Thursday, 10 January 2008

Carbon Tax and January Thaw: The Ups and Downs of Climate Change

It’s fitting that the temperature hit record highs this week across Canada, as an advisory panel to the federal government recommended the speedy introduction of a carbon tax. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government doesn’t like the idea much. They contend that regulations will be sufficient to get us to cut down on green house gas emissions. That’s possibly true, but first of all you have to formulate regulations, and that’s exactly what the Conservatives aren’t doing. The Quebec government put in place a carbon tax in October, by the way, and complaints so far have been few.

As our neighbor McGill University meteorologist Jacques Derome told Le Devoir last month, wildly changeable weather seems to be a hallmark of all the models for climate change. Certainly that is what we have this year. Montreal got nearly as much snow in December as we usually receive all winter, but now it is almost all gone. Last Thursday when Lukas and Sophie went cross country skiing in the Laurentians, in places the snow was deeper than five foot Sophie is tall. There probably is more snow left there now than there is in town, but they were lucky their trip was planned for last week, not this.

The only up side to the current warm spell that I can see is that perhaps I’ll be able to rake up the last of the leaves in back before spring. I’d been waiting for them all to fall, but the snow arrived so early and so abundantly that the job didn’t get done. Maybe if the leaves are raked up before the maples leaf out, we won't have so much tar spot on the leaves next August: apparently the spores that cause the disease overwinter in fallen leaves and infest the tree in spring.

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