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Climate change denial in Canada
August 15, 2006 7:52 AM   Subscribe

The Toronto Globe and Mail on climate-change denial in Canada. Includes a description of how donations from oil companies to anti-Kyoto groups like Friends of Science are laundered through the Calgary Foundation and the University of Calgary's Science Education Fund. Previously.
posted by russilwvong (67 comments total)

 
I really don't get why oil companies waste money on this stuff. Oil demand is sufficiently inelastic that it doesn't matter if oil eats babies. People will still buy it. And who cares if the government taxes oil up the ass? Again, people will still buy it. And if the oil companies have to give up on extracting the most expensive oil in the universe way up in the tar sands? It'll happen eventually. What's the hurry to pull it out now? Stupid lobbyists.
posted by GuyZero at 7:59 AM on August 15, 2006


Well, the point is that it's not the most expensive oil, if you include the military costs of getting oil in the Middle East. And Canada is sitting on the second largest oil reserves in the world. All the US needs do is get an oil executive elected as Prime Minister. No, wait...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:06 AM on August 15, 2006


weapons-grade pandemonium writes "All the US needs do is get an oil executive elected as Prime Minister."

Or, you know, a really keen neocon suckup would do just as well. Oh wait...
posted by clevershark at 8:14 AM on August 15, 2006


Harper is both.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:19 AM on August 15, 2006




Well, maybe not executive. He worked briefly in the oil industry. He doesn't seem the roughneck type.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:21 AM on August 15, 2006


I was a little disappointed when I found out that Canada hadn't met its Kyoto requirements... until I found out that emissions from Alberta had skyrocketed in the past few years due to oil exploration. No wonder our PM wants to "reconsider Kyoto" (i.e. kill it).
posted by clevershark at 8:31 AM on August 15, 2006


Can someone tell me why this shoudn't count as corruption? There was so much fucking noise over the sponsorship scandal, why shouldn't we be livid that the Conservatives are paying to decieve the public in order to allow their friends in the oil patch write environmental policy.

If the liberals were nailed to the wall by Gomery, then these bastards deserve to be executed for their role in ensuring that my generation, and those after me will have to live with the disaterous consequences of their selfishness.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2006


off-topic: Harper is a fucking fuck fuck.
posted by chunking express at 8:47 AM on August 15, 2006


on topic: Harper is a slimy, amoral, manipulative, narcissistic douchebag running the country for the sole benefit of rich Albertans.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:53 AM on August 15, 2006


"Environment Canada can't even predict the weather!" he bellows. "How can you tell me that they have any idea what its going to be like 100 years from now if they can't tell me what the weather is going to be like in four months, or even next week?"

Let's see... August 15 now, four months would mean December 15. I predict it's going to be pretty damned cold here in Canada. Let's see how I do.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:59 AM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


What I can't stand is that for the entire length of his term our foreign policy is going to be exactly the same sort of America-fellating abdication of responsibility that we'd all thought gone with the Mulroney junta.

When Harper says he'll assert our sovereignty over the Arctic, I have to laugh. He's got no credibility whatsoever when it comes to standing up to Americans. And what of David Anderson? His chief stated reason for accepting the softwood lumber deal is, basically, that the Americans have tossed us as many table scraps as they're willing to toss us, and that there is no more. We're right back to the master-slave imagery when it comes to dscribing our relationship with the US, and that should have ended in 1993.
posted by clevershark at 9:00 AM on August 15, 2006


Environment Canada can't even predict the weather!" he bellows.

Yet another idiot who doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate. I'd be curious as to why Professor Ball is a former professor and not a working professor.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:06 AM on August 15, 2006


Guyzero: The oil and gas companies care because they are one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Oil sands extraction requires lots of steam. They currently make this steam by burning natural gas. There are proposals to do this with coal, as Alberta is sitting on an enormous coal seam, which would increase the carbon dioxide emissions per joule (or btu) by about 30%.

If the federal government brings in a carbon tax or, more likely a carbon emissions trading program, the oil producers could be on the hook for a lot of money, particularly the tar sands producers. This would be either as a direct tax, or to buy emissions credits. With this in mind, there is serious talk of building a nuclear reactor to fuel the tar sands expansion plans.
posted by bonehead at 9:35 AM on August 15, 2006


“Who are they? Who is paying them? What motivates them? How is it they can sleep at night?”

Indeed. And yet were we to pelt them with our feces, it is we who would be arrested. It is a strange world. That whole “you can’t eat money” Native American comment keeps coming back to me. You can’t breathe it either. It astonishes me there are people who desire luxury/power/etc. so badly that they will destroy the future of their descendants to get it. Hmmm... also reminds me of the Kronos myth. I mean what’s the percentage in denying this? Skepticism is skepticsim and it’s healthy. You have peer review, all that. But this is just nuts. And the inclusion of politics into this makes me want to cripple someone.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2006


GuyZero, demand may be inelastic in the short term, but not in the long term. Just look at how Americans reacted to the oil shocks for evidence.
posted by Dasein at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2006


Why don't you email the PM?

Knowing it's a complete waste of time and will do nothing but make the sender (at least the naive ones like me) sleep a bit better at night.
posted by Bearman at 10:56 AM on August 15, 2006


Global warming doesn't exist because it's not convenient or profitable! Does anyone remember the tobacco companies paying retired "scientists" for decades to show us that cigarettes didn't cause cancer. I'm sure they would still consider it money well spent.
posted by wavespy at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2006


Harper is a All previous eastern Prime Ministers are slimy, amoral, manipulative, narcissistic douchebag[s] running the country for the sole benefit of rich Albertans Ontario and Quebec.

Fixed that to be more truthful for you.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2006


The decline of the west has started, Canada is no different. Our star never shone as bright as we would have liked, but we had our moments. In 100 years when Medicare doesn't exist anymore and all social programs have been stopped and our arctic is owned by the US it will all seem so evident, but for now we can keep chugging along hoping that things will change for the better.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:09 PM on August 15, 2006


Why all the hatred for Harper in this thread? It's not like the previous prime minister stood up to the Americans or actually made any progress to meeting our Kyoto committments.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2006


Does lip service count as progress?
posted by GuyZero at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2006


Chretien was alwasy talking smack about Americans; that's gotta count for something.
posted by chunking express at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2006


Oh, right, I forgot. We're all supposed to be Alienated Westerners. Damn all those bastards in the east, I better support someone from the west, he'll represent my interests, because he's from a province next to mine. It doesn't matter if his values are completely antithetical to mine, or if he is willing to poison my future to further enrich the already obscenely weathy. What matters is that he's from Alberta, which means he's a westerner, which means I have to support him.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2006


Uh, [expletive deleted], I'm not quite sure what you're saying in this thread other than mumbling anti-Conservative screeds.
posted by angrybeaver at 1:52 PM on August 15, 2006


I'm not mumbling anti-conservative screeds. If Harper and the Conservatives had decided to challenge the Liberals on the environment, and commit themselves to doing something about it, then I'd support them. I'd even vote for the fuckers despite the knuckle draggers among them who think the Bible is the only valid font of public policy.

I'm fucking furious that our federal government could be even less serious about changing our environmentally destructive habits than the Martinites were. I have absolutely no illusions about what the Liberals offered, namely some plattitudes and a few gutless initiatives. But that is a damn sight better than killing those programs while colluding with the oil industry to fund loonies to give us the reach around while they fuck us.

Did I make myself clear, or am I still mumbling?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:10 PM on August 15, 2006


“Does anyone remember the tobacco companies paying retired "scientists" for decades to show us that cigarettes didn't cause cancer.”

Oh please, even if they do cause cancer what else can you use to steady your nerves? There has not been one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels. It truly soothes your “T-zone.”
*accepts ass-loads of cash*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:25 PM on August 15, 2006


That's much clearer, sir. Why didn't you say so in the first place?

I don't argue your opposition to Harper and the Conservatives based on their anti-environmental agenda. But at least they were upfront about it indicating their opposition to Kyoto and other environmental measures during the last election so no one should really be shocked to see the manner in which they govern.

I'm thankful we're not wasting money on Rick Mercer's "One-Tonne Challenge" anymore.

I really doubt that Harper should be indicted for corruption though. While his environmental policies are favourable for the oil companies that are reaping the black gold, I find it hard to believe that members of the Conservative Party are receiving kickbacks from the oilmen.
posted by angrybeaver at 2:35 PM on August 15, 2006


Kyoto was all about air pollution, and the Liberal focus on that was to the detriment of water and land pollution. If you go and look at the whole record of environmental protection -not just Kyoto- you'll soon see that the Conservatives are doing a generally broader scope and likely more effective plan than the Liberals were able to pull off.

But hey, feel free to yell Kyoto! at the top of your lungs at an anti-Conservative rally. The exercise will do you good.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:53 PM on August 15, 2006




Really, angrybeaver, do you find it hard to believe? I wouldn't be surprised, given how the CPC marches in lockstep with the industry on the environment. Harper and his government are promoting the interests of Alberta oilmen at the incalcuable expense of everyone else on earth. Does that not bother you?

I wasn't happy with the Liberals, and I found Mercer's "One Ton Challenge" insipid, not because of what it was, but because any serious emissions reducing regime did not accompany it. It's easy to find fault with Martin on the issue of environmental leadership.

What I don't understand is what this has to do with the Conservatives being worse, or why they deserve any credit for being openly opposed to doing anything about climate change.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:58 PM on August 15, 2006


Kickstart, do you know anything about the Kyoto Protocol or ACC at all? Doesn't sound like it...
posted by wilful at 3:00 PM on August 15, 2006


wilful and [expletive deleted], do you know anything about what the Conservatives are actually doing for the environment? Doesn't sound like it...
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:06 PM on August 15, 2006


...feel free to yell Kyoto! at the top of your lungs at an anti-Conservative rally. The exercise will do you good.

Except for all the gas and diesel fumes you'll be sucking in.
posted by Bearman at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2006


Kickstart, if that link is the only evidence you can find that the conservatives are doing something about the environment, then I don't know how you can say that with a straight face.

And since when does caring about climate change preclude one from doing something about other environmental issues?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2006


Do I find it hard to believe that Harper et al believe they are doing the best thing for the Canadian economy by allowing oil extraction in order to create jobs, increase tax revenue and boost the economy with cheap sources of energy, damn the environmental consequences. Nope, not at all.

Do I think that evil Texas oilmen are slipping American greenbacks into Harper's back pocket - no way. However if you have evidence to the contrary I'm sure Layton, Suzuki, and the entire Canadian population would love to see that information.
posted by angrybeaver at 3:19 PM on August 15, 2006


The point is, while the Liberals were in power, SO MUCH focus was on the Kyoto Accord and therefore air pollution that -at the time- environmentalists were complaining that they were ignore land and water. Now that the C's have taken on a larger scope (of which I gave just one example) and backing off on Kyoto in order to accomplish that, people are ignoring what the environmentalists were saying for the years previous to the change in government.

since when does caring about climate change preclude

Since there is a finite amount of money, time, and productivity available to accomplish things. Please, if you want to have a reasoned discussion on this topic, don't be disingenuous.

--

For what it's worth, there is PLENTY I disagree with the Conservatives on. I would have rather NOT voted for them if there was a reasonable alternative to both the Liberals and Conservatives. I am far from a right-wing apologist, but I am also not someone who puts up with blatant mismanagement of my tax dollars either. Put up a rebuilt Liberal party with some more fiscal sense and I'll be happy to have them back in power.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:21 PM on August 15, 2006


s/ignore/ignoring/
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:22 PM on August 15, 2006


One such policy is here: planning an absolute ban on the dumping of raw sewage along Canada's coastline

I just don't see the feds giving money to the city of Victoria to build sewage treatment plants, and I don't see Victoria doing it without 100% federal funding. So a policy is nice, but it'll be toothless as the previous governments' inaction.

Kickstart, it's pretty clear that Kyoto is one of your bugaboos, but the Conservative plans are obviously, to any objective viewer, ineffective and even regressive.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:38 PM on August 15, 2006


The feds have committed to pay 1/3 of costs for a new sewage treatment plant for Victoria, with the province paying 1/3 and the city 1/3. This is far more than the Liberals have ever done in former Liberal Minister of the Environment David Anderson's riding.
posted by angrybeaver at 3:44 PM on August 15, 2006



solid-one-love said: I just don't see the feds giving money to the city of Victoria to build sewage treatment plants


Environment Canada stated in their response that approximately $200 million in federal funding has been dedicated to BC through Western Diversification to fund upgrades of sewage treatment to prevent discharge of know pollutants into the marine environment.


This has been available since late 2004. This is the first link in a Google search for "victoria federal money sewage treatment". Please don't make claims you can't back up.

Further, a spokesperson for Sierra on CKNW the other day stated that Victoria's estimate of $450 million for the plant was massively overstated and that $250 million was much more realistic. Meaning that the federal government has offered the far majority of the money needed to accomplish this.

As for Kyoto, I believe climate change is one of the biggest concerns facing mankind today. I also think Kyoto or Kyoto-like protocols are an important step in this. I don't think that Kyoto is the be-all-and-end-all of ways to help the environment, as so many people who've swallowed the Liberal line seem to be saying.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2006


Might want to read my entire sentence, guys: ...and I don't see Victoria doing it without 100% federal funding.

I lived in Victoria for 35 years. The feds can promise 35% funding all they like, but unless it's 100%, they're actually being less effective than the Liberals were because nothing's still gonna get done and more effort is being expended to do nothing. There is little political will in Victoria to spend money on sewage treatment. It's never gonna happen.

Please don't make claims about which you nothing short of what you can pull out of news sources you don't understand.

Further, a spokesperson for Sierra on CKNW the other day

Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA!

Yeah, that's credible. Victoria's estimate is, if anything, low by 30%. Ever tried to build anything in Victoria? How much over budget was that arena?
posted by solid-one-love at 3:51 PM on August 15, 2006


1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 funding is quite common in Canada for infrastructure projects. I don't see why the Canadian taxpayer should pay 100% of the city of Victoria's expenses.
posted by angrybeaver at 3:54 PM on August 15, 2006


Oh, my god. I'm still wiping away tears. A completely unbiased environmental org spokeperson sez a Victoria building project budget was massively overstated? Heh. Oh, man.

Not even an unbiased person should be able to say that with a straight face.

Ow, my sides.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:54 PM on August 15, 2006


I just don't see the feds giving money to the city of Victoria to build sewage treatment plants, and I don't see Victoria doing it without 100% federal funding.

Oh, c'mon. Read your damned sentence. You made two claims in conjunction and they are independent enough that you have no right to bitch about people 'misreading your intent'. Want to get your point across? Write better sentences.

As for Sierra, fine. I don't dispute that. Present a better figure, from someone with better credentials. Christ, first people bitch at me for not paying attention to the environmental side of things, and then they bitch at me when I do.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:56 PM on August 15, 2006


solid-one-love: Stick it up your ass. As I said, if you want to make counterclaims, back them up.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2006


I don't see why the Canadian taxpayer should pay 100% of the city of Victoria's expenses.

Because the municipalities won't pay any of it. Whether it's common or not is irrelevant.

(It's not really the City of Victoria, either -- it's a CRD thing, and good luck getting all of the municipalities in the district to come up with the money. The City of Victoria definitely won't. Ditto the District of Saanich. Highlands might pony up. Colwood, no way. and so on. Even if everyone could agree, Harper's government will have long since passed into history.)
posted by solid-one-love at 3:58 PM on August 15, 2006


Kickstart, I'm sorry, but I just don't see how ignoring the single greatest challenge of our time can possibly be construed as prudent environmental stewardship. The sewage thing is good, yes, I'll give the Conservatives credit for that one, now maybe they can start addressing some bigger problems.

I have a hypothetical for you. Suppose during the next election, the Liberals have a dynamic new leader (I know it's a stretch, just run with it), lets call him Michael Dion. Part of his new Liberal platform is a serious plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal proposal is to institute a new federal tax on gasoline and diesel, tradeable emissions credits, tax credits for conservation, money for railways, public transit, etc. The Conservatives attack this platform as bad for business, and continue to promise a vague and painless "made in Canada" solution, and meanwhile, hyping very modest environmental policies. Would you still support the Conservatives, or would you vote for the platform that promises real change and long-term benefit, albeit at a real cost in the short term.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2006


Present a better figure, from someone with better credentials

That'd be me.

Lick my balls.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2006


solid-one-love: There are good reasons for having separate governments for provinces and municipalities. If the federal government controlled everything that would be the first thing you'd whine about. But, like most people, any means to the end you want are fine...damn the consequences, eh? Typical shortsightedness.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2006


That should have been a question mark there at the end. Bah.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:02 PM on August 15, 2006


Write better sentences.

You don't want better sentences, just simpler ones, preferably with shorter words. You and whatsisname took what I wrote out of context. You, predictably, since you are an apologist for hypocrites.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:02 PM on August 15, 2006


Typical shortsightedness.

lolz
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:03 PM on August 15, 2006


But, like most people, any means to the end you want are fine...damn the consequences, eh? Typical shortsightedness.

You want to point out where I was advocating one position or the other -- that of being pro- or anti-sewage treatment? I don't give s hit either way (pardon the pun).

You are phenomenally dishonest. It's no wonder your arguments are so doomed.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:04 PM on August 15, 2006


Would you still support the Conservatives, or would you vote for the platform that promises real change and long-term benefit, albeit at a real cost in the short term.

If any party (ANY) can promise sustainable environmental stewardship, which will solve or help to solve many of the problems that exist today, and do it in a way that is also sustainable in financial costs (ie. it doesn't bankrupt the economy for minimal gains, nor destroy certain sectors without having intelligent plans for keeping people employed), I will support them.

Having only voted Conservative -once- in my life (previously having voted NDP, Liberal, and National Party when it was around), I am not tied to the Conservative party in any way, shape or form.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:05 PM on August 15, 2006


WTF am I doing? It seems like I get into this every time Kickstart opens his uninformed and ignorant yap about anything other than fuckin' comic books.

Enjoy.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:06 PM on August 15, 2006


solid-one-love: Think what you want. You've made huge assumptions as to my motives here, and all of them incorrect.

Additionally, when you are confronted with your own lack of knowledge, you move the goalposts to suit you and hide that incompetence and ignorance.

So, I'll leave you to your silly devices and false beliefs. Not like you'd listen to an alternative viewpoint anyway.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:08 PM on August 15, 2006


"Environment Canada can't even predict the weather!" he bellows. "How can you tell me that they have any idea what its going to be like 100 years from now if they can't tell me what the weather is going to be like in four months, or even next week?"

This is why I've always maintained that the argument for pollution control etc., should be presented in terms of air quality, not global warming.

Everyone breathes, so it's immediately a more personal issue.. Global warming is too big and intangible for many people to wrap their brains around. And even the dimmest Joe Average citizen can see/taste/smell smog on bad days in cities. And it gets around the weather versus climate problem quite neatly.

Indeed, perhaps we should be slapping blackened lung pictures on SUVs rather than cigarette packages...

/only half kidding on that last para
posted by Zinger at 4:08 PM on August 15, 2006


solid-onelove: Don't let the door hit your virtual ass on the way out of the thread.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2006


[e.d.] - if I wanted pie-in-the-sky policies, I would vote NDP.
posted by angrybeaver at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2006


General comment: I am continually astounded with arguments on the internet I participate in. When I give any viewpoint that does not follow the exact left small-L-liberal line, I'm considered to be a right-wing nutbar.

But when I post about my absolute hatred of GWB and his cronies ruining America, I get nailed by the right for being a left-wing hippie communist antipatriot.

The reason you don't find people in the centre any more is because no one will let them be there.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:16 PM on August 15, 2006


Kickstart, I'm not calling you a nutbar, I'm asking a legitimate question about where your beliefs lie about climate change. It's now abundantly clear that when it comes to the consequences of our actions today, we either pay a little now and a little later, or a whole fuck of a lot more later. What bothers me most are all the selfish old pricks who dismiss global warming as alarmist claptrap knowing full well that if they are wrong, they won't be around to reap the consequences of their denial and inaction. What makes this all worse are the assholes who insist that future innovations will solve all our problems. That's a great solution, if it happens that way, but that's still leaving it to your kids to deal with the consequences of your fuckups.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:35 PM on August 15, 2006


My short answer: I'd have to take more into account that just environmental policy to make my voting decision. It's vital that we actually have the money to pay for that environmental policy. However, yeah, environmental policy will be a large part of my decision process.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:48 PM on August 15, 2006


Kickstart70: As for Kyoto, I believe climate change is one of the biggest concerns facing mankind today.

Right. What really enrages me about climate-change-denial propaganda is the attempt to convince people that the problem doesn't exist. We can have an honest argument about what to do, about costs and benefits, about priorities; but Exxon, Friends of Science, etc. are focusing the argument on whether the problem exists or not, which means we aren't going to do anything about the problem.
posted by russilwvong at 4:54 PM on August 15, 2006


Looks like University of Calgary might be in trouble too...

http://www.desmogblog.com/calgary-foundation-university-of-calgary-launder-oil-industry-donations
posted by jacob hauser at 5:34 PM on August 15, 2006


1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 funding is quite common in Canada for infrastructure projects. I don't see why the Canadian taxpayer should pay 100% of the city of Victoria's expenses.
- angrybeaver

It is common, yes. And often the federal $ is dependant on being matched by equal $ from the other levels of government.
posted by raedyn at 8:48 AM on August 16, 2006


I just sent the following e-mail to Rona Ambrose (the Canadian environment minister). I've also posted it here.

Dear Ms. Ambrose,

I feel a bit foolish writing this e-mail to you, since no doubt you and your staff have already heard all the arguments about the urgency of global warming. Nevertheless, after reading the recent Globe and Mail article on Dr. Tim Ball and the Friends of Science, in which Albert Jacobs crows about having helped to convince you to take a "lip service" approach to controlling carbon dioxide emissions, and your June speech on Clean Air Day, I thought I should at least make an attempt to lay out what might be called the "alarmist" case.

1. Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere acts like a greenhouse, trapping heat. Without CO2 and other greenhouse gases, the planet would be much colder than it is. This is uncontroversial.

2. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing steadily. The following graph, from Spencer Weart's The Scientific Discovery of Global Warming, shows measurements of atmospheric CO2 taken monthly between 1958 and 2004.



3. The following graph shows measurements of atmospheric CO2 and temperature, retrieved from the Vostok ice core in the Antarctic. It shows that atmospheric CO2 is higher than at any previous time in the last 400,000 years, a period which includes numerous ice ages. (The oldest fossil evidence for anatomically modern humans is about 130,000 years old; settled civilization based on agriculture is no more than 10,000 years old.) It's never been higher than about 300 parts per million during this period; it's now at 370 ppm and rising.



I really don't understand how groups like the Friends of Science can look at these graphs and say that they don't think there's a problem. What's especially alarming is that the level of CO2 is rising so rapidly. Maybe the Friends of Science could argue that 370 ppm wouldn't be so high as to cause problems, but what about when it gets to 600 ppm? 1200 ppm? Rising sea levels get the most attention, but the effect on Canada's farmland is potentially an even bigger concern. Here in BC, global warming is already causing problems for the forest industry, because winters are no longer cold enough to kill the pine beetle.

I also don't understand the argument that even if there's a problem, we'll just have to see what happens, because it'd be too hard--economically and politically--to do anything about it. Why would it be so hard? The goal isn't to reverse global warming, it's just to slow it down to a rate at which we can adapt. The EU countries are on track to stabilize their CO2 emissions, using the same kind of cap-and-trade system that the US used to reduce its sulfur dioxide emissions. In Canada, the Montreal Climate Exchange, which would provide a market for large-scale trading of CO2 emissions, is currently waiting for federal policy to be set.

Politically, it appears that Canadian business is on board: the heads of Alcan, Shell Canada, and other major Canadian companies called for urgent action to stabilize greenhouse gases in a November 2005 letter.

Would CO2-intensive businesses just migrate to China, India, and other developing countries? This didn't happen with CFC production, and it seems unlikely to happen as long as these other countries accept the seriousness of the problem. In June 2005, the national science academies of Brazil, China, and India, and the G8 countries issued a joint statement on the seriousness of climate change and the need to take action now. If anything, China and India are more vulnerable to climate change than most countries, since they have large coastal populations and ongoing problems with flood control.

In your Clean Air Day speech, you talked about pursuing new agreements such as the Asia Pacific Partnership. That sounds great, but we shouldn't wait for a new agreement to be negotiated--which could take years--before making a serious attempt to stabilize and then reduce Canada's CO2 emissions, as the EU countries are doing. I sincerely hope that the forthcoming Clean Air Act will do more than provide lip service.
posted by russilwvong at 2:22 PM on August 28, 2006


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