Canada is such a nice country and filled with so many nice people. And yet Canadians are among the world’s worst climate-change villains! A lot of people are surprised when they hear this about Canada, but if you have ever been there, then you know what we are talking about. Of course, it is a nice country and we strongly recommend that you visit as soon as you have the chance because it is a unique traveling experience that everyone has to see. As mentioned they are not the best or the most concerned people about the health of our planet and that resulted in a very bad climate change.
We are not saying that they are the only reason to blame for the climate change, but they are surely on top of the list. People need to start understanding that we have to take care of our planet and we cannot do everything as we please. There have to be certain rules that apply, especially now that the climate change has such a huge effect on the planet and people. It is never too late to start making changes in the world, even the smallest change can make a difference, we just have to start this revolution. Making the planet greener again is a possibility, but if people are not ready for changes, then we are in a bad situation.
Until Canadians man-up, we have no choice but to be blunt and critical about the Great White North, which won’t be white for much longer. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government, Canada has become an international pariah at climate change summits.
Yes, the previous administration deserves every ounce of criticism thrown at it for their failure to enact any meaningful legislation that would slow global warming. But in the last Canadian election, all four opposition parties earned strong passing grades from the Sierra Club, while the Conservatives merited an F. The Sierra Club’s excellent PDF analyzed the environmental policies of all five major parties for the October 2008 election, and awarded the following grades:
Green Party: A-
Liberal Party: B+
New Democratic Party: B
Bloc Québécois: B
We believe their analysis is fair and comprehensive, as it mirrors our own keen reading of the issues (We work in the environmental publishing industry, and read hundreds of global warming studies and stories each week).
Here’s what we think:
Climate change should be a conservative issue. Throughout the world, right-wingers everywhere are getting very serious about slowing global warming. Just not Harper’s Conservatives because their political base begins and ends in oil-rich Alberta and red-hot Saskatchewan.
So, we’re not going to pull our punches, we need to convince people who are sitting on the fence — or who aren’t aware of the serious consequences of global warming — to join the fight to slow climate change. And since we need to start today, we need all four opposition parties to work together — perhaps in a Unity Government, as formed during the war years — to bring Canada’s climate-change policy into the 21st century.
And so… We’ll begin with an apology to Progressive Conservatives and Red Tories — many of whom have strong environmental sensibilities — and who are nevertheless offended by One Blue Marble. We prefer playing nice, but if we can’t get your government to change its policies soon, we’ll need to bring them down.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims that he’s all for saving the environment, and then argues that Canada will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions when India and China do the same. At best, his argument is specious.
Global warming has no borders, and it will first affect the poorest of the poor. China is now the world’s worst GHG emitter, having just wrested that dubious honor from the US. But even in teeming China, wracked with environmental disasters, the average person emits just one-fifth the CO2 of the average Canadian. The average Rajasthani has less than one-eighteenth the carbon footprint of the average Albertan.
We’re exceedingly wasteful. That’s one reason why the G8 Nations need to lead, why we must first make internationally binding commitments. Not only are we the worst, but we have always been so.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution which made western nations exceedingly wealthy. To the extent that we are rich, we can thank modern production methods. To the extent that global warming has already occurred — and it has warmed significantly over the last century — we can blame our modern production methods. It can all be delivered right to our doorsteps.
The developing world has had virtually no hand in creating the global warming that has already occurred. Until recently, China and India didn’t possess the economic engine to create significant carbon emissions. They do now, but they shouldn’t be forced to curb their emissions as an act of good faith before we’re willing to negotiate.
Harper hopes you won’t pay attention. His sly twisting of facts suggests that Canada shouldn’t have to go it alone. The whole truth is that we’re not alone. Our allies have already joined the battle. The 27-member European Union will meet its Kyoto commitments. Australia, which only signed the Kyoto after last December’s election, is slashing emissions. Yet over the last 15 years, our emissions have ballooned by 28 percent, the developed world’s worst record!
Among developed countries, only the US and Canada have criminal policies. But President-Elect Barack Obama is going to make fighting climate change a priority in his administration. So we’ll soon be alone, but not in a good way.
But Canada’s problem goes deeper still, and it is frighteningly short-sighted. Harper is locking Canada into a fossil fuel economy. While supporting the oil and gas industries in Alberta and Saskatchewan above all else, Harper has whittled country’s huge surplus down to nothing. As a result, the rest of world is launching a green tech revolution, and Canada is traveling in reverse. Every day, the industry is moving forward, making huge investments in clean renewable energy and mass transportation; an investment that completely misses our country. Even as we fritter away our international reputation, we’re destroying our global ability to compete.
Atlantic Canada, with thousands of miles of stormy coastline, could become the Saudi Arabia of wind and wave power. With enough energy to power eastern Canada and the Atlantic Seaboard in the US. BC is similarly blessed with a long and dramatic coastline. The waiting list for wind turbines is three years long; that could provide a solution for Ontario’s manufacturing sector or Cape Bretoners who lost jobs when the Sydney steel plant closed. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba should have wind farms as far as the eye can see. And Quebec ‘s hydro resources are already legendary. In other G8 nations, the green construction industry is going from strength to strength. Countries like Denmark and Israel are creating an electric car recharging infrastructure so gas burning vehicles are a thing of the past.
All of those industries will work in Canada, and make the most of our incredible natural wealth. But not if we continue to exploit the oil sands as if the world was depending on us. They’re not. And it will be a very rude awakening for Canadians over the next decade.
Harper, with his head stuck in the tar sands, has brought Canada to the abyss. While the Liberals share responsibility for our predicament, the science is stronger now. And the Liberals gave us the largesse to fight against global warming. We had the chance to lead, but that chance has evaporated.
I was raised to expect better from Canada. How is it that we ask so little of ourselves? Reporters should be writing stories about how Canada is spearheading. The green energy revolution, and helping nations come to grips with their carbon problem. We shouldn’t care about the price of oil because we shouldn’t be relying upon it. We should be exporting clean energy to the United States, and using our technological savvy to help China and India. Lord Nicholas Stern. Former Chief Economist with the World Bank, estimates that investing just two percent of our GDP would get us there. If we don’t make that investment, in a decade, maybe 15 years. We’ll be forced to devote 20 percent of GDP to battling the worst effects of global warming.
Our parents and grandparents were the greatest generations, sacrificing everything to win a war. We inherited a country full of promise and goodwill, but we are squandering it. Unless we can overcome our regional and national pettiness. Children will inherit a country that is filled with sadness and heartbreak. World will be devastated by a self-sustaining warming system. Hundreds of millions of climate refugees, dozens of bloody land-use disputes, and a tattered economy.
We can do better… if we choose. We have to start today, but replacing a few light bulbs won’t cut it. We may have to replace our politicians.