Saturday, December 15, 2018

What Country Poses the Gravest Threat to Canada?

Is it Iran? How about North Korea? Russia maybe? Or could it be the United States of America?  Could America really be the greatest threat we're facing? I think you can make a pretty good argument for that.

Washington has pretty much derailed the fight to tame climate change. It began when Trump took the US out of the Paris climate pact, a move that encouraged others, such as Russia and Australia, to follow suit.  The consensus is in tatters.

I think before long we'll look at 2018 as a turning point in how the world lost the fight against climate change. Look what what's coming out of the Katowice climate summit - precious little.  A rule book on how nations are to report their greenhouse gas emissions that comes into effect in 2020. That's it. A rule book. 2020.

To put that in perspective, the world is on notice that we must slash fossil energy emissions by half by 2030.  It initially was set at 45 per cent but emissions have begun increasing again over the past two years. We're heading in the wrong direction - fast. A rule book governing emissions reporting is a far cry from the Herculean chore of radically slashing emissions in an astonishingly short window.

Trump has made our slim chance of meeting these severe emissions cuts far worse by gutting environmental regulations; promoting the gamut of fossil fuels including coal; giving "moral cover" to other leaders intent on a high carbon future; and "souring goodwill" between the have and have-not nations and reneging on America's $2 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund.

In my previous post there was a look at all the measures we must take, not just fighting climate change, if human civilization is to continue. The chief of the Potsdam Institute, Johan Rockstrom, details nine planetary boundaries we must heed before we'll have any hope of succeeding on climate change. The hard truth is that we're already out of bounds on a few of them and they're critical to the wellbeing of today's young and the generations that will follow them.  There's not much point in struggling with climate change if we don't deal with the rapid loss of biodiversity, the growing challenge of ocean acidification, our exhaustion of the world's farmland and our deepening contamination of our already inadequate freshwater resources. By the way, that's not an exhaustive list. In effect we're struggling to find the political will to put out the grease fire in the kitchen while doing nothing as flames consume the rest of the house.

Trump simply doesn't care about any of this. Not his problem.  His crass response to the 1,600 page National Climate Assessment produced by hundreds of scientists at 13 federal departments was, "Yeah, I don't believe it." The reality of climate change is whatever Trump believes it to be and Trump doesn't believe anything that contradicts his wrecking ball instincts.

It's not North Korea or Iran that troubles me. It's the United States of America. That is humanity's mortal threat.


Anonymous said...

I was listening to Amy Goodman's coverage from COB24 this week and the countries that kept coming up as saboteurs were the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Australia and Canada. You know the old saying from Pogo, Mound, "we've met the enemy and he is us."


Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait until Big Petro has pumped every last goddamn liter of dilbit from our Canadian soil. Then Prince Justin can go back to being the biggest, boldest, staunchiest World Leader out there! And our 100% Candian Pipeline can get on with its real purpose...pumping Maple Syrup from sea to shining sea.

We are doomed.


The Mound of Sound said...

You are, of course, right, Cap. Your comment brought back the memory of the Auditor-General's report, I think it was early this year, that Canada and our provinces are not on track to meet their targets which, as we know, are light years short of 50 per cent by 2030. It is interesting to see how the Liberals, despite their proclamations, are so similar to their Tory predecessors. Harper set targets that he had no intention of meeting. Trudeau is not going to meet Harper's targets either.

Would that we were going through this with Pierre at the helm instead of Justin.

It's amusing in a way that the Liberal Party faithful, the blinkered "true believers," who heaped such well-deserved scorn on Harper's climate policies are defending the Dauphin for the same lapses.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about even US progressives concerning the Huawei business, is that they regard Canada as a US puppet that does what it's told. We certainly do at one level, but one of the themes now is that if Trump "orders" Canada to free Sabrina, we'd hop right to it. The Unz review is the latest with this outlook. F*ck knows what these dumb Americans think we have for a legal system - it's the Empire outlook no matter what political party is in power. We're nonentities to them.

I look past our bureaucratic fuddy-duddies at CBSA and the RCMP that thought blindly following the US detainment request was a wonderful idea, apparently oblivious that the US Iran sanctions are unilaterally illegal unless the UN passes such a resolution. The US stomp around applying the Monroe Doctrine to the entire world. That doctrine pissed me off in Grade 11 when I first learnt of it in History class in 1962, wondering who the hell the US thought it was.

Now the courts are involved in the Huawei affair, it seems to me that only the withdrawal of the US request to detain Sabrina would "work". Enough of this American assumption that Trump ordering us to release her would make us salute the flag of the US and get with the US program, as if we were some hick dictator-run country with no rule of law like his seems to be on so many levels. And similarly China, for that matter. The movers and shakers in the US can get away with anything while the common man is subject to "the rule of law". And taxes. In China the rule of law applies to everyone but the rulers at the top and their pals, from what I read. They both assume we run things the same way, and a nudge, nudge, wink, wink is all it takes.

If the request to Canada to detain the woman was formally withdrawn, the US could take the blame from China directly instead of landing us in the shit. Since her next stop after Vancouver would have been Mexico, I wonder if they would have detained her at US request if they had received one.

However, you know the law and its practice far far better than I do. How would a Trumpian order for Meng's release release be received by a BC Supreme Court judge?


The Mound of Sound said...

I wait for the extradition hearing, BM. Trump is on record as saying, in effect, that he'd release this woman if China plays ball on trade. That should be enough to undermine America's bona fides in this request. It's hard not to conclude this is hardball politics in which event I think she should be promptly released. Perhaps she can find a better route to Mexico. Were I her I wouldn't want to be in an aircraft transiting US airspace.

Lorne said...

What I find hard to take, Mound, is Catherine McKenna talking at the Cop24 conference as if Canada has taken bold and decisive action on climate change. I guess her words are meant to inspire Canadians to vote for her resolute party next year.

Anonymous said...

Trump is showing the problem with China, being its system that routinely merges justice with the political system. His only real power is he can pardon her, he did not initiate the investigation. They knew she was flying through YVR two days ahead so probably leaders would be briefed, but there was a judicial warrant issued in August and she has avoided transiting US from before that. The Chinese government acts like it believes this was ordered by political leaders, since it would be in their system, and they act like this is and should be routine. I am sure they consider it no coincidence that it happened while Trump was meeting with Xi at G20, just like a previous meeting in Florida where Trump told Xi over cake that he had fired cruise missiles at Syria.

The fact is that there is a solid case of corporate lying to US banks which process transactions for Huawei, which is treated as bank fraud. Again we can contrast with the Chinese system, what would be the penalties for Huawei if it was refusing to build backdoors into the network gear they sell us?

It is certainly useful for stopping Huawei getting into 5G where the speed and processing power makes it possible to have massive undetected man in the middle network attacks compromising everyone's data. Unlike Apple, made in China but designed in USA and validated by them, special chips and even code are nearly undetectable in complex gear. Not just eavesdropping, but network failures can be made to happen by backdoors that can be exploited when needed.

I would rather be spied on by network gear programmed here and compromised by our own security agencies. At least we can vote out one government and another can review the spying activity

the salamander said...

.. we could and should go all unapologetically and undiplomatically hard line.. The 'Five Eyes' agreement is obviously a failure on many levels.. this just one of them. Or am I mistaken, and her 'arrest' was under a different agreement.. Interpol ? We're already letting the USA push Canada around re armed American border or immigration officers emplaced on Canadian soil.. and some sort of weird seizure allowance for seizing airline passengers who change their mind while checking in through US Customs.

If its all so fired up important China gets her back, then give us the two hims back. So lets do a Checkpoint Charlie exhange, her for hims and let news media cover it. Canada tells USA's limpwick Donald to go suck eggs.. we let China and USA sort out the 'diplomacy' and any extradition possibilities - we seize the woman's properties until she returns to Canads with all charges cleared., rock solid, free and clesr, no hard feelings eh !

Down the road we remind Trump or his replacement wanker, to go pound salt if we get any more grief on this nonsense. The Vietnamese border is good for the exchange.. or some Manchurian border hell hole on a crazy bitter winter's day... Crisis ? What crisis ?

Hugh said...

We need 5G so we can talk to our fridges from our smart phones.

Anonymous said...

Big Oil have made their grand bargain with Trudeau: agreement to an ineffective carbon tax in exchange for tripling the pipeline capacity through Trans Mountain. Then they've got Scheer and Bernier running against the tax on the right, making Trudeau's scheme seem like the reasonable choice to those who want action. Big Oil's laughing all the way to the bank.

15-year-old Greta Thunberg summed it up well in her speech to the delegates at Katowice:

“Our civilization is being sacrificed to the opportunity for a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.”

And she captured Trudeau in a remarkably accurate sketch;

“You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.... You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to your children.”