Protesters block traffic in downtown Victoria after student ‘climate strike’ protest, Sept. 20, 2019. (Victoria News)

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-challenged ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

If the current federal election has shown us anything, it is that we are in a post-literate, post-fact environment where images and their propaganda power guide public opinion.

The prime minister’s breaches of his own laws while in office are forgotten, because his drama student-turned-teacher antics have produced more memorable images. If B.C. and Canada are talking about government policy at all this week, it is based on another jumble of images, those used to symbolize and define climate change.

Up to now, B.C. school administrations have tolerated the Friday afternoon “climate strikes” that have become a fashionable way to skip school. Now the administration is all in.

“There’s a lot of learning going on,” the Victoria school board chair enthused on a local radio station Friday morning, as students and serial protesters prepared for a “die-in” and blockade of downtown traffic.

Protests are expected to continue this week, featuring children yelling into bullhorns and waving signs demanding that all fossil fuel use cease by the currently imagined deadline of 11 years.

In Revelstoke, even the school superintendent joined the fun, quoted in a press release that urged kids to get their photos taken with a life-size cutout of Swedish high-school student Greta Thunberg. The superintendent and his protest partners promised displays of “the science” for kids to view between chants demanding physically impossible action.

And what inspired Thunberg to serve as the global leader of climate strikes? She saw pictures of a dying polar bear. Regular readers may recall my discussion of those pictures, eventually taken down by National Geographic with apologies for misrepresenting how apex predators die in the wild.

Here are a few facts that were likely not offered to striking students at taxpayer-supported events.

B.C. released its latest greenhouse gas emission figures this month, from 2017. There was a flurry of headlines about how they’re still going up, 10 years into our nation-leading carbon tax experiment. B.C. is fully hydro powered, leads Canada in electric car adoption, and still carbon dioxide rises with population, construction and transportation needs.

Not counted or mentioned in the fleeting news coverage was by far the largest source of 2017 carbon dioxide emissions. Wildfires generated almost three times the emissions as all recorded human activity. It will be a year before we see 2018 numbers, but they will be similar due to that wildfire season.

RELATED: Wildfires far more common pre-1943, UBC research finds

RELATED: B.C. greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase in 2017

What kids are told in school and elsewhere is that those fires were caused by warming. False. Severe fire seasons are the inevitable result of 60 years of wildfire suppression to preserve timber. There is science to show it, and it’s not from computer models that have never been accurate once in 20 years. I invite anyone in the education system to show that this or anything outside the “crisis” political narrative is taught in our public schools.

Other things climate strikers should hear: Canada is one of the world’s leading absorbers of CO2, due to its vast forests. Globally, forest area is growing, due largely to agricultural technology. Arctic sea ice is melting faster than models predicted, but Antarctic ice is increasing, contrary to forecasts.

Drought-affected area is decreasing globally, according to a 2014 study in the journal Nature. Sea levels are rising, as they have for thousands of years, but the rate isn’t accelerating.

“I want you to panic,” Thunberg famously instructed adults around the world. School administrators and politicians should say if they endorse this.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press Media. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents speak out against proposed Parksville affordable housing development

Environment a primary concern; land is largely on a 200-year-old floodplain away from city centre

‘Epic sky palace’: Parksville businesses grant wish for young boy recovering from cancer

Eleven-year-old Kai Hennessey receives treehouse of his dreams

PQB crime report: RCMP on hunt for prowler, counterfeiters, car thieves

Police received 203 complaints the week of Dec. 29 to Jan. 4

Power lines cut as thieves strike Parksville veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read