Politics

‘Pipelines will be blown up’ says David Suzuki, if leaders don’t act on climate change

‘It is now the age of consequences,’ Extinction Rebellion organizer tells protesters in Victoria

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Long-time environmental activist David Suzuki made an extreme statement over the weekend about what could happen if politicians and global leaders don’t act to reverse climate change.

“There are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” he told an Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island protest in Victoria on Saturday. He made the statement not as a threat but a warning.

“My whole message here? It is that so long as we cling to the models or systems that we’ve built our laws, our politics, and our economics as being more important than everything else? We’re hooped,” CHEK News showed him saying.

“People in Extinction Rebellion are saying we’re headed in a direction of extinction and we’re rebelling against it. That’s why I’m here.”

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In the protest that organizers called a Funeral for the Future, hundreds marched in the wake of catastrophic results from extreme weather last week in B.C. and following a disappointing COP26 gathering. They urged governments to do something about the ongoing climate emergency.

“It is now the age of consequences,” said Dr. Don Goodeve, an organizer with Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island. “We need action. We need a declaration of a climate emergency by (British Columbia’s) NDP government and we need them to begin to act with the reality of that emergency. We need changes in policy, no more investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.”

“What has just happened with the unprecedented rainfall and floods and Premier Horgan has the temerity to come back and say, well, six months ago, nobody could have predicted this,” said Goodeve. “Well, yes, they could. The scientists have been telling us for over 30 years the consequences of unbridled expansion of fossil fuels and the continued investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, and not addressing the root causes of the climate crisis.”

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Suzuki said B.C. — and the world — is in “deep, deep doo-doo” unless serious action is taken, especially within the food-supply chain.

“We cannot go on having a food chain that is 6,000 or 7,000 miles long,” he said. “We’re a northern country, why the hell are we able to buy fresh tomatoes and lettuce and fresh fruit 12 months a year? We’ve got to start living in a way that reflects the place that we live,” and not use emissions-causing transport to get such produce to Canada.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada also said the latest extreme weather to hit B.C. is another sign that climate change is a “clear and present danger.”

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(This year) should be a real wake-up call that climate change isn’t some future threat. It is a clear and present danger

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Aaron Sutherland, vice-president of the bureau’s Pacific region, told Postmedia that while B.C. had been relatively spared the effects of previous extreme weather events compared to other provinces and countries, all that changed in 2021.

“We opened the year with some severe storms, had the heat dome, really devastating wildfires, and now we’ve had this,” he said referring to last week’s rainstorm, flooding and mudslides.

“It should be a real wake-up call that climate change isn’t some future threat. It is a clear and present danger that’s increasingly impacting all of us today.”

Nationally, average annual cost of property damage or losses due to severe weather has increased to about $2 billion annually in the past few years from about $400 million before 2009.

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Suzuki did not attend this year’s COP26 conference, because, as he told CTV’s Your Morning , not only does he not want to fly anymore, but also because “it’s the 26th conference,” he said with some emphasis. “For the first time in 26 meetings, they’ve got fossil fuels actually in their documents this year. Is this progress?”

The lack of movement by Canada on the environmental front continues to fuel his passion. “Canada has made promise after promise after promise to reduce or cap our emissions,” he said. “We have never ever even tried to meet the promises we’ve made.

“It’s all negotiations and horse-trading,” he said. “The largest delegation of people that have official status there are the 503 delegates from the fossil fuel industry — that’s more than all of the representatives of the eight countries most heavily impacted by climate change.”

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