A Canadian Politician Said Climate Change Can Benefit The Country & Got Burned On Twitter
Any benefits will be outweighed by costs, according to one expert.
Climate change is a concern for people all over the globe, including Canadians. However, there are still some prominent people who are trying to find the silver lining of this crisis rather than suggesting alternatives. Joe Oliver, the country's former Finance Minister, recently wrote an opinion piece in which he said there are benefits to climate change in Canada.
Writing for the Financial Post, Oliver said, "A rise of 2.4 degrees would increase GDP by 0.1% and four degrees would boost it by 0.3%. Not much, but still positive, and certainly not the terrifying calamity we are warned to expect."
Oliver was referring to a study by Moody Analytics that found Canada could benefit from warmer weather, which could produce bigger crop yields and longer growing seasons. He added, "There will also be new opportunities for oil, gas and mineral development in the Arctic."
This is partially true, as Canada's winters do make some types of farming more difficult. However, Kai Chan, a professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, has argued that any potential benefits will be outweighed by the long term costs of climate change.
"It’s true that there is more arable land," Chan told Global News, "but as precipitation patterns change, we’re going to see less precipitation in some of those important growing areas, much longer droughts, more risk of forest fires, greater risk of floods."
Chan also noted how climate change would more negatively impact Canadian residents who live farther north, as melting permafrost would result in unstable buildings and infrastructure. When taking everything into consideration, Chan said, "I don’t expect the benefits are actually going to outweigh the costs when you take a whole perspective to it."
Chan wasn't the only one to push back against Joe Oliver for his claims. Canadians replied to him on Twitter and criticized what they see as shortsightedness and ignoring how climate change affects the rest of the world.
Whether or not climate change will have any actual benefit for the country remains to be seen, but even the report Oliver is basing his opinion on admits that it doesn't have the full scope of the effects that climate change will have on the world. For now, it might be best to keep trying to improve.