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Canada’s “Efforts” in Durban


Another year, another climate conference and another opportunity for Canada to look like a fool with his head in the sand.

This year’s climate conference is happening (right now) in Durban, South Africa.  And, in case you haven’t heard, Canada’s contribution has been to threaten to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol.  Although, to be fair, we haven’t done much to honour our obligations under the protocol.  In fact, when our Conservative Federal Government came into power a few years ago, it actually stated that it would not even attempt to meet our binding targets because it was impossible. (That’s an F for eFFort.)

Canada’s argument is that binding targets make no sense if developing countries like India and China aren’t involved.  I don’t agree with that.  Developed countries like Canada and the US have been putting out CO2 far longer than developing countries and are responsible for a much bigger slice of the total amount of CO2 that has been emitted.  We have had our chance to grow our economy thanks to cheap fossil fuels.  Now it’s time for us to “pay our bills” and cut our emissions.

But our government doesn’t see it that way.  And now, we have groups of African leaders taking out ad space in the Globe and Mail.  Their ads plead for us to consider the “environmental and social impacts of our energy policy”, because for Africans, climate change is a matter of life and death right now.  We have Chinese climate negotiators criticizing us for threatening to pull out of Kyoto.  And we have European leaders considering what is, essentially, a ban tar sands oil due to the amount of carbon associated with the extraction of that particular brand of oil.

Canada’s current energy policy is to cut environmental regulations (which has been done), continue subsidizing oil and gas to the tune of $1.4 billion a year and, in the words of Sarah Palin, “drill, baby drill”.  We are looking to expand the tar sands, expand hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and develop off shore wells in what is probably the most important body of water in Canada – the Gulf of St-Lawrence.

Our (Federal) head is in the sand and we seem happy about it.  “Oh Canada” indeed.


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