One of the most concrete manifestations of Global Warming in Canada is the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak that has swept through B.C. and, now, is threatening large parts of Alberta.
In its 2006 budget, the Harper Government made deep cuts to programs designed to study the beetle and fight its spread. Two years later, the inevitable has occurred:
We started about this same time last year in December with an initial grant of $5 million from Sustainable Resources Development (SRD). The bottom line is that we didn’t have enough money to do what we had proposed to do so we had to set some priorities. Unfortunately these priorities were mostly on the south side. Basically all we did up here last year was to respond to call in’s from land owners, what we call the back yard. This included windbreaks, but we did not get involved in quarter sections. The crown is not doing anything on crown land in this part of the world so we only dealt with less than 200 trees in your area last year...
It was hoped that this year's hard winter would kill off the beetles. However, they have proven more cold resistant than previously suspected. And they say that if they get a foothold in Northern Alberta then, they say, the only thing that can stop their spread East is the Atlantic Ocean.