Friday, February 2, 2007

Harper's still talking about "intensity," not real reductions in pollution

On the very day an international commission said definitively what most of us have known for years -- that global warming is real and a lot of the damage is already irreversible -- Stephen Harper said there were "no quick fixes" and what had to be done first was to deal with "stabilizing" emissions before reducing them.

Sorry, Steve, but that just doesn't wash with Canadians. Basically, it goes back to the Cons' fallback position to deal with the "intensity" of carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, reducing the amount individual and corporate sources may themselves produce but not necessarily the total amount of outputs. This would allow industry to continue growing -- which would really put us no further as we'd be creating exactly the same amount of pollution as before.

The fact is, we made a treaty commitment to live up to the Kyoto Agreement and while admittedly it was mostly talk and no action the last several years the Cons have had a year and a week to come up with something concrete and they haven't. To cut greenhouse gases by a full 27% -- or one tonne per Canadian -- will require some short term and very draconian measures. But we've already seen thunderstorms and mosquitoes in the Far North where neither should exist; planting and harvest times go completely out of whack with what has come to be expected as "normal;" and bizarre weather abnormalities like ice storms in Montréal, frequent tropical depressions in Ontario during the summer (we should get at most one) and tornadoes in the late late fall; and snow -- lots of snow -- in Vancouver.

It's not just Canada. Not that long ago, London's famed Kew Gardens reported that the weather changes they've seen in the last 20 years are totally unlike any they've seen in the previous 300 and they've been keeping records for longer than that. A spring that comes two or three weeks earlier may not seem like a big deal -- in the UK it may actually seem welcome, especially in the Scottish Highlands. But that time shift has meant shorter nesting times for birds and less time in the chrysalis for caterpillars in their metamorphosis into butterflies. If they're feeling the effect of climate change, imagine how long it will be before the rest of us do.

A one degree drop in global temperatures in 1816 caused it to snow in much of the United States -- on the Fourth of July. A one degree increase in 1845 spiked the bacterium that caused the Irish Potato Famine. A similar one degree spike happened in 1998 and 2005 -- and we all remember those years too well. I've lived only 34 years, and already I've noticed there was a big difference in the summers of my first half so far and that of my second half. With one cool summer being the exception, they've gotten hotter and more unbearable and living in a smog zone with ozone alerts as early as February, it doesn't get any easier.

It gets almost tiresome to say this, but some really drastic action needs to be taken, by all of us. I've taken one huge one by getting rid last month of my gas guzzling 20 year old boat which barely passed the smog test last year; and getting a car that is much more fuel efficient and less polluting (no, it's not a hybrid but it's cut my fuel bill by at least half) -- and my workmates and I are trying to put together a carpool schedule despite our vastly varying shifts.

It'd be nice to see the Cons not just share their hot air in the apartments they rent together but lead by example by organizing car pools of their own when they're in Ottawa. Oh wait ... they use the Parliamentary bus like the other MPs ... The NDP must realize by now they got snickered by Harper, and Layton should use his balance of power and force an election. The issue is the environment, period, and whether we'll face the future or go down the highway to hell with Oilman Dubya.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


JimBobby said...

"Dion introduced intensity targets before Harper ever did."

That's jest proof that the Grits an' Cons is two sides o' the same worn out coin. Alls they want is power an' they'll promise anything t' get it.

The Greens an' Earth Mother Lizzie May ain't plannin' on winnin' any electionvote anytime soon. They ain't gonna make pie-in-the-sky promises they can't deliver 'cause they know dang well they ain't gonna form a gummint. Leastwise, not fer the next 20 years.

If Canajun voters want real green action an' not jest ditherin', shuflin', stallin' an' studyin', they need t' show the bigass old timey parties by votin' GPC. Anything else is a vote of approval fer doin' nuthin' while promisin' everything.


Dennis (Second Thots) said...

Canadians got snookered by Liberals for getting us into this mess on Kyoto in the first place. Why would Jack trust them to do anything? They already had their chance. Now it's Harper's turn. He's only been in government for a year. Why would Canadians rush Liberals back in when they had 13 years? Some reality on this issue would be nice.