Letter: Too much flooding, too little leadership

Our provincial government spends public money on PR campaigns and pretend solutions

Too much flooding, too little leadership

I’ve been busy repairing craters left in my steep gravel driveway during these recent huge rainstorms. OK, the damage to my driveway is nothing compared with the devastation others have experienced. But while wheeling another load of gravel uphill, I had time to think about the lack of political leadership in B.C.

Clearly shovelling gravel is a band aid for my driveway; any long-term solution must be to stop water from cascading down its gravel slope in the first place. Well similarily with climate change, if we want to stop massive atmospheric rivers from flooding our farms and highways, the only long-term solution is to replace fossil fuels with clean energy systems.

Governments can build all the dikes they want, and repair flooded roads and homes a zillion times; but unless we stop burning gas and oil, this climate emergency will be a continuous huge sinkhole for taxpayer’s money — and the same type of non-solution as if I was to continue shovelling gravel on my driveway uphill after every cloud burst only to see it slide downhill during the inevitable next storm.

And that poor thinking applies to many dikes built around towns in B.C. — build a dike, watch the floods destroy it, build it again. Dikes are built to a certain engineered rain event standard. But the earth’s rapidly changing atmosphere does not understand these standards. So better dikes are only a step towards the only real solution — stop burning fossil fuels.

But I don’t hear any government saying that truth. I do hear cabinet ministers saying that these recent floods were “unpredictable”. Well, maybe the extent of flooding is unpredictable, but unusual flooding events were predicted by climate scientists many years ago.

And if governments continue to ignore the real crisis of climate change and spend too much public money on higher dikes and other flood repair projects, there will be less money for the desperately needed long-term solution of funding alternative energy systems.

Sure, in the short-term we must repair damaged highways and flooded farms and homes. But the long-term solution of phasing out fossil fuels is technically possible. But we need government financial support: electric vehicles for transportation, heat-pumps for our houses, low-carbon food for our dinners, and building renewable energy systems.

So why is our NDP government not providing leadership for action on climate change? Well, I think it’s because if they say “you must stop burning fossil fuels” voters might well ask: “why then does the government financially support the construction of LNG gas terminals and pipelines”; or “why does it subsidize oil and gas companies”? Why indeed.

Since there is no logical answer, the NDP talks about building dikes, repairing roads and, of course, spending money on more reports; ignoring the real solution.

Our provincial government spends public money on PR campaigns and pretend solutions while ignoring the real solution to climate change. As a result of this failure in leadership, carbon emissions in B.C. have increased over the last 10 years and fossil fuels still make up 80 per cent of our energy supply. On any report card, this would be a failure.

And as flooding events worsen, the NDP continues to subsidize LNG gas projects as well as other fossil fuel companies, resulting in even more flooding — like a guinea pig on a treadmill.

But for us humans, the NDP’s failure to address climate change is dangerous and crazy!

Peter Nix

Cowichan Carbon Buster

Maple Bay