The climate crisis will be a “central focus” of the 2020 federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told students at Toronto’s Ryerson University Monday, during a kick-off event for this year’s pre-budget consultations.
“I’ve written more cheques for fires and floods than any other finance minister before me and those numbers continue to go up,” Morneau said. “It’s real. The costs are real, and the implications for all of us, including especially the younger people in this room, are real.”
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“We think we have a mandate, together with the other parties, in government to move forward on issues around environment and climate change,” he added.
Morneau said the government will also need a strong enough balance sheet to be able to amp up its spending in the event of a future economic downturn or recession, the Globe and Mail reports.
“Historically, when the economy’s faced challenges, central banks have reduced interest rates. But given that interest rates are already at a low rate, that tool is not there in the same way, which means the response to economic challenge is much more about investments the government can make,” he told his Ryerson audience.
“And that’s why we need to always maintain a strong balance sheet, always maintain the ability to make those investments.”
The news landed on the same day as a Bank of Canada survey that showed the majority of businesses, particularly good producers, exporters, and larger companies, identifying climate as a relevant or very relevant topic, Reuters writes.
The central bank “said more than half the affected firms had noted negative impacts tied to climate change, including financial losses or damage from extreme weather like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires,” the news agency notes. “Changing seasonal patterns, the survey found, are disrupting operations and sales in the agriculture, fishing, transportation, and construction sectors,” and many survey respondents “referred to increased costs associated with climate-related policy and regulation, as well as higher insurance costs.”
One-third of the companies told the bank they’d seen positive impacts of climate change, “often related to new business opportunities, including firms selling environmentally friendly and energy-efficient products and services,” Reuters says.
IMMUNITY VIA COLLECTIVE FAILURE
Many commentators have been brightsiding the past year’s election result as a majority of Canadians voting in favour of climate action but the reality is that we have elected a government with a plan to fail. Developed countries like Canada need to aim for a 60%emission reduction by 2030 (https://countercurrents.org/2020/01/cop-gets-it-upside-down-the-climate-crisis-calls-for-supply-side-management-and-justice and this is before the science of increasing climate sensitivity and warming oceans) not failing to even meet the old Harper targets (while still trying to expand fossil production)..
Canada is so like Australia – check out this distant mirror:
So far Mr. Morrison has said:
“What we will do is make sure our policies remain sensible, that they don’t move towards either extreme, and stay focused on what Australians need for a vibrant and viable economy, as well as a vibrant and sustainable environment.”
This is code for:
We have no plan for climate change; in fact, it’s only on our agenda as far as we think it’s good policy for re-election and doesn’t threaten the campaign support of our friends in the coal industry like – Trevor St Baker [Tom d’Aquino and CCCE – see THE BIG STALL]. To continue the illusion that we’re doing something, we’ve lumped ourselves into the mix of countries that have signed on to the Paris Accords as it requires little effort on our part and places us in good company with almost every other country on the planet that has failed to meet its non binding targets.
I call this approach immunity via collective failure. (To compare countries, visit the Carbon Initiative Tracker’s assessment website.)
How did it reach this point?
Australians are no different than the rest of us, they see what we see. Why did they vote for a government that has no plan to address climate change?
Have they been brainwashed to only see one aspect of the economic system — the part that gives them access to their lifestyle and status? Or does it go deeper, that is to say, are they so deeply entrenched within the system that they won’t allow themselves to believe that everything they value is derived from something that is destroying the planet. Perhaps it’s just too much cognitive dissonance for them to handle — so they reject it.
But if they were to accept the truth, they would learn that we’re all living in a mirage. The truth is that we exist in a playground, designed by corporations and billionaires, that talks the talk of societal wellbeing while simultaneously dismantling the very regulations that protect us from corporate abuse and greed.
Brad Zarnett https://medium.com/@BradZarnett/australian-wildfires-a-critical-moment-for-humanity-e2df38cc1449