Sunday, November 15, 2009

Harper Using Our Money to Convince us That he Should Doing Nothing on Climate Change

Stephen Harper has announced that he will not be attending the Copenhagen summit on climate change, and then when it gave him bad press, said that he will only attend if all countries attend. Then of course, he reiterated his position that the economy comes first.

This is ridiculous on so many levels, that it defies logic.

First off, if he was really concerned with the economy he would not have spent nearly 100 million tax dollars of our money on self promotion.

If he was really concerned with the economy, he would have targeted the stimulus money to areas in Canada where it was needed the most, not simply to areas where his party needed votes the most.

If he was really concerned with the economy, he would not allow his MPs to abuse their franking privileges by sending out ridiculous numbers of ten per centers.

If he was really concerned with the economy, he would not have purchased, on our behalf, nearly 200 billion dollars worth of useless paper, in the form of sub-prime mortgages.

And if he was really concerned with the economy, the environment and us; he would know that green jobs are the jobs of the future. You don't have to separate the economy from the environment. Look at the money he has spent so far trying to convince us not to take Climate Change seriously. Maybe he should have put a bit of that money into fixing the problem, not simply denying that there is a problem.

Well a story today may be even more alarming. The Harper government had set up a war room to see how they could turn around public opinion and negotiate a painless agreement at Copenhagen. Now we learn that NOTHING is going to happen.

We used to be leaders and now we're just followers, hoping that no one tries to lead us to take Climate Change seriously. This is unacceptable.

Climate talks nothing but hot air
Global warming conference in Denmark 'doesn't look promising,' says environment minister
November 15, 2009

Earlier this year, the Conservative government quietly set up an elaborate war room to manage Canada's battle plan for the Copenhagen global warming talks next month.

On Dec. 7, representatives from Canada and 191 other countries begin meeting in Denmark to try to reach a new international accord on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice, an experienced negotiator, insisted on leaving nothing to chance -- nor, apparently, to the usual bureaucracy.

Without fanfare, a special "climate-change unit" was created to operate outside normal bureaucratic channels, devoted exclusively to planning one of the biggest and most complicated negotiations the Conservative government has faced. Today, the high-powered federal group includes dozens of senior government officials from different departments and even some key recruits from the private sector.

Former business journalist Deidre McMurdy, for instance, was hired away from a national think-tank to manage communications surrounding the Copenhagen confab. No effort or expense was spared.

Unfortunately, the whole exercise now appears to have been for naught.

With only three weeks to go to the opening cocktails at Copenhagen, the supposedly historic negotiation to save the planet is already being written off as an 11-day exercise in futility.

Officially, Stephen Harper's government is sticking to the party line that "Canada intends to play an active and constructive role with a view to achieving an effective and fair agreement" for fighting climate change. But even the ordinarily optimistic Prentice now spends his time trying to lower public expectations, clearly convinced nothing of much substance will come from the hot-air summit.

"It doesn't look promising," he said recently with evident understatement.

Earlier this month, Michael Martin, Canada's chief climate-change negotiator, admitted "we are clearly a long way from a treaty."

A senior federal official puts it more bluntly, saying the only strategy occupying the war room these days is "how to get in and out of Copenhagen without being blamed for what's not going to happen."

None of which should come as any big surprise.

For the past year, Prentice and his officials have been meeting with their counterparts in 15 other countries representing major economies which are collectively responsible for more than 75% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal was to reach a unified position going into next month's environmental summit to ensure none would be put at economic risk.

So far, the main agreement among them seems to be that nothing much of any consequence is going to happen at Copenhagen.

Major emitters among developing countries such as China, India and Brazil are resisting any agreement that would curtail their economic growth.

The United States doesn't even have an official position on climate change to take to Copenhagen, several key environmental bills having been stuck in the U.S. senate for months.

Even the promised coming of Barack Obama as environmental saviour seems to have been put on hold while the president expends his political capital on a health care debate getting bloodier by the minute.

Meanwhile, poorer Third World countries are demanding developed nations provide them with green funding in amounts more than double the total foreign aid currently provided by all western countries.

Good luck with that.

Earlier this month, representatives from all 192 countries met for the last time before Copenhagen and left with a draft climate-change agreement that still has more than 400 major points of disagreement. All of which is bringing quiet sighs of relief inside the Harper government.

A tough stand by the U.S. at Copenhagen in favour of strict emission-reduction targets would have forced Canada to fall in line with potentially harsh economic consequences, especially in the Alberta oil patch.


Instead, Copenhagen is shaping up to be such a monumental bust that Prentice is now saying he is going there "to defend Canada's interests."

Off camera, Canadian officials are predicting Copenhagen will be 11 days of talking leading to an agreement to keep talking some more next year.

More than a decade ago, Jean Chretien's government signed on to the Kyoto accord with emission-reduction promises the Liberals had no intention of keeping.

This time, the Conservatives are at least being honest about doing nothing.

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