LETTER: Clark can’t lecture China on air pollution

We Canucks are all over this CO2/methane thing

Re: Tom Fletcher’s Dec 18 article on Christie Clark’s carbon tax

So Premier Clark thinks B.C. can sell LNG to China to stop them from building more coal-fuelled power plants? You must be joking. China is currently building one new coal fired plant every two weeks. Why? Because they want our standard of living.

Coal built the industrial revolution in the 19th century and created our wealth. In B.C. we burned coal and wood until WAC Bennett built dams and cleaned our air. Fly-ash, sulphur and other toxins polluted BC air from the 1840s. But we were fortunate. We had abundant hydro power. Our geography gave us a way out of coal-burning.

China is now where we were several decades ago. Only they have one billion people to manage. Their aggressive expansion into Tibet allows them to control the source of most of Asia’s major rivers. They continue to build more dams and convert to hydro power just like we did. Old, dirty coal-fired electric plants are being dismantled and replaced by new, cleaner ones. China is switching to the cleanest (low sulphur) coals they can find. Much of our coal is too dirty. Stuff we burnt 60 years ago is rejected now by the Chinese.

Eight out of nine senior government officials in China are either engineers or scientists. Their current president is a chemical engineer. You think Christie Clark is going to lecture them on air pollution? To China, the western governments are largely science illiterate and I think they are right.  I wonder what they make of her carbon tax?

They certainly understand that CO2 and methane are trace elements in our atmosphere (CO2 is about 385 parts per million and methane a miniscule 1800 parts per billion!). They also know the biggest green-house gas is water vapour. In their undergraduate classes they were taught that bacteria produce more CO2 and methane than we do. Some scientists believe termites produce more methane than humans. Imagine that! Among earth’s life forms we humans barely sneak on to the podium.

So, if you wonder why China (among others) is in no particular hurry to drink the UN’s Kool-aid on human induced global warming and why they see the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) as their fund-raising front-men consider this: China sends scientists like Dr Qin Dahe to the IPCC. He is their top glaciologist with an extensive resume in climate research and measurement. In November, Trudeau sent a lawyer (Catherine McKenna) to the Paris meeting. Which one would do a better job evaluating the science?

We live in loopy times.  We have a provincial premier that taxes carbon and a Vancouver mayor that wants to put more of his city’s aging population onto bicycles. What’s next? Will Trudeau redeploy our fighter jets from Syria to carpet bomb termite hills in Africa? Yup, we Canucks are all over this CO2/methane thing.

Dave Kyle