Weak, Ineffective Government Policies Behind Canada’s Low Ranking On Environment

In 2009, Canada was at the bottom of 57 industrialized countries in the Climate Change Performance Index (only  Saudi Arabia was ranked lower). A ranking of Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries by environmental record places Canada at the bottom, ranking 24th out of 25 countries, ahead of only the United States. The top ranking countries are Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

In a new study conducted by Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki Foundation that examines the reasons behind Canada’s poor environmental record shows that weak government policies are behind Canada’s poor environmental record, not the country’s cold climate and large size. The news release states:

The study is one of the first ever to examine the reasons for Canada’s poor environmental performance. Factors such as Canada’s cold climate, large size, and heavy reliance on natural resource industries were examined and found that none explain Canada’s poor performance.

“The traditional explanations for Canada’s poor performance are simply not valid,” says Dr. Thomas Gunton, lead author of the study. “These so-called natural disadvantages are offset by a major natural advantage we have over other countries — the availability of low polluting hydro power.”

The research shows that if Canada’s environmental policies were strengthened to the level in other developed countries such as Sweden and Denmark, Canada’s environmental ranking would move from 24th to 1st.

So what are we waiting for?  It’s the 21st Century – let’s move towards the future with hope, secure in the knowledge that we are being good stewards of this beautiful country. We need to formalize in government policies the reality that endless growth is not possible on a finite planet. Nor is endlessly pouring toxins into our environment possible without paying a high price sooner or later. Right now, there are 170 square kilometres of toxic tailing ponds sitting in Alberta’s boreal forest, generated by the dirtiest project on earth, the tar sands. Where, oh where, are politicians and leaders with vision?


Canada’s Cold Climate No Excuse For Poor Environmental Record.

The full report, “The Maple Leaf in the OECD” is available by clicking on the title.

Tck Tck Tck – 14 days To Go…

On December 7th in Copenhagen, 192 world leaders will meet to decide our future when they attend the UN Climate Change Talks.  Go to the tck tck tck website and click on “human impact stories” to read about how climate change is already affecting people around the world.

There are lots of websites that discuss the science of climate change, some more reputable than others.  Here’s one that I learned about over the weekend, Climate Sight.  It’s a thorough look at what is credible and what is not in the science of climate change, in contrast to the “craziness” of what is reported in newspapers and TV.  The purpose of Climate Sight is to:

to find, investigate, and eliminate the discrepancies between scientific knowledge and public knowledge on climate change.

It’s an impressive website which is even more impressive when you learn that it is written by a Winnipeg high schooler!

Through Climate Sight, I also found One Blue Marble, a website whose mission is to slow climate change and save the world. Their home page describes the situation we’re in this way:

If this was a Hollywood blockbuster, the clock would be ticking off the last 10 seconds as the sweat-spattered heroine makes the ultimate decision… Cut the red wire, or the green one… as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

It really is that serious.

If you are interested in learning more about Canada’s environmental record, check out  One Blue Marble‘s posts on the Alberta Tar Sands, and Canada’s Sorry Environmental Record, and their Red Letter Campaign.

We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.                              ~Ancient Proverb