B.C. Conservative leader Wilf Hanni cool on climate crisis

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      UBC climate-change researcher Hadi Dowlatabadi says the reemerging B.C. Conservative party “looks like a loony party”. And he singles out party leader Wilf Hanni’s questioning of the link between human-caused emissions and global warming as years behind the times.

      “If only that gentleman were up-to-date,” Dowlatabadi, a Canada Research Chair scholar, told the Georgia Straight by phone on March 10. “By this token, there is probably no consensus on whether or not the sun is part of the solar system, and [whether] it is circulating around the sun. You know, he can’t really be that far out, can he?”

      Saskatchewan-born Hanni, now living just outside Cranbrook, works as a petroleum exploration supervisor. While driving through Crowsnest Pass on March 10, Hanni told the Straight via cellphone: “My position, and the position of my party, is that the scientific community has not reached a consensus on what’s causing global warming or what to do about it.”

      Earlier in the interview, Hanni confirmed that he believed “the jury is still out on whether or not carbon dioxide even causes global warming”.

      “The scientists have not agreed on that yet,” Hanni claimed. “They are still studying it. Even if carbon dioxide does lead to global warming, the human contribution to carbon dioxide is only three percent of the total in the atmosphere.”

      Asked where he obtained that figure, Hanni replied: “Scientific studies on the Internet.”

      Dowlatabadi said there is “lots of stuff” on the Internet.

      “That’s one of the interesting aspects of a democratic medium,” he said. “So, unfortunately, you can find whatever you want to find on the Web.”

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change findings are also “inconclusive”, Hanni added.

      In February 2007, a long-awaited IPCC report summary noted that humans have already caused so much damage that the effects will last 1,000 years. The human impact, the summary noted, is now evident “from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level”.

      Hanni garnered 496 votes in last October’s Vancouver-Fairview provincial byelection—just over four percent of the popular vote.

      “I would expect there to be four percent of the lunatic fringe,” Dowlatabadi said. “But, look, this is like saying there is no scientific consensus about evolution. Can creationists make a credible argument that intelligent design is a viable alternative to Darwinian theories of creation? Not really. Had he made that [lack of consensus] statement 25 years ago, I would say he’s right, but not now. Just like if you’d made the statement about Darwinism 150 years ago, I’d say you were right, but not now.”

      Speaking in more general terms on climate change, Hanni said he believes Premier Gordon Campbell is doing a “terrible” job on the file. His main gripe is with the carbon tax, which he said his party
      would scrap.

      “If they are determined to fight climate change by attacking carbon-dioxide emissions, the way to do it is to support initiatives to find new low-emission fuels and fuel-saving techniques,” Hanni said. “The tax on carbon—supposedly on carbon dioxide—is not going to reduce the production of carbon dioxide. It’s just going to create a hardship on the consumers of British Columbia.”

      Hanni added: “If you believe in climate change and you believe in global warming, and if you believe it’s caused by human production of carbon dioxide, you should actually vote for the B.C. Conservative party, because our measures will do more to combat carbon dioxide than Gordon Campbell’s measures will.”

      Hanni added that the B.C. Liberals “have moved so far to the left, it’s tough to tell the difference between them and the NDP”.

      According to Barb Smith, a North Shore–based B.C. Conservatives board member, the party is looking to run 25 candidates this time around.

      Dowlatabadi is not sure of Hanni’s chances.

      “I don’t know if your concepts of scientific consensus around climate change are drivers of electability,” he said. “If they were, he wouldn’t garner too much support.”




      Mar 12, 2009 at 10:21am

      Let's hope he attracts as many of Gordo's dissaffected supporters as the Green party attracts low information green voters from the NDP.

      Surveys have shown that up to 75% of republican voters believe global warming is bunk and this view is propagated to Canada's conservative voters, with 16 hours a week programming on CKNW's Charles Alder and (ironically) Ron Green shows.

      so you go Wilf!!!

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