Friday, February 27, 2009

Michael in NeverLand - Athabasca and Other Tarry Tall Tales

There's a reason I don't trust Michael Ignatieff or Stephen Harper or Ed Stelmach or the Oil Patch when they talk about cleaning up the Athabasca Tar Sands - it's because I was a parent so I know better.

Most of us are familiar with this scenario. The young teenager has left her bedroom in an awful mess. You find her watching a favourite TV show. You ask her to clean her room and she says she'll get right on to it. An hour later you find her still before the TV watching some other show. That's when what started as a request turns into a command and, like all commands, it comes with a time limit and an "or else."

Get your room clean in 15-minutes or else you won't be going out with your friends on Friday. Now that usually results in a clean bedroom because you've stipulated a time for performance and a meaningful consequence for non-performance.

How many years have we been fed empty promises by the Oil Patch that they'll be cleaning up their room in Athabasca any day now? Many, many years. And how many Tar Sands projects have actually been cleaned up?

Without a meaningful time stipulation and an effective "or else" consequence, the Ignatieff/Harper/Stelmach/Oil Patch promise of a clean Athabasca is about as convincing as that robot call I get around dinner time telling me I've just won a fabulous holiday cruise.

So why is the Ignatieff-Harper-Stelmach clan so unwilling to take these modest measures? They haven't got the guts to even speak the "or else" part but it's the time stipulation that really bothers them. With international pressure building for a new carbon reduction scheme and the supporting climate change science pouring in almost daily, nobody wants to admit that the technology has never been shown to be workable much less economically viable and, even if it was, there would be the standard 20-30 year lag time before a functioning sequestration system could be implemented. Global warming is happening. We don't have 20-30 years to solve Athabasca.

These clowns may be happy living in NeverLand, I'm not.

No comments: