Okay, Athabasca is ablaze. I'm sorry. I feel badly for everyone who had to leave to escape the flames.
The Tar Sands? I don't feel one bit sorry for whatever this fire has done to disrupt their operations. Not a bit. Not now, not at this moment. What moment? Bill McKibbon describes it:
The moment when, oh, marine biologists across the Pacific begin weeping in their scuba masks as they dive on reefs bleached of life in a matter of days. The moment when drought in India gets deep enough that there are armed guards on dams to prevent the theft of water. The moment when we record the hottest month ever measured on the planet, and then smash that record the next month,and then smash that record the next month? The moment when scientists reassessing the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet have what one calls an ‘OMG moment’ and start talking about massive sea level rise in the next 30 years?
That would be this moment – the moment when 135 children have drowned in Thailand trying to cool off from the worst heatwave on record there. The moment when, in a matter of months, we’ve recorded the highest windspeeds ever measured in the western and southern hemispheres.
So there’s a need to push harder. A need, as it were, to break free from some of the dogma that’s surrounded this issue for a very long time. Yes, we need to have “everyone work together.” Yes, we need a “multi-faceted, global effort.” But you know what we really need? We need to keep oil and gas and coal in the ground, keep it from being burned and adding its freight of carbon to the global total.
Face it. Our government is striving mightily to get as far on the wrong side of this crisis as possible. They're all for massive increases in the production and export of the world's highest carbon ersatz petroleum. They want hazmat pipelines to get hazmat dilbit to tidewater as much of it as possible as quickly as possible. On the path they're charting we won't even meet Harper's pathetic emissions target.
Joe Oliver once denounced Canadian environmentalists as "inimical" to the future of Canada. To him we were enemies of the state. The current bunch won't say the things old Joe said but I'm not sure they're not on the same page. We've still got the same industry-dominated National Energy Board and the new government, like the old, uses this rigged NEB for cover. And what about the bitumen secret police - that bunch of municipal police, RCMP and CSIS officers that Harper cobbled together to spy on those exercising their democratic right of dissent, the bunch in quiet service to the Calgary Petroleum Club? Has that been disbanded? Apparently not.
I guess McKibbin is right. If you can't count on your government to deal with this crisis - and Canadians definitely cannot - then you have to find other means.