Sunday, September 18, 2016
Another Empty Promise?
The federal government has indicated it wants a ratification vote on the Paris climate pact sometime in the next week or two. With the U.S. and China already on side, Trudeau/McKenna don't want to show up at the next summit, in Morocco, with empty hands.
The Prairie Poindexter, also known as Brad Wall, is furious. How dare the federal government exercise its power to make and ratify treaties without Brad's say so? With a population of 1.13 million, Saskatchewan is less than a fifth the size of greater Toronto. Maybe it doesn't exactly deserve a veto.
That said, ratification of the Paris climate pact doesn't mean much. It's essentially saying, "I promise to do better." And if you don't? Well, nothing really. There is no binding enforcement mechanism in the deal and no such thing on the horizon either. We just have to take it on faith that the major emitters, Canada included, will voluntarily begin to slash their greenhouse gas emissions just as soon as they get the go-ahead from the United Nations. You can also take it on faith that the cheque for that 50 bucks you loaned me is indeed in the mail. I mean it. I oughta know, right?
Then there's the bottomless well of cognitive dissonance also known as the Trudeau government. Don't forget that it was the Dauphin who assured Canadians that ramping up production and export of the highest carbon ersatz oil, bitumen, would give the feds the money they need to slash emissions. Huh? Oh dear.
And who can forget our freshly minted environment minister, Dame Catherine McKenna, flush from her triumphant campaign in Paris last December, who, on meeting Alberta's enviromin promptly curled up into a fetal ball, bleating "national unity, national unity."
Ratification of the Paris climate pact will be as meaningful or meaningless as Justin Trudeau chooses. Unfortunately, every time he's come up against a tough issue he's turned all wobbly and folded. He's done the easy stuff, the low hanging fruit, brilliantly, and he's a virtuoso of the photo op, but I think the western premiers have the measure of Justin and they're ready to give him a mauling.
Paris is a beautiful city. So too is Kyoto.