Anyone who believes that selling the world's most carbon-intensive petroleum is a good thing must embrace certain irrational beliefs or suffer the pangs of cognitive dissonance.
They must have some ability to disconnect the impacts of bitumen from the climate change that is already setting in around the world. Would any of our parliamentary bitumen boosters say that accelerating and worsening climate change impacts is a good thing? Would any of them be so bold even as to say it's a worthwhile result to achieve? Would they claim that Canada is entitled to do that if only because it can? I'm sure if they could they would have said that already. Yet they haven't.
To the contrary, Stephen Harper himself has stated that global warming is the "biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today." That's a powerful admission. It's like admitting that inhaling asbestos fibres is known to cause lung cancer. Of course Harper fiercely defended Canada's right to export asbestos until the PQ came to power, shutting it down. But at least on global warming he's on record that it's the most serious threat to humankind. I'm sure any Liberal or New Democrat leader would agree with Harper.
So how do we reconcile that plain admission with our bitumen trafficking and our plans to triple bitumen production? Not only that, but we're gearing up to ship the stuff to China, millions of barrels a day if the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan plans go through. We'll ship dilbit over there for them to refine. Anyone bothered to have a look at what's going on in China today? Wouldn't it be more humane to just ask them to snort asbestos?
If Stephen Harper and the other petro-pols in Parliament accept that anthropogenic global warming is indeed a grave and mortal threat to humanity then what are we to make of their actions to support and expand the bitumen trade? After all, we are all deemed to intend the logical and foreseeable consequences of our acts. What then is the logical and foreseeable consequence of pushing Canadian bitumen onto world markets at a rapidly accelerating pace?
Some, such as NASA climatologist James Hansen says plans to ramp up Athabasca production to 5-million barrels a day would mean it's "game over" for the battle to arrest climate change. Even the International Energy Agency has warned that the planet doesn't stand a hope of staying within the 2C safety margin if Athabasca production is allowed to exceed 3.3-million barrels a day.
So the logical and foreseeable consequence of our acts is mass carnage, wars and failed states. What, short of mental illness, can make people act this way? What can make them abandon the Precautionary Principle as though it never existed or had become obsolete or irrelevant?
I'd like to believe this is the result of some mental impairment because, if it's not, then it must be criminal.