Mike Soron writes, “18 Calgary neighbourhoods have been evacuated. More than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes. Eight other Alberta communities are under mandatory evacuation orders and 12 have declared states of emergency. Growing up in Calgary, I remember many floods, heavy rains, hail and tornadoes. But now, these events are more frequent and intense–as climate change models have long said they would be.”
He adds, “In 2011, climate activist Bill McKibben wrote about severe flooding in Missouri, noting that the disaster wasn’t about the power of nature but about the power of man. McKibben was referring to our extraordinary experiment combusting fossilized energy stored in oil, gas and coal. Combusting these fuels is overheating the planet. For years climatologists have warned that warmer air holds more water than cold air. The result is more snow, winter runoff, and rain. In other words, these Alberta floods are what climate change looks like.”
“But don’t take my word for it. Just last month the Insurance Bureau of Canada told Albertans to prepare for more floods and other disasters linked to global-warming. In 2010, the Bureau explicitly linked the rise in flood claims to climate change. Their research director at the time said, ‘municipal infrastructure has not been designed to withstand what we are experiencing, and that fact that the climate has changed’.”
Soron also notes, “Yes, global warming didn’t cause these floods. Instead, man-made climate change is intensifying flooding and our land use and development practices worsening its impact. It is deeply irresponsible to diminish climate change factors in urban and emergency planning–doing so puts lives and communities at risk.”
Last week, a gas pipeline was ruptured in Alberta because a tree was uprooted and carried by the flood waters hit the pipeline. This morning, the Calgary Herald reports, “Receding waters allowed Legacy Oil + Gas Inc. to reach the wellhead of a sour gas well in Turner Valley on Friday and stop the flow of toxic hydrogen sulphide-laced gas to a pipeline that had been leaking since Thursday.” Heavy rains had also raised concerns about the impact on the toxic tailings ponds. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development spokeswoman Nikki Booth stated “they’re built to withstand flooding” and made assurances that the ponds are equipped with monitors to detect soil movement.
The Conservative Party had scheduled its national policy convention to start this coming Thursday in Calgary. It will announce on Monday if it will go ahead with the convention given the flooding in the city.
The Council of Canadians, which has a chapter in Calgary, extends its best wishes for the safety of everyone in the Calgary-area, as well as its condolences to the families of the three who have died in Alberta due to the recent flooding.
For more, please read:
Dear Alberta: This Flood is Climate Change