Stephen Harper intends to do whatever he can to scuttle any meaningful agreement to fight global warming.
Harper made that clear in his dissembling pronouncements on the need for a climate change pact at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation summit underway in Singapore. Here is Harper's thinly coded message from Canadian Press:
While acknowledging there are "significant differences" among the APEC members over how to tackle climate change, Harper said all leaders recognize it's an issue that must be addressed.
Emerging economies, including China and Indonesia at the APEC summit, already contribute close to half of all global emissions, Harper said at a media availability, and that proportion will rise to two thirds in the future.
"If we don't control those, whatever we do in the developed world will have no impact on climate change."
Harper's other argument for full global participation is purely economic.
"If everyone is not included, you set up the possible risk that certain countries will gain economic advantage from being included or not included," he said.
"If some contribute, or some contribute disproportionately, then the economic risks for others become enormous."
So, what's wrong with Harper's message? Lots. He's setting up a position that's inherently inequitable and sufficiently unacceptable to the Second and Third World to ensure there'll be no meaningful, mandatory and enforceable pact.
Harper wants a "one size fits all" deal. Everybody should cut their emissions by this percentage or that by this date or that. What's wrong with that? From our economic perspective, nothing, especially as our continued support for the expansion of the Tar Sands shows we're not genuine about even that anyway. But, from the rest of the world's perspective, everything is wrong with Harper's pitch - and Steve knows it.
Steve's con game totally ignores population and income disparities. He sure as hell won't accept equality on a per capita basis. No way Jose. In fact, he wants to preserve the West's priority to the remaining carbon carrying capacity of our atmosphere. He wants that frozen right now - entirely in our favour.
What this is all about is which nations are going to have the right to use up the remaining carbon emission carrying capacity of the atmosphere. It's finite, we know that and we now have reasonably accurate data on how much remains. Bonus points if you guessed "not enough." If you need help grasping the nuances of this core problem, I dealt with it at length the other day in the post "Whose Atmosphere Is It Anyway?". That's just two posts down. Check it out.
Most of the world wants what Steve dreads most. They want the atmosphere to be recognized as a common resource. You, me and every other human being has an equal entitlement to it - sort of the way Steve's God meant it to be. Now, in a world of 6.7-billion (or six thousand, seven hundred million) human beings, Canada's share, based on our roughly 36-million people is miniscule. That means we would have to almost entirely decarbonize our economy in less than a generation. Despite how Steve's God might smile favourably on that idea, Steve won't be having any of that. No, this is the guy who wants to set "intensity based" emission reduction targets on the Tar Sands. He's looking for emissions to go up, way up, not down.
The prime minister of Canada is a lying, duplicitous, manipulative scoundrel and the only people who don't know that are right here in Canada - right where, for Steve anyway, it matters.
The people of Canada through their government made the commitment, and it needs to honoured somehow or other, or it needs to be dealt with," the Australian climate-change expert told The Canadian Press.
The UN negotiations in Copenhagen put Canada in "a really difficult position," he said.
"Canada is by far the biggest defaulter on its Kyoto obligations on a tonnage basis. And as a result of that there is a lack of trust."
Flannery had just participated in an APEC media forum on climate change and the economy, where he joined several experts in warning that investment and co-operation, rather than "punitive" trade and tax measures, are the most efficient way to reduce emissions.
Canada's oilsands are in particular danger of becoming a target for tariff censure, Flannery said in an interview, and the government needs to be acting aggressively now to reduce the carbon intensity of their development.
"As we go into Copenhagen and beyond I think there is a real danger that unless we achieve enough as countries we could potentially face border tariffs on carbon, for example."
He said such policies would be a "catastrophe."
What's really disappointing is that Canada's failure on this most important problem can't be laid at the Tory's feet entirely. The Liberals have nothing to boast about on this issue. When he speaks of it at all, Iggy makes hollow, contradictory pronouncements on what to do about Canada's carbon emissions revealing that he, like his predecessor, doesn't have what it takes to take a stand on this issue.l