Letter: Greenhouse gases will destroy life on Earth as we know it

“You cannot treat a crisis by not treating it as a crisis:” Greta Thunberg

To the Expositor:

Re. the letter to the editor “Writer shares ‘some realities associated with a low carbon economy’” (May 22). It is ironic that Mr. Desjardins points out the slow progress made in reducing reliance on fossil fuels, when he is a vocal participant in the well-oiled propaganda campaign led by the oil companies to delay and scuttle the transition to green energy.

In Canada, the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows that our current annual greenhouse gas emissions are only two percent less than in 2005. Powerful lobby groups promoting gas, oil and especially pipelines have fought against change for decades. Their propaganda works because most people don’t have the time or resources to check the facts. Much of the mainstream media is complicit, perhaps in part because of oil advertising dollars. They give global warming some brief coverage when the United Nations releases a report, then it drifts back into obscurity. We have premiers in several provinces beating the oil drum. Ontario’s Doug Ford has cancelled 758 renewable energy contracts and repealed the Green Energy Act. 

Subsidies to oil continue to flow. The federal government just gave them a $4.5 billion subsidy by buying the old Kinder Morgan pipeline when Kinder Morgan indicated it was walking away from the expansion project. $4.5 billion is an enormous subsidy, and despite the federal apologists, it was not in the country’s interest.

The deck is heavily stacked against green energy. And then the oil propagandists have the nerve to say that green energy won’t work because it hasn’t made much progress so far! 

The latest target for pro-oil propaganda is now the carbon tax and rebate (carbon T and R), which the federal government introduced in April. Carbon pricing mechanisms, like the carbon T and R, have the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gases because they put a price on pollution. Predictably, the backlash fueled by the oil industry and the alt-right deniers has been fierce. In Ontario, Doug Ford has launched his own propaganda campaign, using Ontario taxpayers’ money of course. He claims it will cause a recession, and the right-wing Fraser Institute calls it a tax grab. The federal government is returning ninety percent of the revenue to the taxpayers of Ontario, so how is that a tax grab?  And how can it cause a recession when the money goes back to taxpayers? What Ford wants is for greenhouse gas pollution to be free, which is exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants.

Here’s a fact that bears repeating: one litre of gasoline produces 2.9 kilograms of greenhouse gases. That is regular gasoline, burned in Ontario in an internal combustion engine, with 2.36 kg out the tailpipe plus 0.53 kg to get the gas to the gas pump. When you fill your 50-litre gas tank, you are committing yourself to producing 145 kilograms of greenhouse gases. Think about it when you fill your tank next time. 

You can’t see greenhouse gases, they just fly into the air. But they are called greenhouse gases for a reason, and if we continue producing them as we are now, global warming will destroy life on earth as we know it. That is the crisis that the courageous teen activist Greta Thunberg talked about when she warned, “You cannot solve a crisis by not treating it as a crisis.”

Jan McQuay