Rio Screening Offers Up Election Predictions

Thanks to everybody in Vancouver who came out last night for the film on such a lovely Fall evening. It's always great to see the film on a big screen with a large audience - particularly in my neighbourhood.

Federal election forecast

Canada is in the midst of a federal election. So this was a particularly politically charged screening. I got the sense, based on chatting with audience members and in the Q&A afterwards with the four Green politicians, that the Greens will do very well in this election in British Columbia. I expect a massive vote swing in Victoria to the Green Party of Canada candidate Jo-Ann Roberts on 19th October. Green Party leader Elizabeth May will win her seat again, for sure. Paul Manly is seeing some serious momentum in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver, as the Conservative support dives, Green candidates on the rise include bubbly, former CBC meteorologist Claire Martin, former Mayor of Whistler Ken Melamed, and SFU prof and climate activist Lynne Quarmby running in Burnaby North-Seymour (she's also in the film).

The one I'm also watching closely is Wes Regan (far left above), who is in contention in Vancouver East - my own riding. He's doing well in the sign wars thus far with the NDP's Jenny Kwan. It was good to meet Wes last night for the first time. The NDP's support for tarsands expansion and lack of a clear position on the Kinder Morgan pipeline is particularly troubling. Wes, who has roots in the riding, seems like the kind of candidate who could swing votes in what has traditionally been an NDP stronghold.

Weaver: B.C. Greens will form government in 2017

Wes was the only candidate for the upcoming federal election. The other three guests were: climate scientist and first Green MLA Andrew Weaver (right) - who is the star of Running On Climate, Pete Fry (second from left), who is running for Vancouver - Mt Pleasant in a provincial by-election and Joe Keithley (second from right), of punk band DOA fame, who is running for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain in a provincial by-election. The by-elections will probably be November/December time.

Weaver shared some more insights into the success of his campaign - and told us he's already put in a massive order for lawn signs for the 2017 provincial election. He re-iterated what he told the audience at the DOXA screening: Greens will form the next government in British Columbia after May 2017. He hit on his favourite themes - the need for a huge push for our low carbon, clean tech industry and bring an end to BC's LNG madness.

Weaver (and the candidates) talked about the importance that Greens place on not whipping their members.

Before forming government, there is the small matter of getting Fry and Keithley elected. Pete Fry has a good chance of winning in Vancouver - Mt Pleasant. He picked up 46,522 votes in the Vancouver municipal election - he reckons mostly in the riding he's running. In the same election, the local Green leader Adriane Carr won a stunning number of votes - only Gregor Robertson running for Mayor won more votes than her. You can see why the Greens are talking about the "Green surge" as voters realise a Green vote is not - as you so often hear - a "wasted vote".

Weaver told us if Pete Fry gets elected it will change everything: provincial politics will never be the same again.

Tarsands impact

I was talking to some members of the audience after the screening about the section on the climate impact of the tar sands. In the film, I look at the controversy around Swart and Weaver's paper, published in Nature Climate Change, comparing the climate impact of coal and the Alberta oilsands. This was a difficult section of the film to edit concisely as the issue has multiple aspects to it - the science, politics and economics slam into each other.

The warming potential of the Alberta oilsands "known resource" (i.e. the economical viable resource at the time of the article's publication) is 0.03C. It's so small on a global scale that I had to use it as a fly out box in the graphic. As SFU climate scientist Kirsten Zickfeld points out, if we burned all the carbon in the oilsands then we would blow our global carbon budget. She is talking about all the "oil in place" - as the industry refers to the resource where the production process has not begun, generally considered not economically viable.

There's more to this in the film (including a dig at Weaver by climate campaigner Ben West!) but for now here's Swart and Weaver's chart on Vine.

The chart takes into account that we've already raised the global mean temperature by 0.85 degree centigrade. We are on course to not only break 2 degree centigrade, but hit four degrees by the end of the century.

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and here's what the per capita impact of burning the proven resource would be for North Americans:

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If you want to delve deeper, there's more on this and Andrew Weaver's position on the oilsands in my earlier blog post.