rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Jason Kenney will likely use the 'climate damn emergency' to push more conspiratorial narratives

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

Jason Kenney unveils Alberta's economic recovery plan on September 15, 2020. Image: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr

VICTORIA -- The world is waking up to the fact the climate emergency is, well, an emergency.

This certainly isn't good news for Alberta, although, perversely, it may be good news in the short term of the United Conservative Party of Premier Jason Kenney and governments like his in other petroleum-dependent jurisdictions.

As climate change makes things worse for millions, governments in heavily impacted places will become more aggressive with jurisdictions and businesses they view as contributing to the problem.

"This is a climate damn emergency," an exasperated California Governor Gavin Newsom said the other day as he promised to fast-track the state's planned transition to 100-per-cent renewable energy. This does not bode well for Alberta's oil, no matter how ethical we pretend it is.

And the climate damn emergency is hard to deny. The west coast of the United States is aflame. What may be the hottest ambient air temperature ever noted in history, 54 and a half degrees Celsius, was recorded in Death Valley this summer. Serious people are suggesting it may not be long before millions of people in the United States face becoming climate refugees.

You don't have to go to California to see that it's real, either. You just have to sniff the air here in British Columbia's capital these past few days.

It's said here this will win help Joe Biden win the U.S. presidential election in a few weeks -- and it will mean Kenney's $7.5-billion campaign to get Biden to change his mind about the Keystone XL pipeline won't gain much traction when the pragmatic Democratic party candidate moves into the White House in January.

Never mind COVID-19, as bad as it may be. When America's suburbs start to burn, baby, burn, America's party of climate change denial will be done like dinner. After all, a police station in flames in Minneapolis doesn't hold a candle, if you'll pardon a combustion metaphor, to 60-foot walls of flame roaring across a state with a population of 40 million.

Still, deny it some will -- especially in petroleum-dependent places like Alberta. Which is presumably what Kenney's "anti-Alberta" inquiry commissioner Steve Allan is trying to figure out how to do without actually analyzing any facts, because the facts are certainly not co-operating with the Alberta government's narrative these days.

As the hostility to places like Alberta inevitably grows as a result, it will be easier in the short term for a cynical politician like Kenney to persuade a lot of Albertans that we need to stick together because there's a foreign and domestic conspiracy against us.

Indeed, with Rachel Notley's NDP apparently breathing down his neck for the first time since the election of April 2019, this may turn out to be the premier's ace in the hole.

And in a sense -- if we Albertans keep doing what we're doing now -- this will be true. At least if you think pulling a fire alarm when you smell smoke is conspiratorial behaviour.

This will likely make it easier for Kenney to persuade a lot of our fellow Albertans that any opposition politician who recognizes the increasingly obvious facts -- that the planet is going to look like Venus if we keep burning fossil fuels the way we do now -- is playing footsie with the enemy.

The reality, of course, is that our refusal to face facts is absolutely the best recipe for the ruination of our economy. If you think things are bad now, just wait till climate change forces several million Americans to conclude they might have to pull up stakes and move to escape rising sea water, infernal heat or rampaging wildfires.

And that is not some dystopian prediction. It's happening right now.

I'd like to think we Albertans are smarter than that. Given what I've seen the past few years, I'm not optimistic.

As Pogo famously warned: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.

Image: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.