Monday, April 18, 2011

Ignoring Climate Change Will Not Make it Go Away

British environmental activist and author, George Monbiot, gives Stephen Harper and the Conservatives a place of honour in his book Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning
Thanks to the efforts of Mr Harper and your environment minister, Rona Ambrose, Canada's global reputation is now beginning to catch up with its performance. When they say that Canada cannot reach its Kyoto targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, they mean that they do not intend to try. Their surrender within the first few months in office is an astonishing instance of political cowardice. Having presented himself to the Canadian people as a man who can make tough choices, Harper declared himself an irresolute wimp as soon as he was faced with a choice between upsetting a few industrial lobbyists or helping to save the planet. Keeping Canada's promise to cut emissions by 6%, he says, is just too hard. When I first heard that, I couldn't help bursting into bitter laughter. (1)
Stephen Harper didn't try because he doesn't believe in the science of climate change. In fact he doesn't believe in science at all. How else could you explain his appointment of a creationist to the science portfolio?

But denying climate change doesn't mean that it will just correct itself.

The image at the top of the page is from a billboard going into the climate change summit in Copenhagen in 2009. The world was taking notice and the world was not impressed. And in Copenhagen we won not only many Colossal Fossil awards of the day, but ran off with the top prize. The Colossal Fossil of the summit.

And not simply because of our inaction on climate change, but because Harper tried to sabotage the negotiations.

And in an attempt to rescue our reputation, the prime minister ... well ... did nothing. In fact he missed most of the conference, instead arriving with wealthy oil execs to have lunch with the Queen of Denmark.

And when he was reminded that smaller nations were being devastated by global warming, he made one of the most shocking statements ever to come out of a world leader, let alone a Canadian pm:
"This may be a shock," Harper said last month in the House of Commons, "but the negotiators Canada assigns to international negotiations (like Copenhagen) are there to represent the interests of Canada, not the interests of Mali."
With that statement he painted Canadians as cold and heartless.

We are a nation now being defined by the Tar Sands. And it is giving not only Canada but Alberta a black eye.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has often referred to Canada as an emerging "energy superpower" due largely to the development of the Alberta oil sands. But what has been the long-term legacy of fossil fuel development in Alberta -- the epicenter of the Canadian conservative movement and Harper's political powerbase?

Deficits, foolish giveaways to corporations at the expense of taxpayers, and environmental "carnage" without funds to fix it, according to Allan Warrack, a former minister in the Alberta government who nearly 40 years ago helped craft the province's plan for saving and intelligently investing its oil wealth.
And putting his entire focus on the Alberta oil patch has been misguided at best. Goldman Sachs is now warning their clients not to invest in Canada:
A Goldman Sachs strategist has told investors that it is time to dump their Canadian stocks, so they can avoid suffering losses in the short term as oil prices decline.Noah Weisberger told investors Tuesday that Canadian stocks "made new highs last week, even as growth jitters and higher energy prices were constraining equity markets elsewhere."

But he advised Goldman Sachs clients to drop their Canadian holdings as "risks to the forward view of economic growth are more balanced as are the risks to oil prices."
And Harper's pipeline plans will flow all the good jobs South, even though apparently they don't want them.

And his entire environmental platform is a fraud. It's why he appointed fraudster Bruce Carson to write copy for the Tar Sands and their so-called "ethical oil".

George Monbiot wrote a piece for the UK Guardian: Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling. In it he says of Canada:
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world's peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country's government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee's tea party.
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Kate Heartfield wrote last week for the Ottawa Citizen: John Baird rewrites history In it she calls out Baird for his flip-flop on cap-and-trade.

In her closing statement she says: "Granted, the Liberals have changed their carbon-pricing policy too since the last election (from the tax shift in 2008 to cap and trade now) but at least they're being honest about it."

The Liberals were left with no alternative. Stephen Harper, with the help of Jack Layton, made "carbon tax" akin to poison. Which is sad because a carbon tax is a much better initiative.

It is open, transparent and can be made revenue neutral, which is exactly what the Green Shift was. But sadly, in 2008, both the Conservatives and NDP campaigned against it, as a "tax on everything".

It helped them politically but greatly damaged our chance at reversing the trend.

Now the media is giving the Conservatives a free pass on the environment, simply because they are claiming they will do what Obama does, knowing full well that the Tea Party/Republicans are severely tying his hands.

One of the budget measures they insisted on was the gutting of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mimicking our own government's gutting of environmental protection, under the guise of removing red tape.

It's fitting that Monbiot referred to the Harper government as "a chimpanzee's tea party". The Canadian version of the Koch Brothers Tea Party.

You do the math.

And when you're done make sure you vote on May 2, and vote wisely. Our reputation depends on it.


1. Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning, By George Monbiot, 2006, Random House, ISBN: 13-978-0-385-66221-5

1 comment:

  1. Our reputation - and our children's safe and secure future.
    Well said, Emily!