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Tuesday, April 23 2024 @ 01:57 MDT

Meteorologist Sticks Neck Out

Canadian PoliticsThere's a climatologist over at Environment Canada by the name of David Phillips. He's probably the most well known of Environment Canada's meteorologists as he is generally the one interviewed when the press has questions about the weather. Now according to Phillips, the next winter will be a mild one, and that it has been ten years since we've had a seasonable cold winter. In fact in the last 37 years we've only had two winters that were colder than normal.

Phillips refused to point a finger at what was causing the warming trend, but still pointed out the trend. He states that this is the result of climate change (which is the buzzword de jour for global warming). I suspect that Phillips didn't point fingers to the cause due to the fact that he's probably scared for his job. The Conservative party line barely acknowledges that global warming is even happening, let alone that it may be caused by human activity. Given that the Tories have fired civil servants before for not toeing the Party line, Phillips is probably walking a very thin tightrope between science and what the Tories believe.

The problem the Tories have in this is that for the Calgary Conservatives, their biggest backers are big oil companies. Oil companies, who's products are some of the largest producers of greenhouse gas, are in denial about global warming. Oil companies are in denial about climate change the same way the tobacco industry is in denial about lung cancer. This leads to the Tories the oil companies support to also not believing in global warming, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary.

Now the Tories have been backpedaling a bit on the whole environment issue, probably due to the fact that someone's clued them about non-Albertans actually giving a dang about the environment. So now the Harper Conservatives have a dilemma. They can either alienate some of their largest backers, in their home province, or they can alienate vote rich Ontario and Quebec. It will also become more interesting as global warming causes less and less snow to fall on the prairies. This will cause more and more drought, which will hurt the other main support for the Tories, prairie farmers. The Conservatives will then have to choose between either big oil or farmers. If the Alberta provincial Tories are any indication, oil's going to win (primarily since oil has the money). This will further erode support for the Conservatives in non-Alberta Canada.

So it will be interesting to see if Phillips keeps his job or if his boss, the environment minister tries to contradict him. I think the other alternative, annoying the oil industry is unpalatable to the Conservatives and they'll do anything to avoid that.

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