar commented on climate change with regard to the deadly heatwave of the summer.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, spoke in the B.C. legislature 17 times on climate change, as well as 15 times on the CleanBC plan, and geothermal power plants, as well as green energy, biofuel, and hydrogen fuel cell technology.
In the last two weeks, COP26, the 2021 United Nations climate change conference, has taken place in Glasgow, Scotland. Heyman tweeted extensively about the conference and B.C.’s response to the agreed COP26 treaties.
Milobar did not tweet once about the conference. COP26 is considered one of the most important climate change conferences of all times. Over 100 world leaders, including U.S. President Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, Italy’s Mario Draghi, , Israel’s Naftali Bennett and India’s Narendra Modi attended. But Milobar didn’t even get as far as tweeting about COP26. No surprise. He doesn’t tweet about climate change.
At this point, climate change is not debateable. What is up for discussion is how we are going to deal with it. Short of letting more towns burn to the ground, highways destroyed, and frail elderly die of heat stroke, action needs to be taken.
I expect the government opposition to take their job seriously, even more so when the stakes are high.
It’s not that Milobar can’t work hard on issues. In his role as Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, he has been a strong ally to First Nations on many issues. He has spoken out effectively for services to address the opioid crisis. But he has been missing in action on the climate change file.
We don’t just need the provincial government to take climate change seriously, we need every party of the B.C. Legislature to be on board to finding solutions. It’s time for interim leader of the BC Liberals Shirley Bond to find a different opposition critic for climate change.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.