Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Harper toppled - another climate procrastinator bites the dust

Sou | 2:46 PM Go to the first of 40 comments. Add a comment
The Canadian election results so far seem to be a huge win to the Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, and a demolition of the Conservatives under Harper.

CBC has already called it a Liberal win, with some polls only just closed.

Australia's Antony Green is keeping everyone updated with tweets. He says that the polls underestimated the swing, that the larger than usual voter turnout is for Liberals, and that the Liberals have swept Winnipeg, along with the Atlantic provinces (which had the first results) and probably most other provinces.

It's not all good news. Justin Trudeau needs a lot of coaching to understand the importance of reducing carbon emissions.

Still, it's a big win just to topple the Harper government, which was not just dragging its heels on mitigation, it was silencing scientists.


  1. Unfortunately Harper's shutdown and trashing of a number of scientific libraries is not something that can be undone. I have a hard time understanding the mind of someone who would do something like that. It's almost as if they think destroying the data would change the scientific outcome. I'm glad he's out.

    1. It's almost as if they think destroying the data would change the scientific outcome

      They probably did. There seems to have been a lot of magical thinking in the Harper Cons, especially at Cabinet level. I refer you to the long-form census.

      "We don't need data; we know (for some mystic value of know) what is the TRUTH! "

      Besides, when you are expecting the Rapture to sweep you up any day now, why worry about 100 years down the road?

      Or at the more basic, "If we don't gather the facts, they cannot be used against us".

      You are being too kind in giving Harper the benefit of the doubt when you call him a "climate procrastinator" He is a full-blown climate denialist who was just cunning enough to realize it would have been political suicide to say so publicly.

    2. Yesterday our PM was denying climate change and it was cold out. Today we have a PM who acknowledges global warming, and it's warm out.


  2. Liberal majority on pretty much normal voter turnout, is what I'm seeing. There were long lines, but that's because the tories cut the elections agency budget.

    The pre-Harper liberals passed Kyoto, but then did next to nothing about it. I hope Trudeau does better than that. Better than Harper goes without saying -- at least we won't be getting all coal awards in Paris.

    Even the local offices' campaign activities didn't discover the depth of the swing to the Liberals. Seems people still said they were NDP, but put their X in a different circle at the voting booth.

    In my riding, I volunteered for the NDP, and saw more Greens than Liberals; the riding office concurred. My candidate won against the Bloc -- but the Liberal got almost as many votes as the Bloc, whereas they were expected to be insignificant!

    1. Oh, I was wrong about turnout: it was indeed much more than the norm. It was about 60% when I wrote my post, but there were still a lot of votes yet to count!

    2. Voter turnout numbers this a.m. were over 68% and that didn't include those who registered on voting day.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Here's CRU data . It took about 30 secs to find it. As usual Mack is being a clueless prick.

      Mack: point us the George Marshall Institute has made available its data on the effects of passive smoking. Lets see who has made their data publically available and who has not.

  4. Two recent tweets on election twitter feeds .

    "Can we— can we come out now?" - All the scientists

    Canadian scientists, tell us what you've been dying to say - be free my pretties!

  5. Good riddance to the world's biggest climate villain.

    1. Please don't call him that, it dignifies him too much.

  6. John Oliver raged in his weekly show about the Canadian elections, and also in the end advised Canadians to not vote for Harper/concervatives.

  7. My field, Limnology and Oceanography, has been historically very strong in Canada. Harper shut down a famous national lab, the Experimental Lakes Region, in Manitoba, and also shut down several National Science libraries. I understand that he sent one-of-a kind old books and scientific reports to dumpsters, rather than to open libraries. He seem to be more effective than GW Bush, in shutting down research and silencing scientists, especially those working for government agencies. Good riddance! Bill DeMott

    1. A Canadian PM, especially with a majority, has much more power than an American president. American presidents can only dream of such freedom and power to act.

      And too, Harper may be evil but he's far more intelligent than G. W Bush. Definitely good riddance.

    2. His damage to Canadian science in several areas is ghastly. Some can be repaired over time. For example there are hundreds of millions of funds allocated for science spending in areas like climate that Harper has been simply hoarding and refusing to spend. OTOH a major marine/fisheries library here in Newfoundland ended up in the dumpster even though the university offered to take the materials.

      We'll have to see about the Liberals. Certainly they were heavily intertwined with tobacco corporations historically and dragged feet on tobacco even more than the US. And, in that regard, Canada is at base a heavily resource economy, so resource corporations have clout regardless of ruling party. What I don't see Justin doing is muzzling and micromanaging anywhere near as much as Harper. Federal scientists had been quitting even going to conferences due to being unable to speak about their work. That's how bad it has been.

    3. Just heard an interview with a new Lib MP (Ottawa riding) and one of his rather acerbic comments was roughly, "We'll hire back some of the scientists who let" combined with a comment about actually treating the public service decently/ with respect. What novel ideas!

      I have heard reports of scientists smuggling books and journals out of their departments and stashing them in the basement at home in order to do their jobs. Few if any of the Con cabinet had enough scientific education to understand what people needed to do their jobs. When the Minister of Science (or whatever the exact title is) has a D.Chiropractic as his academic qualifications one is not too surprised.

    4. Gees. Did not realise it was that bad. I will celebrate even harder.

      More good news - Bjorn Lomborg research centre dropped by Turnbull government

    5. Sickening history Matt...I only touched the smallest surface.

      Peruse http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2013/05/20/the-canadian-war-on-science-a-long-unexaggerated-devastating-chronological-indictment/



      for starters. But the only real words for him in this regard is "ghastly" if not actively "evil".

      In a recent bio by Ibbotson, the overriding theme is that Harper abhors anything he cannot control, that he does not--and never could--abide anyone telling him what to do. Ever. Knowledge creation therefore is directly antithetical to his world view.

    6. I should have mentioned that if you are a scientist or love knowledge, you should not eat before reading the links I provided. Honestly.

    7. jgnfld.

      Wow that is quite a list (1st link). Need more ppl willing to do that much work.

      If your goal was to send me to bed depressed, mission accomplished

    8. @ jgnfld
      Thanks, I had not seen that list and depressing as it is, it is good to have it. Kudos to John Dupuis.

      @ Matt M

      I suspect jgnfld and I have been going to bed depressed more often than you want to know.

      I must say I had forgotten some things on that list but the main theme is consistent. Anything that looks like scientific knowledge must be destroyed. Think of Daleks in Dr. Who.

      I think Harper, himself, feared knowledge because it might contradict his view of the world and thus impede his policies. Most of his henchmen and women were well trained poodles who simply preformed to order. In many cases they did not seem to understand facts let alone science.

      I cannot trace the quote any more but one Justice Minister when defending stricter laws which years of international research showed were counterproductive was quote something like,"I don't care what the research shows, if we can save one life it is worth it"

      Unfortunately the research suggested that the law would actually increase deaths. But maybe he saved one life somewhere.

    9. @jrkrideau said, "...well trained poodles who simply preformed to order".

      You probably meant "performed", but "preformed to order" also makes so much sense. It is like they are robots designed to repeat only what was programmed into them.

      A link to a video below showing MPs were either preformed robots or performing parrots. ;-)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZcpNJxB4Mk :-)

    10. Clearly my inability to spell or type leads to some excellent text. :) Preformed does have a certain appropriateness.

    11. Putin is apparently filtering Russian scientists' writings through the FSB. A friend notes that at least the FSB will have some expertise, unlike Harper's lackeys.

  8. Every evil villain eventually gets his day of destruction. Now Harper should be prosecuted and put in jail for the criminal that he is.

    But I'm not holding my breath, the world has lost its course on doing the right thing at the right time.

  9. Sweet. It one of those moments you almost feel there's still hope out there.
    Sou, thanks for the news!

  10. Abbott and now Harper, within a month, that is just too good!

    Let's not the lose the run of ourselves, though, let's see the colour of Trudeau's policies.

    But let's wallow in the moment for a while, also. :))

    1. The Liberals in Canada are intertwined with the corporate structure in Canada perhaps even more than Harper was. He was limited to Western Canadian interests. The Liberals due to their long history of governance historically are on every corporate board. The Liberal record on tobacco was not great for a long time, for example.

      Canada is heavily weighted to resource extraction. Harper shifted this emphasis even more to resources and away from manufacturing with his policies. Trudeau will have to live in this national reality.

    2. The pipelines are wildly unpopular outside the oil patch, and oil prices are down. Notley in Alberta is trying to diversify their economy. Trudeau and Notley each have majorities, so they have some insulation from bad economic news for the next two years or so. I'm pretty hopeful that oil extraction is going to have a very rough time for a bit.

  11. This is a quick synopsis of the Liberal's Energy and Environment policy:

    The Liberals favour national targets to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. The party supports the Keystone XL pipeline, but has also said the current federal pipeline review process is not strict enough. The Liberals have pledged that they would spend $20-billion over 10 years on “greener infrastructure,” and issue Green Bonds to fund environmentally friendly energy projects. Justin Trudeau has vowed to set national targets, but allow provinces to design their own emissions-reduction systems, and pledged $2-billion for the Low Carbon Economy Trust, which will give funding to projects that reduce carbon emissions.


  12. Related - I see in today's news that the Consensus Centre have had their funding plans revoked by the Australian Federal Government - they were investigating taking it to Flinders University but this morning the government announced the funding has been withdrawn.

    Looks like Lomborg has lost his last two supportive governments... maybe he should go sliming up to the Koch Bros, or Trump, if he wants to keep at this ecomodern thing ...

    1. It was heartening to see people so publically distancing themselves from that worthless hypocrite.

  13. OT if you dont mind Sou .
    Just a comment for every one out there on the realist blog roll.
    Some are really pushing the rise in temperature at the moment.
    We all have been waiting for what we know will happen with a big El Nino.
    The death of the pause.
    Lets not give the nutters to much ammunition in the future .
    Take the rise a little more calmly.
    It has cooled since 2016 look at how you guys went over the top will be coming from the usual suspects .

    1. Griff I plotted the estimated 2015 temperature using up to September data here


      This graph is from here


      What this shows that the El Nino of 1998 was a bit of an outlier as is the projected temperature value for the El Nino of 2015.

      When the final numbers are in for 2015 I am sure that this value may even be exceeded. Also 2016 will be affected by this El Nino.
      Maybe Sou could do a far better graph and explanation than my effort. Bert

  14. Off topic note: Haiyan has just been rendered a rather normal phenomenon; now we have Patricia.
    Recon 880 hPa/175 kts as the system was actually further intensifying. The wind number is world record, pressure is #5 observed but this thing is approaching Tip (870 hPa).
    Landfall SW coast Mexico inside of 12h, modelled 180 kts sustained at that point.
    Manzanillo, 110,000 inhabitants, may have left the map by then.

    1. Among its less appalling consequences will be another bout of amnesia among climate change deniers as they rearrange their talking points one more time.

  15. I hear that Chris Monckton has blamed the unseating of Harper (and removal of Abbott) on the UN. This comes via the wingnut Alan Jones but it does sound plausible - that the swivel-eyed viscount would say that, I mean. Anyone have more on that?

    1. I understand it was on 2GB. Joanne Nova has an article about it. I have not listened to it myself yet.

  16. Trudeau has just unveiled his cabinet. Mostly impressive. Here's the global warming policy relevant positions:

    The new Justice Minister was until recently regional chief of the BC first nations. Lawyer advancing first nations self-governance, in BC, becomes one of the most powerful ministers in government. One of the major issues in aboriginal rights -- the one that causes protests and blockades around the country but particularly in BC -- pipelines, oil extraction, and fracking on first nations lands. This could be huge.

    The new foreign minister previously was notable for running against Harper on a platform of carbon taxes. He lost that election but held Harper to a minority. So our chief country-to-country negotiator takes climate change very seriously now.

    Environment is now "environment and climate change". The new minister is a human rights lawyer, who surprisingly defeated the NDP incumbent (someone who was considered basically invincible). Not clear to me what she knows about climate yet, but hey, at least she cares about humans.

    The science minister sounds quite good on climate change issues:
    Ph.D. from Edinburgh; taught meteorology, climate, and climate change from 1993-2000; IPCC contributor.

    His natural resources minister I don't know much about:

    The new transport minister was the first Canadian in space. I know nothing about his positions beyond that, despite his notability, but who knows, maybe he'll be in favor of new transport technologies. Hopefully he's not in favor of a rocket in every driveway.

    Fisheries and Oceans is the man who defeated our previous environment minister:
    Long-time politician in Nunavut. One of the big issues facing the coast guard (which is under the purview of DFO) is dealing with the fact we suddenly have a lot of new coast to guard up North, given the receding ice. Another major issue under their purview: climate changes lead to changes in the sustainability of fish stocks. We'll see.


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