Gavin Schmidt tweeted that he liked a #ClimateStrike poster that read “Soon even moving to Canada isn’t going to solve our problems.” That reminded us that we had a parody submission on the Canadian government’s tiered climate refugee program, that would at least be worth a laugh, if not serious consideration for some!! See what you think.
Introduction to the Climate Refugee Plans
If you are reading this, you are no doubt deeply concerned by the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Prognosticators of Climate Catastrophes (the “IPCC”), which confirms what the members of that panel have known since before their research began: humans have put just too darn much carbon dioxide into the air. Now, if the developed world spends trillions and trillions of dollars very quickly to completely destroy and then rebuild its energy infrastructure so as not to use any of those nasty fossil fuels, sends hundreds of billions of dollars in climate reparations to third-world dictators, and gives unelected officials sweeping powers to control our lives and redistribute wealth, the world just might be able to avert hotter (or perhaps colder) temperatures, more (or possibly less) snow, more (or possibly less) wind, more (or possibly fewer) hurricanes, too much rain or too little rain, stronger and more frequent (or maybe not) tornadoes, fewer dog-walking opportunities, reduced male fertility, and a whole bunch of unprecedented weather events just too nasty to think about. But what if our best efforts fail? What happens if spending a hundred trillion dollars or more does not limit the temperature increase to an arbitrary 1.5°C (which used to be an arbitrary 2°C) above the arbitrary baseline at an arbitrarily chosen level of CO₂ at a randomly selected point in Earth’s 4-billion-year history? What if the gas you breathe out—the gas that plants turn into oxygen and that makes up a tiny fraction of all the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—is not the control knob for Earth’s temperature after all? What then?
Well, we have good news for you! Canada’s Climate Refugee Plans™ are here. Canada has come up with the following climate refugee plans that will save most of peoplekind™ from the ravages of there being just too much plant food in the air, causing plants to grow bigger and stronger and to inhabit areas where they just wouldn’t grow before. You can chose the plan that best matches your status in the world: the Climate Scientist Plan™, the Global Warming Journalist Plan™, the Tropical Islander’s Plan™, or the Everyone Else. Well, almost everyone else: for the truly elite among you, we also have the Movie Star Plan™! Old stock Canucks need not despair, though, because Canada needs you, too: after all, who else could we get to pay for all of this?
For the last few years, Canada has been busy laying the groundwork for our Climate Refugee Plans™. There were pipelines to kill (two down, one to go), business competitiveness to destroy via punishing carbon taxes and/or threats thereof, terrorists to enrich, and drugs to legalize. Canada has not yet succeeded in pushing Canada’s emissions down to zero from a whopping 1.6% of the world’s total, but we are not done destroying the country’s economy yet—that could take more of the same climate policies. We assume if elected again, the government’s primary environmental objectives are to legislate a complete ban on carbon dioxide in Canada’s airspace and to negotiate treaties with other nations to ensure that their carbon dioxide emissions do not enter Canada illegally. (
Illegal Irregular entry is reserved for refugees from the United States.)
The LEAPers Climate Refugee Plan™
The first 100 people who sign up for Canada’s Climate Refugee Plan™ will automatically be enrolled in the LEAPers Climate Refugee Plan™. This plan is reserved for those truly, truly special members of peoplekind who have an unquenchable desire to LEAP lead by example.
One-way transportation will be provided by Fort McMurray truckers to you and 99 others to the northeast corner of Alberta, near the shores of Lake Athabasca—which just happens to be due north of… gasp!!… the Oil Sands!! (Canada is not sure why, but a large number of Canadians who normally complain about excessive taxation have volunteered to contribute to the cost of transporting LEAPers to their new home.) What makes the LEAP Climate Refugee Plan™ truly special is that the trip in by truck will be your last-ever contact with those nasty fossil fuels and the horrors of combustion. Living just outside Wood Buffalo National Park, you can both survive and demonstrate your commitment to reducing methane emissions by culling the area’s large bison population by hunting with sticks, stones, and your bare hands. (Steel, of course, requires combustion.) You can supplement your diet by catching fish from the lake, gathering berries (stay alert for the many bears in the area), and eating members of the area’s truly enormous population of mosquitoes, black flies, and other insects. You won’t even have to go looking for the insects—they will come right to you! The dense forest will provide plenty of natural fiber from which you can weave your no-synthetic-material clothing and will shelter you from temperatures that often dip below −40 (it’s the same in Fahrenheit or Celsius) in the winter.
While it might be tough to live without fossil fuels or combustion for the first while, Canada knows you have an unwavering commitment to saving the world by showing others how to do it. A few dozen generations from now your descendants might be almost as good at living off the land as were the First Nations people that were in the area thousands of years ago, when the temperature was five four three two one degree colder than it is nowadays. (Of course, they had fire and you can’t, but that should be okay, right?) Think of the accolades for showing how lifestyles from when the world’s population was 500 million can be applied to seven billion! Think of the statues that will be erected in your honor for being the first humans to kick the fossil-fuel habit! Streets will be named after you! Schoolchildren everywhere will sing in eternal praise of your exploits!
Applicants for the LEAPers Climate Refugee Plan™ must pass Canada’s strict Canadian entry test. When you get to the border, you must be able to say, “I am a climate refugee” or “Je suis un réfugié climatique.”
The Movie-Star Climate Refugee Plan
If you’re a movie star, you know you are the top rung of humanity, the elite of the elites, second only to the LEAPers. In recognition of this—and unlike all other Climate Refugee Plans™—the Movie Star Plan does not require that you give up using fossil fuels. After all, how could you flit around the world in your private jets, hang out in the tropics on your yachts, or air-condition your mansions, using enough energy for a few dozen little-people families, if you had to live by your own words? Instead of giving up fossil fuels, Canadian climate leaders need you to attend photo shoots with them and other stars and occasionally talk about sciencey stuff like greenhouse gases and carbon, and about Chinook winds signaling climate Armageddon like Leonardo DiCaprio did a couple of years ago. Canada also needs you to explain to the little people that, by giving up their jobs, foregoing meat, not heating their homes, walking to work, and paying more for everything because of Canada’s breath carbon dioxide carbon tax, they’re leaving a better world for you and other glitterati.
As you know all too well, global warming will soon—say, in the next 100,000 years or so—make Hollywood uninhabitable. To save you from hotness (the temperature kind, not the star kind), we are offering you free land in and around Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territory. Uncrowded, unspoiled, and free of paparazzi, the city has almost too many advantages for people of your elite status.
- From Hollywood, it is only 2691 miles (4330 km) by road, almost due north. By electric car, it should only take 24 days and 156 recharging stops to make the trip. For your chauffeur’s convenience we have provided Google’s route map. In case you need to stock up on supplies for a, well, rather cooler world, the route takes you right past the West Edmonton Mall. Of course, if you’d rather fly, the airstrip in Yellowknife will accommodate your private jet.
- The indigenous peoples’ name for the city is Sǫ̀mbak’è, which means, “where the money is.” Doesn’t the name just say it all? And as the icing on the cake, there are several diamond mines just short, private-jet flights from the city. In case you want to demonstrate your commitment to reducing CO2, we can arrange tours to and from the mines via dog-sled, with five-star cabins and photo ops along the way.
- The average daily high temperature in Yellowknife in July is a perfect 70°F (21°C). That’s only 9°F less than Hollywood’s July high of 79°F, so you and your offspring can count on many thousands of years of global warming climate change climate disruption atmospheric cancer before afternoons become intolerable again. Of course, the average daily high in January is −13°F (−25°C), so you’ll want to bring some of that really warm, fossil-fuel-derived, synthetic-fiber winter gear.
- On June 21, the sun rises at 3:39 a.m. and sets at 11:38 p.m., so as you and other stars have come to expect, the sun will almost never set on you—well, except in the winter. But we’ve got that covered, because the Northern Lights will continue to shine on you during many of the cold winter nights (see Figure 2). The City of Yellowknife even has an aurora forecast on its website and tiny lighthouses located around the city that alert visitors and residents when active aurorae are in the evening forecast.
No doubt, stars, you’ll want to be among the first to demonstrate your deep concern about global warming climate change climate disruption atmospheric cancer by securing a spot well outside the soon-to-be-too-hot parts of the world, and Yellowknife awaits.
Figure 1: The drive from Hollywood to Yellowknife. (Image by Google Maps.)
Figure 2: Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories. Their radiance is exceeded only by you! (Image from spectacularnwt.com.)
The Climate Scientist Climate Refugee Plan™
If you aren’t a movie star but you are a climate scientist, Canada knows you’re super-important for this plan, too. So, Environment and Climate Catastrophe Canada has established a new climate research institute here in Canada that is large enough to house all of you. That way, you can have as many Conferences of the Parties as you wish, without having to consume any of those evil fossil fuels to get there.
Knowing that the chief concern among many of you is the melting of polar ice and sea-level rise, we have found the perfect location for the institute: it’s Alert, in Canada’s Artic territory of Nunavut (see Figure 3). At an altitude of 76 metres (250 feet), Alert is close enough to sea level that you can keep a close eye on Artic Ocean ice but not so close that it will disappear under the sea any time soon. Of course, we already know that things are worse than we thought, but if things turn out to be worse than worse than we thought, Alert is surrounded by hills, thereby allowing for even more sea-level rise. And if things get worse than worse than worse than we thought, the British Empire Range, with several peaks over 2000 metres, is not far away.
Alert is on Ellesmere Island, which is perhaps the best place on the planet to study climate change. You see, about 3.4 million years ago, the island was inhabited by High Arctic camels (see Figure 4). They inhabited a boreal-type forest dominated by larch trees that was also inhabited by beavers, deer, rabbits, and fish. Global temperatures were 2 to 3°C warmer than today, Arctic temperatures were ~19°C warmer, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were ~390 ppm, and the Arctic Ocean was ice-free for a significant period each year., Since Ellesmere Island has an area of 196,235 km2 (75,767 mi2) and a population of 191, give or take a few, there’s plenty of room for the institute to expand. The urban heat island effect should be minimal. And with an annual average daily high temperature of −14°C, you’ll be able to keep all those supercomputers cool while they are running all those sciencey climate models, powered of course by wind turbines, solar panels (except from October to February, when there is no sun), and lots and lots and lots and lots of new-technology batteries.
No doubt you will want to demonstrate your personal concern about carbon dioxide emissions and the use of fossil fuels to the rest of the world. So, there will be some restrictions on bringing in anything composed of petroleum products or that involved petroleum products in their manufacture—which, come to think of it, might require that you run your climate models using an abacus or an Aztec nepohualtzintzin. But even if that’s the case, the models’ accuracy won’t suffer.
Figure 3: The location of Alert, Nunavut, Canada (where the little blue writing is). The image shows sea-ice extent on September 15, 2008. (Image by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
Figure 4: During the mid-Pliocene period the high Arctic was balmier and was home to camels, as shown in this artist’s rendering. (Image from Powell in Discover Magazine.)
The Tropical Islanders’ Climate Refugee Plan™
For those of you currently inhabiting oceanic islands whose homes are about to be swallowed by the sea—notwithstanding that Earth’s surface gained 173,000 km2 of land over the last 30 years— Canada offers the Tropical Islanders’ Climate Refugee Plan™. After travelling by sailboat, horseback, and dog-sled from your current island homes, you will be re-settled in one of Canada’s three territories. Covering approximately 3.7 million km2 (1.4 million mi2) and having a total population of only 120,000, there’s plenty of room to grow. While temperatures today can be as much as 70°C below what you’ve become accustomed to, with global warming it won’t be more a few hundred centuries before your great-many-times-over grandchildren will be able to enjoy the climate you’ve come to know and love—unless, of course, the ice sheets that once covered the region to a depth of three to five kilometres return first.
The Climate Journalist’s Refugee Plan™
Male climate leaders in Canada say “don’t call me a man, call me a people” and they, who recognize as well as any modern climate journalist that you must never let facts get in the way of a good story, have come up with an unprecedented opportunity for climate journalists. You know you’re a climate journalist when you have an unprecedented ability to use the word “unprecedented” an unprecedented number of times in association with unprecedented stories about unprecedented events caused by global warming climate change climate disruption atmospheric cancer involving heat, cold, wind, rain, fog, clouds, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, continental drift, the movement of the magnetic poles, war, peace, famine, bumper crops, earlier and/or later freeze-ups, feminist glaciology (see below), reduced male fertility, melting ice, crime or lack thereof, increases or decreases in dog-walking opportunities, the motion of the planets, sunspots, comets, asteroids, supernovae, cosmic rays, and Donald Trump. What’s more, you can understand and fully identify with this:
Through a review and synthesis of a multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging literature on human-ice relations, this paper proposes a feminist glaciology framework to analyze human-glacier dynamics, glacier narratives and discourse, and claims to credibility and authority of glaciological knowledge through the lens of feminist studies. As a point of departure, we use ‘glaciology’ in an encompassing sense that exceeds the immediate scientific meanings of the label, much as feminist critiques of geography, for example, have expanded what it is that ‘geography’ might mean vis-à-vis geographic knowledge (Domosh, 1991; Rose 1993). As such, feminist glaciology has four aspects: (1) knowledge producers, to decipher how gender affects the individuals producing glacier-related knowledges; (2) gendered science and knowledge, to address how glacier science, perceptions, and claims to credibility are gendered; (3) systems of scientific domination, to analyze how power, domination, colonialism, and control—undergirded by and coincident with masculinist ideologies—have shaped glacier-related sciences and knowledges over time; and (4) alternative representations, to illustrate diverse methods and ways—beyond the natural sciences and including what we refer to as ‘folk glaciologies’—to portray glaciers and integrate counter-narratives into broader conceptions of the cryosphere. These four components of feminist glaciology not only help to critically uncover the under-examined history of glaciological knowledge and glacier-related sciences prominent in today’s climate change discussions. The framework also has important implications for understanding vulnerability, adaptation, and resilience—all central themes in global environmental change research and decision-making that have lacked such robust analysis of epistemologies and knowledge production (Conway et al., 2014; Castree et al., 2014).
In return for the opportunity to resettle in Yellowknife or any other soon-to-be-tropical location north of the Arctic Circle, you need only write unprecedentedly good things about our eye-candy climate leaders as they travel round the world inviting one and all to immigrate to Canada, no questions asked. That should be easy, because according to some of the world’s top climate scientists, Canada is just “so hot.” Interestingly, when some of those scientists could not find the missing heat that was supposed to be hiding in the deep oceans, they realized that Canada had absorbed it all. They now have a solid explanation for why all the climate models except that boring Russian one predicted way too much global warming. One top scientist warns, however, that when Canadian climate catastrophe leaders leave this earthly domain to take a rightful place among the Masters of the Universe, wham… a nearly instantaneous and unprecedentedly unprecedented amount of warming will occur, so we MUST act now to stop all other forms of warming.
To be eligible for the Climate Journalist’s Refugee Plan™, you must also have an unwavering commitment to ignoring the past. After all, how could you report things as unprecedented if you also have to report that they happened last year, the year before, in 1954, in 1931, in 1806, and in 1780? (Shhhh… 1780 is the year of the Great Hurricane of the Antilles that killed between 20,000 and 24,000 people. Don’t tell anyone!) You have to be especially careful not to report that the Earth is presently close to the coldest, lowest-CO₂ state it has been in over the last billion years.
No matter who you are, if you’re worried about the horrors to be wrought by global warming climate change climate disruption atmospheric cancer, now’s your chance to put all those worries behind you. So, sign up now and beat the rush! Of course, as we just said, everything will be paid for by the Canadian taxpayer, because according to one of Canada’s Climate Catastrophe Leaders and heroes, taxpayers that are allowed to keep their money would only spend it on themselves and their families.
Welcome to Canada, eh!
 G. Donchyts, F. Baart, H. Winsemius, N. Gorelick, J. Kwadijk, N. van de Giesen. “Earth’s surface water change over the past 30 years.” Nature Climate Change (2016). 6(9):810-813. doi:10.1038/nclimate3111
 M. Carey, M. Jackson, A. Antonello, and J. Rushing: “Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research,” Progress in Human Geography, January 10, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0309132515623368
 A. P. Ballantyne, D. R. Greenwood, J. S. Sinninghe Damsté , A. Z. Csank, J. J. Eberle, and N. Rybczynski. “Significantly warmer Arctic surface temperatures during the Pliocene indicated by multiple independent proxies.” Geology (2010) 38(7):603–606. doi:10.1130/G30815.1
 K. Powell. “What Arctic Fossils Reveal About Our Future Climate.” Discover Magazine, April, 2015.