Canada's got some pretty hardcore fossil fuelers from Steve Harper to Alberta's Alison Redford and British Columbia's Christy Clark. Waiting in the wings to join them are Tommy Mulcair and Trudeau the Lesser.
Former Irish president, Mary Robinson, needs to have a word with these people. As the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Robinson says world leaders (even our own) need to accept that most fossil fuels are just going to have to be left untouched in the ground if we, as a species, are to avoid prematurely going in the ground ourselves.
Robinson told the Guardian that governments would have to confront
the harsh reality that much of their fossil fuel reserves, and
accompanying economic value, would have to be left behind if runaway
emissions were not to threaten the climate.
"There is a global
limit on a safe level of emissions. That means major fossil fuel
reserves must be left in the ground. That has huge implications for
economic and social development."
It would mean creating
incentives for countries to look at other resources, as well as carbon
pricing to penalise fossil fuel use, and most of all "political
certainty" coming from global leaders.
Now any discussion of leaving "much" of our fossil fuel reserves in the ground leads directly to a discussion of which fossil fuels most need to be left untouched. Those would be high carbon fossil fuels - things like coal and, sorry to say it Alberta, bitumen.
[Robinson] acknowledged that some countries and many businesses, particularly
those with fossil fuel interests, would be hostile to the proposal. The
current economic value of the resources left unused – without taking
into account their effects on the climate – is likely to run into
hundreds of billions of pounds. "We are already talking to the business
community that wants change, but there is obviously a business community
that is trying to cloud and distort the science."