Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Well the S.O.B. Did it. Canada Officially Out of Kyoto

The US announced their energy strategy in 2001 which was largely developed by Vice-President Dick Cheney and the large fossil fuel and nuclear industry companies. Capitalizing on the California energy crisis, which had been brought on by the market manipulations of another close Bush crony, Enron’s Ken Lay, the US Administration called for more of everything — coal, oil, gas, nukes. The only energy item excluded was energy conservation. As Cheney said, “While conservation may be a personal virtue, it has no place in an energy strategy.” Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources at the time, Ralph Goodale, commented that conservation was an essential part of the energy planning of “any intelligent society.” Where will the US find the vast amounts of energy it demands for its massively inefficient and polluting economy? George W. Bush has stated, “We’ve got a plan to make sure that gas comes — flows freely out of Canada into the United States.” (The Energy Onslaught: The Impact of the Bush-Cheney Energy Plan on Canada’s Wilderness. the Sierra Club)
If then energy minister Ralph Goodale, was challenging Dick Cheney by promoting conservation, what was the climate change denial industry going to do?

In her book It's the Crude, Dude; Linda McQuaig discusses the debate around Kyoto. Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration of course hated it, but they also hated any talk of conservation, something Cheney sneered at.  McQuaig reveals how a Canadian anti-Kyoto group sprang up overnight, sponsored by the oil companies, to defend Dick Cheney's position. (p. 133)
Some of Ernie Eves’s top cabinet ministers partied last week with Kyoto-bashers the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, a lobby group with close ties to both Ralph Klein and the energy industry ... It took place in the Queen’s Park dining hall and was a very chummy shrimp-and-wine gathering, a chance for members of the coalition -- the Canadian Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, etc -- to schmooze Tory heavies.
There were speeches by coalition organizers, and a particularly passionate Ontario energy minister, John Baird, made his anti-Kyoto rallying cry. Needless to say, the audience was very receptive. Baird’s parliamentary assistant, Scarborough MPP Steve Gilchrist*, who at one time helped block developers’ plans for the Oak Ridges Moraine, was busy propping open doors with chairs to give relief to a very hot and stuffy room. I couldn’t help remarking to him that perhaps the room was so unbearably hot because of climate change. He was not amused.
While Eves has been slightly slippery on just where he stands on Kyoto, it was interesting to learn that this meeting was organized by Guy Giorno, Mike Harris’s old chief of staff and ultimate Tory party insider. Giorno now works with National Public Relations (NPR), the coalition’s high-priced lobby firm. (Big Oil's Kyoto Party: Harris whiz kid pulls strings at wine and shrimp fete, By Josh Matlow, NOW Magazine, October 24, 2002)
A decade ago John Baird and Harper's former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, were sweating at a shrimp fete and rallying the climate change deniers.

The Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, was an AstroTurf group created by Giorno and funded by the industry that he lobbied for.

Given that we have had a decade of this nonsense, is it any surprise that Canada is backing out of Kyoto?

The only problem with the billboard at the Copenhagen climate conference, is that Stephen Harper will never, ever, ever, say he's sorry for anything.  His job is to make as much money as possible for the oil industry, and he's doing that job.

I just wish he'd do the one he was elected to do and start standing up for the people of Canada.  We already have enough black eyes, did he need to give us a bloody nose and fat lip too?

The sad thing is that in their search for "balance" the media will somehow make this a good thing, allowing the figures that Harper has pulled out of his butt, to stand as fact.  I wish they'd remember that this is their country too, not to mention their planet.

*Steve Gilchrist was the former boss of Harper MP Paul Calandra


  1. Perhaps Canada is backing out of Kyoto because, although the architects of Kyoto had good intentions, they didn't have any realistic vision or plan for implementing their intentions in a way that wouldn't destroy the global economy.

    It's easy for one person to make a gesture... recycle, don't drive, etc. It's very, very different to get an entire nation or a continent to make the same gesture without causing a lot of strife.

    Would you be prepared to pay the welfare of the unemployed auto and oil workers, for example... the people who lose their jobs if we just arbitrarily slashed oil use? Can you *REALLY* afford to get 20% of the plastic products out of your house?

    It's not as simple as some cheesy declaration in Japan. Even Chretien knew this, and it seems pretty obvious at this point that he signed us up for Kyoto to score brownie points back home.

    The government is absolutely right to back out of Kyoto. The Americans were right not to go for it as well.

    Just because someone on the political right does something, doesn't make it automatically wrong. Just because the left wants it, doesn't mean it's automatically correct.

    Kyoto was a half-baked idea. Come back with a new accord when it's been thought through, end-to-end.

  2. Had the Harper gov't an alternative plan I might believe that it was simply about Kyoto. But he has stacked his government with climate change deniers and still thinks that Global Warming is simply a "theory".

    Kyoto was ratified when Chretien was out of office, and despite attempts by Stephen Harper and Jack Layton, Stephane Dion went to great lengths to have it passed.


  3. "Kyoto was a half-baked idea. Come back with a new accord when it's been thought through, end-to-end."

    Canada could have provided leadership within the Kyoto framework and developed it into something more effective. However, that won't happen now, not with a Prime Minister and conservative caucus who are climate change deniers. Canadian conservatives these days seem to be little more than sales associates for corporations invested in the tarsands.

    The Conservatives' main goal seems to be to transform Canada into a medieval petro-state, where the highly destructive alchemy of extracting and converting bitumen to synthetic crude is the highest of religions.

  4. I have severe doubts when a government who can't account for how hundreds of millions of dollars spent in the Canadian north ended up in one severe housing crisis after another (huge mold problem today in Happy Valley- Goose Bay in houses that are less than ten years old) tells me that they can't implement protocols that parliament committed to because it would be too expensive. So far, every other country is standing by their word, whether they've been able to meet their obligations or not.

    Harper has no environmental plan because he depends on money from oil sands developers to buy his elections. When I was younger, I was ashamed of Brian Mulroney's sycophantic kowtowing to American conservatives, but Harper continues to show just how much worse it can get. He's a national and international embarrassment.