Sunday, October 25, 2009

Captain Harper on the global Titanic

Another fitting metaphor from Professor Errol Mendes, this time for the Conservative environmental stance going into December's Copenhagen conference. The captain and his crew are missing this: "The Looming Iceberg."
The habitable environment of Earth is like the ship heading towards the iceberg that is catastrophic climate change. Already, scientists are contemplating that the tipping point of a two-degree rise will be reached sooner than expected. After that, it will be about adapting to environmental catastrophes rather than avoiding them.
What is Canada doing? Still deploying the shirking "you-go-first" strategy toward developing countries:
Since assuming power in 2006, Harper and his three environment ministers have insisted that Canada will not agree to any climate change treaty in Copenhagen unless developing countries like India and China also agree to binding targets to reduce greenhouse emissions.
As Mendes notes, China announced some big steps it would take during that recent summit at the UN in September that the PM skipped out on. Yet while in New York, Minister Prentice downplayed those commitments as not committing to "clear targets" for emission reductions. That kind of stance is ironic given Canada's continued reluctance to release its own emission targets.

We've turned into no-can-do Canada. Witness Prentice, at the end of the week, dumping all over the prospect of a deal at Copenhagen. We've also been described as "singularly unhelpful" in the lead-up to Copenhagen amidst reports of walkouts on us by other countries during recent negotiations.
"Canada is the one country that has said it's not going to make any effort to achieve the Kyoto target even though we are still part of the regime," says Douglas MacDonald of the University of Toronto's Centre for Environment.

"Canada is going to be seen in negative terms ... It's a disgrace and it's a national shame this government is putting Canada in this position."
"The fact that Prentice is pooh-poohing the possibility of a deal in Copenhagen, and still refusing to release any details on what this country's plan is is just horrific," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence.

"The best-case scenario is we are irrelevant, the worst- case scenario is that we are actively obstructing a global deal," said Smith. (source)
It's a very unfortunate moment to have this crew steering our ship of state. What a missed opportunity this is shaping up to be for Canada.