We are heading towards more than one global crisis – peak oil and climate change are going to change our world dramatically and quickly, in ways we can’t even imagine at this point. And there’s yet another economic and political crisis looming in the U.S., as the Obama administration goes head to head with the Rethuglicans over draconian budget measures to cut bloated U.S. government spending. Here in Canada we are in the middle of a federal election where the words “climate change” and “sustainability” have barely been mentioned.
Ironically, Stephen Harper seems to be touting Copenhagen as a victory for Canada’s climate change policy – talk about putting his own spin on things! As Elizabeth May pointed out, Copenhagen is “an expedient device for some industrialized countries to avoid their responsibilities”, and it was where Canada swept the “fossil of the day” awards throughout the conference, and ended up being awarded the “Colossal Fossil” for:
“…for bringing a totally unacceptable position into Copenhagen and refusing to strengthen it one bit. Canada’s 2020 target is among the worst in the industrialized world, and leaked cabinet documents revealed that the governments is contemplating a cap-and-trade plan so weak that it would put even that target out of reach.
“Canada has made zero progress here on financing, offering nothing for the short term or the long term beyond vague platitudes. And in last night’s high-level segment, Canada’s environment minister gave a speech so lame that it didn’t include a single target, number or reference to the science.
“Canada’s performance here in Copenhagen builds on two years of delay, obstruction and total inaction. This government thinks there’s a choice between environment and economy, and for them, tar sands beats climate every time. Canada’s emissions are headed nowhere but up. For all this and more, we name Canada the Colossal Fossil.”
Only a politician completely out of touch with the basics of climate science as well as the global push to address this crisis (and who is betting that Canadians are equally as out of it) would tout Copenhagen, and Canada’s feeble reduction targets, as victories in the fight against climate change!
The climate crisis is urgent, Canada has the lowest emission reduction targets in the industrialized world, and even the plan to reach those unacceptable targets have not been verified by an independent third-party. Stephen Harper, and his buddies in the Alberta oil patch, are not going to move Canada towards a low-carbon future. Climate change is the single largest challenge that faces our country today, and Stephen Harper is dangerously lacking in vision and, frankly, basic common sense! Every day that Stephen Harper remains prime minister threatens our children’s future. His economic policy is not grounded in any recognition of how Canadians, like every other person on this globe, depend on clean air, clean water, and a stable climate to thrive in every way, including economically.
How can our politicians ignore the science on the climate crisis? We have a rapidly closing window to address this issue. And yes, it requires courage to tackle climate change, but if we don’t act very soon, we are going to slip into that land of runaway global warming where nothing that humanity can do to change it will be enough. I echo Elizabeth May’s question to all the federal party leaders:
How do you aspire to the name “leader” when you are afraid to address the biggest challenge that we face?