Fossils In Harper Government Recognized In Doha

Fossil-of-the-Day-405x332Yes, it’s the annual UN Climate negotiations, which means that it’s time for Canada to start receiving its Fossil awards.  This comes as no surprise to any Canadians who pay attention to what our current federal government is up to in Ottawa these days. It’s clear that they are dinosaurs in every sense of the word except DNA, and are intent on dragging our once proud and progressive nation back into the 20th Century.

Climate Action Network reports that Canada was singled out on climate finance in Doha with a first place Fossil Of The Day:

Canada was awarded the first place fossil of the day today in Qatar for Environment Minister Peter Kent’s dismissive approach to supporting climate action in poorer countries.

In media interviews yesterday, Minister Kent confirmed Canada’s intention not to contribute new funding in Doha to help poorer countries tackle climate change, saying that Doha “isn’t a pledging conference.”

In a letter to civil society groups, Minister Kent said that Canada does not support providing funding for emission reductions through the new Green Climate Fund – a fund that has been a major accomplishment of recent UN climate talks – until “a new agreement applicable to all…can be adopted by all parties.” Read full press release here.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, put it this way yesterday:

When it comes to progress on climate change negotiations, the best thing for Canada to do is to stay home and stop sabotaging the process, says the leader of the Green Party.

“Canada continues to be a country that pushes other countries to do less. Our role is not just an embarrassment, it’s reckless and brings our once good national reputation into disrepute,” argued Elizabeth May at a news conference in Ottawa today.”

Read the full Huff Po article: Greens Leader Accuses Tories of Sabotaging Climate Talks.

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explain to future generations it was good for the economy

Our Children Can’t Afford Another Five Years Of Stephen Harper

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?


 

 

More links:

Bloomberg, Clinton Join Forces To Fight Climate Change

Climate Shame As Canada is Named “Colossal Fossil”

Environmental Issues: Elizabeth May and Party Panel on CBC’s The Current

She deserves a clean energy future!

An Open Letter to the Canadian Opposition Parties

This week, Canadians and the rest of the world found out that the Conservative minority government is considering allowing the oil and gas industry in Canada to significantly increase emissions in the next decade, rather than cut emissions. Here is what CBC, which broke this story, reported on Monday:

For example, the proposal suggests that the oil and gas industry would have to cut 15 megatonnes of emissions, rather than 48 megatonnes under its Turning the Corner plan.

It also says projected growth in greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands in northern Alberta will be 165 per cent by 2020 and proposes to cut that growth — not emissions — by 10 per cent.

This is a really BIG deal. This minority government, with strong ties to Alberta’s oil barons, is abusing its position to sacrifice Canada’s future for short-term financial gain. As I quoted yesterday, “real Conservatives would be working to conserve all that is good about Canada, not just rich people’s money”.  If Canadians understood what this policy means for us and our children, there would be rioting in the streets. There is NO WAY that we would stand for it.

It is the role of the opposition parties to oppose government policies and let Canadians know how these policies will impact us. Yet where are those opposition voices on this, the most crucial issue that Canadians will ever have to deal with? Our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren, hangs in the balance. Canadians are an intelligent, caring bunch. None of us would support a policy or a government that threatened our children’s health and happiness. Where are the voices that should be telling us this?

Micheal Ignatieff seems to be missing in action. Mr. Ignatieff, the Liberals are not going to win a landslide in Alberta anyway – your party is ideally situated to be voicing strong opposition to this dirty Alberta tar sands and the weak Conservative climate policy that they are responsible for.

Mr. Layton – where is a strong NDP voice on this? Your party should be standing for the average Canadian – the vast majority of us don’t work in the oil and gas sector. Why haven’t we heard a lot more about Bill C-377, The Climate Change Accountability Act? This was your private member’s bill, and according to your website:

Today, with the passage of NDP Leader Jack Layton’s private member’s bill, The Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-377), Canada’s House of Commons has become the first elected chamber in the world to adopt science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent, from 1990 levels, by 2050.

“This is a world first,” said Layton. “Our legislation sets tough but achievable targets that will ensure Canada does its share to avoid the dangerous two-degree increase in average global temperature that scientists warn us about.”

Yet this bill was passed a year and a half ago – the Harper government is ignoring it, and Canadians aren’t hearing anything about this. Please, educate us about this bill and hold the government’s feet to the fire. They are ignoring the majority-determined will of Parliament.

And Elizabeth May – why, oh why, did you run in an unwinnable riding in the last election? We badly need your intelligent and articulate voice in Parliament on this issue. It looks like you have a better chance in the next election – godspeed!

While the Afghan detainee issue that is dominating the news and parliament hill these days is important, and the government should be held accountable, how much more important is this issue? Opposition parties, wake up! Please LEAD in this issue – Canadians are desperate for a strong voice in this, whether or not they realize it.