Thursday, February 20, 2014

Barack to Steve, Let's Deal with Climate Change

"He Didn't Hear a Word I Said."

After their private tete-a-tete in Mexico, the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada each released summaries of their discussion.  When it comes to climate change you might, on reading the summaries, think they weren't even in the same room.

Let's begin with the more credible of the two, Barack Obama.  The president reports that he discussed climate change with Canada's prime minister and urged Canada to get on the same page with America to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

"I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision. But frankly, it has to affect all of our decisions at this stage because the science is irrefutable," Obama said.
He said increasing "severe weather patterns" has "consequences for our businesses, for our jobs, for our families, for safety and security."
"It has the potential of displacing people in ways that we cannot currently fully anticipate and will be extraordinarily costly. So I welcome the work that we can do together with Canada," Obama added.
Obama said he wants to promote economic growth, but that has to be balanced against eventually transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels.
"We only have one planet," he said, adding "we do have to point to the future" to influence other big emitters such as China and India, and "have leverage" over them.
The prime minister of Canada overlooked that part of their chat.  Instead his remarks suggested that the Canadian government's views on climate change are warped around bitumen trafficking and shoring up investor confidence.
Harper replied that Canada and the U.S. have a "shared concern" about climate change. He also appeared to make a subtle dig at the long approval process Keystone has faced.
The prime minister also pointed out that the most recent State Department report gave the Alberta oilsands a good grade on environmental impact.
"As you know, a couple of years ago we moved to reform our system so that we have a single (environmental) review wherever possible — a single review, a multidimensional review that happens over a fixed timeline (apparently beginning sometime after 2100)," Harper said.
"And I think that is a process that is tremendously useful in giving investors greater certainty in terms of the kind of plans they may have in the Canadian economy."
You get that.  It's not about your kids or theirs.  For the prime minister of Canada it's about investor confidence.  Our prime minister is the old white guy who sits in his rocker on the front porch and yells at the future to get off his goddamned lawn.


Boris said...

You can say much critical about Obama, but they are on board with climate change. Acting is always a different issue, but when they do act, the wishes of a contrarian Canadian PM like Harper matter nothing. Harper also differs with them other things like Israel/Palestine. Kerry I thinktrying hard for peace, Harper is more into the status quo and probably hoping for another war.

There are very smart and very experienced people around Obama, and Canadian PMs used to have the same. Our dear boy Harper is surrounded by idealogues in shortpants and an assortment of thieves and miscreants. At best the Americnas will laugh at us, at worst they'll see Harper as a political weakness to exploit.

The Mound of Sound said...

That sums it up, Boris. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Mound: Obama's current Secretary of Energy is Ernest Moniz, a Prof. of Physics at MIT. His former SOE was Steve Chu, a Prof. of Physics at Stanford and a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. These are some of the people advising Obama on his Energy/Science file. No surprise that they are taking climate change seriously.

Who does Harper have advising him? Is it Oliver, Goodyear, Jim Prentice, or Big Oil, or, most likely, the guy in the mirror?

We should not be surprised, eh?

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon,our prime minister is not fact-driven. To him, reality is defined by belief. Recall when he was pushing his crime & punishment agenda. He told the Tory caucus to ignore statistics that kept demonstrating a steady decline in crime rates and, instead, go by their 'gut instincts' that told them our country was in the grips of a crime wave.

He's gagged science, shut down libraries, purged the public service of essential researchers. That's not a guy who worries much about informed opinion.

Anonymous said...

Harper has those around him, that he can control. He has the criminal element and his many degenerates, to do his dirty work for him. This is what all dictators do.

All dictators are sociopaths and control freaks. There are those of Harper's team, that will sell their souls to the devil. Those who refused to be controlled by Harper, leave.

I think we are seeing other countries, ganging up on Harper. Climate change has become a serious threat. Weather extremes are happening around the globe

Harper is so belligerent and stubborn, he refuses to listen to anybody. Harper doesn't work with you, he works against you.

sassy said...

" ... yells at the future to get off his goddamned lawn."

Great phrase, worth stealing.

deb said...

thought this might be of interest.

Don Bacon said...

Obama helped kill the Kyoto Protocol four years ago.