The B.C. NDP has had many opportunities to seriously address the climate crisis.
As a younger journalist, I used to cover the B.C. NDP's climate policies in the 1990s and witnessed firsthand how low a priority this was back then.
I remember how the Glen Clark government, with his then principal secretary Adrian Dix on the board of B.C. Hydro, pursued a made-on-Vancouver Island power plan. It called for a natural-gas pipeline across the Salish Sea and three gas-fired plants on the island.
Fortunately, that never saw the light of day.
I also remember how a cabinet minister named Dan Miller—who later became premier with John Horgan as his chief of staff—laid the foundation for a massive and poorly regulated natural-gas industry in northeastern B.C.
I remember how the B.C. NDP cabinet removed the Six Mile Ranch near Kamloops from the Agricultural Land Reserve. That prompted the resignation of the climate-conscious environment minister, Joan Sawicki.
I remember the B.C. NDP government removing power projects from the scrutiny of the B.C. Utilities Commission. This ensured there would be no full social and environmental costing on new or upgraded power plants, including the carbon-spewing Burrard Thermal facility in Port Moody.
In opposition, the B.C. NDP opposed the first carbon tax ever instituted in North America. The party actually made this a cornerstone of its failed 2009 election campaign.
Horgan didn't change course
Then after the 2017 election, we saw more of the same.
Premier John Horgan presided over increasing provincial greenhouse gas emissions, whereas these emissions had declined when Gordon Campbell was premier.
Horgan offered $6 billion in incentives to lure a consortium led by Shell Oil to create a natural-gas plant powered by fracked fuel from northeastern B.C.
This energy would be shipped by pipeline across unceded Wet'suwet'en traditional territory.
And the logging of old-growth forests, which serve as magnificent carbon sinks, continued under the Horgan government with David Eby as his attorney general.
A Horgan government cabinet minister wouldn't even hold a public meeting to discuss old-growth logging after two environmentalists, Brent Eichler and Howard Breen, nearly starved themselves to death to protest the status quo.
Eby stood by as this was occurring, not uttering a public peep of concern.
Meanwhile, the B.C. NDP has promoted carbon capture and underground storage (CCUS) as a means of achieving emissions reductions, even though this 50-year-old technology has repeatedly failed to meet its promises.
A recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis examined 13 "flagship cases" of carbon capture and storage in detail. These projects accounted for about 55 percent of the total nominal capacity in the world.
Projects that actually met their objectives were the exception. Seven of the 13 underperformed, two failed, and one was mothballed.
"Successful CCUS exceptions mainly existed in the natural gas processing sector serving the fossil fuel industry, leading to further emissions," the researchers noted.
Now, Eby is seeking the leadership of the B.C. NDP. The cut-off for memberships to vote in this de facto election of the next premier is at midnight on Sunday (September 4).
Eby has been endorsed in a letter apparently written from one unidentified United Steelworkers’ local. The union represents forest workers.
"We believe by electing Eby and reducing the percentage of the vote for the anti-logging candidate we can push back on the green agenda," the union stated in a recent memo.
The "anti-logging candidate" is none other than Anjali Appadurai, who has made addressing the climate crisis the fight of her life.
This week, we saw the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions on Pakistan. One-third of this country of 220 million people is reportedly underwater.
The monumental flooding was caused by a warmer atmosphere—that's because the warmer the atmosphere becomes, the more water vapour it can hold
This is demonstrated in the Clausius-Clapeyron equation and it also explains why Abbotsford, Princeton, and Merritt suffered devastating flooding last November.
The journal Nature reported this week on this connection in Pakistan:
"Researchers say the catastrophe probably started with phenomenal heatwaves. In April and May, temperatures reached above 40 °C for prolonged periods in many places. On one sweltering day in May, the city of Jacobabad topped 51 °C. 'These were not normal heatwaves — they were the worst in the world. We had the hottest place on Earth in Pakistan,' says Malik Amin Aslam, the country’s former minister for climate change, who is based in Islamabad.
"Warmer air can hold more moisture. So meteorologists warned earlier this year that the extreme temperatures would probably result in 'above normal' levels of rain during the country’s monsoon season, from July to September, says Zia Hashmi, a water-resources engineer at the Global Change Impact Studies Centre in Islamabad, speaking in his personal capacity."
The next step
This week, it's Pakistan and blistering heat waves in the U.S.
Next, it will likely be monumental hurricanes pounding the Caribbean or even the U.K. or New York City. Massive wildfires seem to burn every year in Siberia.
Meanwhile, a new study noted that the world is already locked into sea-level rise of 27 centimetres from the melting ice sheet in Greenland even if we suddenly emitted no more greenhouse gases.
Hothouse Earth is upon us and it's only going to get worse, especially as methane emissions from the Earth increase.
That's to say nothing of the impact of these climate events on food security.
There is only one B.C. NDP leadership candidate with sufficient knowledge and curiosity to address this critical issue.
That's Anjali Appadurai.
This week, famed environmentalist David Suzuki urged people to take out a membership in the B.C. NDP and vote for her in the leadership race.
"In this time of climate crisis, we need a premier who will stand up to corporate power and fight for the people and other living beings that make this land their home," Suzuki says in a new video. "You can help make this happen!":
It's hard to disagree with the grand old man of B.C.'s green movement. Especially in light of the B.C. NDP's record in addressing the greatest threat to humanity in all of human history.
And if Appadurai loses the B.C. NDP leadership race, there's nothing stopping her supporters from transferring their affections to the B.C. Greens in the next provincial election.