Wildrose MLA isn't convinced on the science of climate change: Demands evidence
A recent Question Period clip shows how the Wildrose really feel about climate change
A Question Period exchange the afternoon of March 10th, 2016 confirms a long held suspicion - that there are members of the Wildrose caucus who deny both the reality of climate change and the health effects of burning coal.
Rick Strankman, the Wildrose MLA for Drumheller-Stettler rose in the legislature to talk about the government's plan for phasing out coal by 2030. As you might imagine he had some issues with it and one of the things he brought up was the communities of Hanna and Forestburg and the effect this plan would have on these specific towns that are so dependent on the coal industry.
It's a valid question and one the government needs to address. We need a high quality employment and investment strategy that supports workers, families and communities affected by the coal phaseout. These are communities that helped build Alberta into what it is today and we need to drive sustainable investment and job creation to these places.
But where it went off the rails was in his final question.
Mr. Strankman: Thank you again, Madam Speaker. Minister, since your economic policies simply don't add up – they're hurting our communities and their economic potential – will the minister table the specific scientific research upon which these policies are based?
The specific research that shows why we need to phase out coal? Really?
Here is the latest International Panel on Climate Change report. You're welcome to dig in.
On the health side here's a 2013 report from the Asthma Society of Canada, the Lung Association, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Pembina Institute titled A Costly Diagnosis.
While we're at it here's a 2012 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association titled Main Air Pollutants and Myocardial Infarction A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Or another - Economic Valuation of Human Health Benefits of Controlling Mercury Emissions from U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants. Or this - Power Plant Emissions: Particulate Matter-Related Health Damages and the Benefits of Alternative Emission Reduction Scenarios. You get the point.
Phasing out coal is one of the most effective ways we have to reduce health costs to taxpayers and limit greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. The Wildrose member from Drumheller-Stettler is more than welcome to dig through the scientific literature but that's the truth.
For the record here is Minister Phillips response:
Ms Phillips: It's quite interesting that I'm going to have to rise in this House and explain the science of climate change to an opposition caucus, half a dozen of whom ran on a platform of rejecting the science. To further have to explain the science of NOx and SOx in addition to GHGs, nitrous oxide, and sulphur oxide, Madam Speaker, and then to have to explain the health effects of coal-fired electricity to this opposition caucus is a little bit rich when Albertans already understand the science of climate change. They already understand the health effects of coal-fired electricity.