Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stalled Talks As Progress!

Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister is busy lowering expectations that countries will come out of the Cancun UN climate talks with a deal. By all appearances the Cancun conference will end much as Copenhagen did, with more than 190 countries putting off a binding climate deal. It's a shameful state of affairs when talks are stalled and that is considered to be progress from last week's admission by a top U.S. climate official that the negotiations leading up to Cancun are going backwards.


 In the face of overwhelming evidence of global warming and the toxicity to our environment of spewing some 30 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere yearly, the Tories are content to do nothing.

One of the more short-sighted positions the Harper government has ever taken was to tie their actions on climate change to the U.S.'s. Obama and the Democrats are unable to pass even a tepid bill on the climate through Congress. Since the ruling on Citizens United American politics are now completely dominated by corporate interests and propaganda and they have no desire to see a bill of any sort pass and so their relentless campaigning to muddy the waters of climate science continues unabated.

The Conservatives have argued that moving forward with climate legislation before the Americans do puts Canadian companies at a disadvantage by placing burdens on them that aren't on their U.S. competitors. Yet a recent report from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development urges the Harper government to press ahead with its own domestic policies arguing that, "...acting unilaterally would result in domestic and international credibility gains. Canada should thus remain vigilant and not import avoidable climate-policy uncertainty from its neighbour.”

The lack of action and urgency may well one day be viewed as criminal when the potential consequences are considered. Mark Hertsgaard in a new book, Generation Hot, argues that,  the battle to prevent climate change, feeble as it was, is over. Now the race to survive it has begun. If humanity is to win this race, we must change the way we think about the climate problem. ...the traditional goal of climate policy -- limiting global emissions -- is more important than ever but no longer sufficient.

There apparently is no amount of evidence sufficient enough to move our government on this issue -- not even in the midst of a gold rush for Arctic resources whose sole cause is global warming. Blind, deaf and stupid are the only polite words that come to mind.

UPDATE: Those hippies in the US Military are targeting 30 years from now as a necessary date to get off oil. The United States military must entirely get off oil by 2040 if it wants to reduce operational vulnerabilities, reduce costs, stop new security risks caused by climate change and avoid the coming peak oil supply crunch. That's the word from the Center For a New American Security, whose Fueling the Future Force report details the hows and whys of the situation.

No comments: