Climate change and the Alberta flood - Macleans.ca

Climate change and the Alberta flood

On the eve of new GHG regulations, new questions about the weather

by

President Barack Obama will outline new policies on greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow. Keystone XL apparently won’t be mentioned, but it is part of the subtext. And given the Harper government’s interest in aligning with American regulations, it will be interesting to see how the President’s approach to power plants compares to the regulations already announced by Peter Kent.

Mr. Kent had suggested new oil and gas regulations would be ready by “mid-year,” which would seem to suggest they should be announced any day now. The Pembina Institute previews the possibility.

Meanwhile, there is the matter of the flooding in Alberta and to what extent that flooding might be said to have been caused by climate change. Jason Kenney says there’s no connection. Alberta hydrologist John Pomeroy says climate change was a factor. And Andrew Nikiforuk thinks this will prove a moment of realization for Albertans.

Albertans have also learned that climate change delivers two extremes: more water when you don’t need it, and not enough water when you do. The geographically challenged have also become learned, once again, that water travels down hill and even inundates flood plains.

So climate change is not a mirage. Nor is it weird science or tomorrow’s news. It is now part of the flow of daily life.