Sunday, November 18, 2007

Talk Is No Longer Cheap

Harper EnviroMin John Baird says he gets global warming, "Canada, like the rest of the world, needs to take immediate action." Without meaningful action, Baird's words are nothing but talk.

Ever since Stephen Harper read the polls and realized he was sailing a course to his doom, leading to his miraculous epiphany, the Cons have talked and talked and talked about global warming and the urgent need for action and have done - virtually nothing.

Harper is like the one sap who doesn't let go of the mooring rope as the balloon lifts off and hangs on and on until it's too late. That guy sees what's coming but clings to the false comfort of the rope until he can hold no longer.

Letting go, for Stephen Harper, would mean aknowledging the sine qua non of tackling global warming, carbon caps. Absolute ceilings on total production of greenhouse gases followed by strictly mandated, steady reductions in those ceilings.

The guy who hangs on to the rope as the balloon sails away cannot accept the reality that his very undoing is his hold on the rope. He can't accept that his only means to save himself is to let that rope go and accept the injury of falling over the certainty of death if he delays.

Harper's insistence on "intensity based" targets and multi-fold expansion of the Athabasca Tar Sands is the rope he cannot let go. He can't accept that Athabasca operators already exceed any tolerable level of greenhouse gas emissions. If he accepted that reality, he would release that rope while there's still time. Instead he's willing to let that balloon keep rising, urging us to be content so long as its rate of climb slows.

It's not as though he doesn't have options. For years the Big Oil operators in Athabasca have promised that, before we know it, they'll be carbon neutral. They've supposedly got all these carbon-capture technologies, already proven and on the shelf, that they can employ. Okay, fine, where are they? Surely now is put up or shut up time for Big Oil.

You see, Big Oil and Stephen Harper have a lot in common. They're all talk. For them, talk is cheap. For you and me and our kids and those who follow them, talk is no longer cheap.

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