Some Better-than-Bad News on Climate Change: Volume II

Another batch of Better-than-Bad News on Climate Change. In this batch I’m writing a little more commentary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Alberta these days. It’s a place I have a lot of fondness for, and could imagine living there again. However, it is a place whose future concerns me. In 2016 the Alberta government said that 42% of the economy was driven by the energy sector. While I understand it’s an enormous chunk of the economy, as an outsider for five years or so, I personally can’t see the energy economy continuing to drive the province the same way for the next 30 years… but I also don’t understand what the province’s plan is to handle that possibility. In an alternate reality, there would be money put away to help with this, but there’s not much.

That long ramble is a prelude to the next item.

  • Germany has negotiated a plan to end its use of coal power plants by 2038. This is a fascinating example of how a consensus plan appears to be possible to do with enough political will. This plan appears to work hard to ensure those people in the coal sector affected by the divestment from coal generation will be helped, and tries to allow as light a touch as possible from the German government about how the actual shutdowns will proceed.

    I would love to see similar kinds of discussions happening in our provinces, but it seems like we’re going through a political backwash right now.

  • In a federal system like Canada, it’s important that different provinces can pursue different plans. This is why I really liked the federal government’s system of “You have to make a system, or we will make one for you”. It gives provinces the choice to deal with climate change how they’d like, so long as they deal with it. I hope the Supreme Court ultimately rules in favour of the federal government.

    In the USA, despite presidential (can you use that adjective?) cries to bring back coal, there’s lots of interesting news happening at the state level.

  • This last one, "The Case for ‘conditional optimism’ on Climate Change” is… only barely optimistic. However, in it, I find the adoption-of-technology curves graph to bring me hope on a personal level. Change can very quickly in the world these days, even when it doesn’t feel like it.