Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When Excuses Just Don't Cut It Anymore

We've heard all the excuses used to argue against meaningful Canadian action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. One by one they're falling apart.

A big argument is that we're really a small country in terms of overall emissions. Ergo, emission cuts from Canada will be insignificant in the greater scheme of things. Why bother?

Why? Because it's called "global" warming. It's a global problem and, with our massive carbon footprint, the Canadian people are fully instrumental in the fate that's already befalling the poorest and most powerless who happen to live in regions most vulnerable to the effects of our collective carbon emissions. You and me and every other Canadian gets a full share of responsibility for the suffering, displacement and death that's happening and will continue to spread elsewhere on this planet (just not here so much quite yet).

Sure China and India are bigger emitters than Canada but their populations are vastly bigger than us and their per capita emissions are vastly smaller than ours.

Back in the pre-Harper days when Canada had a hard and well-earned reputation as an honest broker instead of a member of Washington's posse, we didn't base our contribution to global security on our small population. Could you imagine if we contributed peacekeeping forces based on our percentage of the global population? "Let's see, we're one half of one percent, so we'll be sending... four soldiers."

When it comes to anthropogenic global warming the only thing that matters is that we are fully instrumental in the problem. Hiding behind our relatively small population is craven, downright cowardly.

The all too convenient silence from the opposition benches leaves me with a sickening suspicion that I can see where our country is heading on this most important problem. I expect inaction and duplicity from Stephen Harper but it's Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton who truly make me a little sad and a little ashamed to be Canadian.

4 comments:

Jingles said...

Sure China and India are bigger emitters than Canada but their populations are vastly bigger than us and their per capita emissions are vastly smaller than ours.

Upon my return to Canada I noticed there was more air pollution around in British Columbia than when I left but not to the extent of the Atlantic provinces due to the fact of the air currents coming in from the Pacific. However, in Newfoundland and the other Atlantic provinces, the air quality is not very good especially in summer in Newfoundland. The reason for that is, Newfoundland is in a geographical location where all the pollution from the rest of Canada, the central US and the eastern seaboard of the United States, is carried on the air currents and it dumps on Newfoundland. More and more garbage from New York is being sighted floating on the water off the coast of Newfoundland. That happening is of course, due to the water currents such as the Golf Stream. It's amazing that nothing is heard about this west of Quebec probably because the Newfoundland population is only 504,000 and oh well, what's to worry about Newfoundland. Next to the Tar Sands, it's a good bet Newfoundland ranks second in the accumulation of air pollution and water pollution which it does not produce. Therefore, it is very important Canada does do something about the levels of pollution we are emitting into the atmosphere. Last evening I asked a group of educated ladies what they thought about Canada's record regarding Global Warming. They scoffed showing me their contempted for asking such a question. One lady piped up and said, "well I recycle". One other said, "it's a myth". This is the province of Alberta. People haven't got a clue and won't until the government does something about it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Several years ago National Geographic published a map showing the flow of air pollution that basically began in Texas, headed north up the Mississippi basin to Ontario, and then dog-legged east to the Maritimes.

Even today there are astonishing numbers who contend global warming is a myth. I expect there are several reasons for this beyond rank ignorance. Some are whistling past the graveyard. Some take it as a personal accusation. Some are intensely afraid that they'll have to make some sacrifice if it's true. Some don't want to imagine that their grandchildren are screwed. Anyway you cut it, they're welcome fodder for the hired denialist community. Big Tar and the Harper Conservatives love those types.

Mentarch said...

"The all too convenient silence from the opposition benches leaves me with a sickening suspicion that I can see where our country is heading on this most important problem."

Exactly.

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