The Tyee's Mitchell Anderson writes that prominent Liberals are pretty hypocritical in castigating Brazilian thug Bolsonaro over the fires raging in the Amazon. Oopsie!
This week, former Liberal cabinet ministers Allan Rock and Lloyd Axworthy wrote an op-ed calling for international intervention to save the Amazon rainforest, now in flames due largely to the reckless policies of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The two both ask and answer their own question in the Globe and Mail piece.
“Is it acceptable that a single government can unilaterally adopt environmental policies that put millions at risk?” they write. “It is urgent that the international community find ways to influence rogue states whose irresponsible policies accelerate global warming and undermine the collective effort to address the existential threat posed by climate change.”
It’s a comfortably sanctimonious argument, especially from inside the glass house of Canadian climate policy.
...Canada was recently ranked last of the G7 economies in terms of meaningful climate action — tied with the U.S. under Donald Trump. Of all the G20 countries, Canadians produce the most greenhouse gases per capita.
While the Justin Trudeau government touted its pledge of $15 million to fight Amazon wildfires on behalf of the planet, this represents only 0.5 per cent of the $3.3 billion in taxpayer subsidies that Canada shovels at the fossil fuel sector each year.
...Local Canadian governance is even more of a climate embarrassment. Ontario Premier Doug Ford just announced the province will appeal its legal loss challenging the constitutionality of federal carbon pricing to the Supreme Court of Canada. The government is well on the way to spending all of the $30 million earmarked for this effort. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are likewise entwined in the same expensive and useless political theatre, tying up scarce court resources in the process.
And $30 million is also the price tag of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s so-called “war room” dedicated to hectoring the many critics of the oil sands and its massive climate footprint.
...Bitumen extraction now employs only 0.1 per cent of the Canadian workforce — fewer people than green energy — produces 11 per cent of national carbon emissions and some years results in less provincial revenue than booze and gambling.
Canada remains on track to miss yet another international climate commitment. Under the Paris Agreement we pledged to cut emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Instead, they are likely to exceed that target by about 40 per cent.
...There always seems something more politically pressing than saving the planet — carbon tax theatre in Ontario, Ottawa-bashing in Alberta, outright racism in Quebec. Elsewhere in the world, Bolsonaro insults the attractiveness of the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron and demands an apology before accepting international aid to fight Amazonian fires originating from his policies. Trump claims that windmills cause cancer.
...Politics continues to utterly fail in meeting the existential threat of a destabilized climate. Our exploding human agency leaves us philosophically unprepared for the present, let alone the future.
For all the Liberal party posturing on the eve of a federal election, Canada remains one of the worst global climate offenders. Blaming others in an effort to distract voters from your own inaction is the opposite of leadership.