Unfortunately for Canadians, it’s not our tar-sands loving Conservative Prime Minister making this bold statement. It’s David Cameron, the new Conservative Prime Minister of Britain. His coalition government just committed itself to the 10/10/10 campaign, pledging to cut carbon emissions by 10% in the first 12 months of the new government. Here is more of what he said:
I don’t want to hear warm words about the environment. I want to see real action. I want this to be the greenest government ever… I intend to make decisions put off for too long to fundamentally change how we supply and use energy in Britain… To give the power industry the confidence it needs to invest in low carbon energy projects.
Despite the desperate deniers claims to the contrary, climate change is not an issue on the left or the right of the political spectrum. Back in 1990 British Conservative PM Margaret Thatcher, who worked as a research chemist before becoming a tax lawyer and then politician, gave her first speech on the need to address climate change in 1988, to the British Royal Society. She told the assembled scientists that three changes in atmospheric chemistry needed their attention: greenhouse gases, the hole in the ozone layer and acid emissions from power plants. She said these issues warranted not just good science to resolve uncertainties but also government action to diminish pollution and promote sustainable development. Later, in 1990, Thatcher addressed the 2nd World Climate Conference, saying:
“…the need for more research should not be an excuse for delaying much needed action now. There is already a clear case for precautionary action at an international level.
… But of the other greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is by far the most extensive and contributes about half of the manmade greenhouse warming. All our countries produce it…
These figures underline why a joint international effort to curb greenhouse gases in general and carbon dioxide in particular is so important. There is little point in action to reduce the amounts being put into the atmosphere in one part of the world, if they are promptly increased in another…”
Click here to read the entire transcript of her speech.
Meanwhile, Canadians are saddled with a minority Conservative government that is becoming increasingly isolated internationally because of its intransigence on the issue of climate change and its support of the “dirtiest project on earth”, the Alberta tar sands. Harper recently dismissed everything, including climate change, as “just noise” next to the economy. Harper and his buddies just don’t get it! If you have an economy built on unsustainable principles, it’s going to get “noisier and noisier” until the noise of global climate instability and environmental degradation costs so much to deal with, in economic as well as human terms, there isn’t any “economy” left standing.
There are some Conservatives, like David Cameron, who believe in conserving the planet as well as the economy. Harper, listen up! Margaret Thatcher, Conservative to the core of her being, put it this way:
“In recent years, we have been playing with the conditions of the life we know on the surface of our planet. We have cared too little for our seas, our forests and our land. We have treated the air and the oceans like a dustbin. We have come to realise that man’s activities and numbers threaten to upset the biological balance which we have taken for granted and on which human life depends.
We must remember our duty to Nature before it is too late. That duty is constant. It is never completed. It lives on as we breathe. It endures as we eat and sleep, work and rest, as we are born and as we pass away. The duty to Nature will remain long after our own endeavours have brought peace to the Middle East. It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.”
To sign a letter to Prime Minister Harper to protect Canada’s biodiversity, click here.
To learn more about Bill C311, the Climate Accountability Act, which Harper and his Conservative party oppose, click here. To encourage all Senators to pass this bill, click here for sample emails and email addresses, and other contact info.