Conservative PM: “I Want This To Be The Greenest Government Ever”

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.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZQGowShIAs]

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.

EU Urges Canada to Address Climate Change: “There is A Real Threat To Our Survival”

Once again, Canada under Prime Minister Stephen Harper (whose father was an oil company executive)  is shown up as an international laggard in acting on climate change.  The President of the European Union, José Manuel Barroso is now calling Harper on his government’s inaction on this crucial issue:

Canada shouldn’t keep waiting for the rest of the world to act on climate change before making its own changes, the president of the European Union Commission said Wednesday as he prepared to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Brussels.

“We should not lose momentum regarding climate change negotiations,” José Manuel Barroso told Canadian reporters during an hour-long briefing.

“With Canada, I’m not going to give lessons to one of our partners. What we want is for everybody to move.

“What we don’t want to see, frankly speaking, is that someone does not move because the others don’t move.”

Barroso said the matter is pressing enough to require immediate political action, despite the economic toll that might result from measures to reduce carbon emissions, which a large body of research has linked to global warming…

“In Europe, we believe, according to science, that there is a real threat to our survival as a civilization. And for the future of our planet and the quality of life of our children … I think we have to move.”

Click here to read the full story on CBC.ca.

However, the good news is that the three opposition parties – NDP, Liberal, and Bloc Quebecois – are working together to pass Bruce Hyer’s private member’s bill, Bill C311 “The Climate Accountability Act”.  Despite the Conservative’s attempts to derail the bill, it is going for its third and final vote in the House of Commons this afternoon.  To encourage the three parties to continue to support the bill today, click here. Once it has passed in the House, it will also have an uphill battle in the Senate.  But that’s a battle for another day!

This picture sums up Harper’s approach to climate change:

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I understand that you are a very intelligent man.  You have your master’s degree in economics, and you play a mean Beatles tune on the piano.  And you have worked hard and dedicated yourself to the pursuit of political power. You have been the Prime Minister of Canada for 4 years now, albeit in a minority parliament.  You also are the father of 2 children, Benjamin and Rachel.

I would like to talk to you as one parent to another. I love my children dearly, as I’m sure that you love Benjamin and Rachel.  There is nothing that most parents wouldn’t do to ensure that their children’s life is a happy, healthy, and secure one.  We work to put bread on the table for them, we scrimp and save for their college fund, we drive them to their hockey games and piano lessons, and we encourage them to apply themselves in school to make their future opportunities better. We want the best, because we love them and care deeply about what happens to them.

You have a unique opportunity, Mr. Harper.  You are not only a father, you are the Prime Minister of Canada right now.  We in Canada, and the rest of the globe, are in a unique position at this moment in history. We are poised on the brink of disaster.  This is what the experts – both the climate experts and the Inuit people in the arctic – are telling us.  The number 350 is the most important number in the world right now.  Yes, even more important than 155, the number of members of parliament required for a majority government.  350 parts per million is the number that scientists tell us is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.  Right now we are sitting at 390, and the number is climbing.

There is a big difference between being intelligent and being wise, Mr. Harper.  Winning at the political game is possible while losing in a much larger sense.  It’s time to set aside political expediency and act to save our children’s futures.  While there is still time.  For your Benjamin and Rachel, for my Kate and Emma, and for all the other children in Canada and around the world.