Thursday, January 19, 2017

Monbiot - But, Hey, Does This Sound Familiar?

Guardian enviro-scribe, George Monbiot, lambastes America's incoming president. Here's the gist of it. Now I want you to take away "Trump" and replace it with another leader's name, our own.

Trump is the president that corporate luddites have dreamed of: the man who will let them squeeze every last cent from their oil and coal reserves before they become worthless. They need him because science, technology and people’s demands for a safe and stable world have left them stranded. There is no fair fight that they can win, so their last hope lies with a government that will rig the competition.

The climatic disruption of crucial agricultural zones – in North and Central America, the Middle East, Africa and much of Asia – presents a security threat that could dwarf all others. The civil war in Syria, unless resolute policies are adopted, looks like a glimpse of a possible global future.

These are not, if the risks materialise, shifts to which we can adapt. These crises will be bigger than our capacity to respond to them. They could lead to the rapid and radical simplification of society, which means, to put it brutally, the end of civilisations and many of the people they support. If this happens, it will amount to the greatest crime ever committed. And members of Trump’s proposed cabinet are among the leading perpetrators.

You don't have to like it. You don't get a say in that. You do have a choice. Do we pursue the expanded and ongoing exploitation of fossil fuels or not? It's either we rapidly transition off fossil fuels or we stay with them, the latter being the choice of our federal government and the provincial governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The thing with Trump is that he's open about it. Trudeau yammers on about "phasing out" bitumen production even as he greenlights new pipelines that have a 40 year lifespan, perhaps longer. Even the CBC is calling bullshit on Trudeau's empty phase out promise.

Trudeau's comments last week caused a political tempest in Alberta, but not much of a ripple in the business community. That's because even the idea of phasing out the oilsands seems, if not impossible, then unlikely enough that it requires no serious consideration.

"To phase it out would take many, many decades," said Martin King, director of institutional research at GMP FirstEnergy. King described Trudeau's comments as a blip in the media.

The companies that invested in Canada went through an arduous and expensive review process and spent billions of dollars because oilsands projects last for 30 years or more and there is time to recoup their investment. Canada's reputation as a place to invest would be destroyed if the rug was to be pulled out from those companies.

Trudeau, with a remarkably straight face, says we cannot choose between the environment and the economy. That's a shameless lie. We do choose and always on the side of the fossil energy economy. He chooses and then stands fact, logic and reason on its head to claim that he doesn't. 
Each of us has to choose. You and me. We've got all the arguments in front of us. As Schellnhuber warned at the Paris climate summit in 2015, if we want a future for the next generations there's only one route - an "induced implosion" of the fossil fuel industry.

I agree with Monbiot. We are perpetrating "the greatest crime ever committed." A crime against humanity. Sure it will come as an economic blow to Canada to do the right thing. But the price that will be paid for not doing the right thing won't be measured in GDP but in lives.


the salamander said...

.. Hey, in Canada.. Stephen Harper Inc cleared the roadway & paved it.. Now Justin Trudeau is driving down the highway to hell. Harper knew the key was to eradicate environmental legislation.. too bad for any species, ecosystems or habitat that got in the way, including humans. And there were his bumboys, Flaherty, Oliver, Kent, Ashfield et al, and the wondrous zombie Gail Shea pimping out the omnibus 'budgets' with the ludicrous titles. The other drones were kept busy fronting all sorts of other nonsence.. John boy Baird, sack of hammers Peter MacKay, Faintheart Steven Blaney.. The Alexander Leitch tagteam.. and of course lets not forget Rawna Bwana.. complete failure everywhere she was assigned

The Mound of Sound said...

I understand your point, Sal, but the question remains what do you choose? Either you support the political parties that support the continuation and expansion of Canada's fossil fuel production or you refuse to support those political parties until they're willing to take meaningful steps, not fudgy carbon pricing, but measures to curb fossil energy production in the short term. Those who ignore the choice place themselves in the first camp. That's the default option.

the salamander said...

.. there is no fence to sit on in this .. your point unarguable ..
Determining Right from Wrong is a basic challenge
and you either step up or suck eggs..

Canadians have to continue to define this country
it won't be politicians, that's for sure..
They seem intent on shaming Canada & Canadians
and selling both out, without concern

Hugh said...

BC has the great benefit of BC Hydro, with about 11,000 megawatts of clean, renewable hydro energy. Publicly-owned, except for the part that was privatized in 2002.