Saturday, February 29, 2020

Full Dither Ahead

There are rarely political solutions to scientific perils.

That point is lost on our federal government that insists that action on climate change must be politically tailored to economic priorities.

The Liberals seemingly endorsed a motion to recognize that Canada - like every other country - is in the grip of a climate emergency. The government's sincerity was called into question when, less than 24 hours later, it greenlighted the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Our government struggles in its efforts to reconcile two blatantly irreconcilable priorities.  Fortunately it has mastered cognitive dissonance, elevating it to an art. It results in a government of pretence. It says it sees the red light just ahead but its response is to floor the gas pedal.

Deputy prime minister, Christia Freeland, erased any doubt that it will be "Full Dither Ahead" for the Liberal government.

For starters, the Liberals cling to the dodgy pledge to make Canada a "net zero" emitter by 2050. How likely is that when, under the current government, we're falling further and further behind meeting Stephen Harper's emissions cut targets?

A number they don't seem to like is 2030. The scientific consensus is that if we're to avert truly catastrophic climate change all nations will need to cut by half their emissions by 2030. That leaves just a further 20 years to deal with the hardest part, the final 50 per cent. If you can't manage the first half by 2030 you've essentially given up on decarbonizing your economy by 2050.

What is the government's plan to cut Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030? How do we reconcile that responsibility with building pipelines for high-carbon fossil fuels? I guess that's where cognitive dissonance comes to the rescue once again.

There's also the Great Canadian Pacifier, the vaunted carbon tax. Suck on that and be quiet.

There is one thing the government could do right now that could put Canada on the right path. It could cancel fossil fuel subsidies. No more subsidized electricity. Charge world prices for water consumed/contaminated. No more grants and deferrals. Start collecting the funds for environmental remediation, the old 'polluter pays' principle.

Why won't they do that? It's because the petro-economy is a Ponzi scheme, that buries costs as 'externalities' that are often then transformed into a future public burden. It's a racket and we're the marks.

The IMF contends that Canada, like most petro-states, hides the true costs of public support for the most profitable corporations on the planet. That's socialism for the rich. While Canadian governments admit to over $2 billion in annual subsidies, the IMF adds in all these hidden costs and freebies and comes up with $46 billion each and every year. I have never seen any government, federal or provincial, ever refute those IMF numbers, have you?

Why do our leaders perpetuate this farce? I think I know. I suspect it's because they know what happens if they stop. They know we're sitting atop a Carbon Bubble that's ready to burst and they don't want to be that guy. They don't want to take the blame. They're afraid to lead.

And so we'll dither along, assuring the public that we can have it both ways. It's an emergency but, ya know, not really. Not so much.

Which brings us to Churchill, a guy steeped in emergency, who said, "It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required."


Toby said...

Thank you for posting this. I turned on the radio in the middle of Chris Hall's interview with Minister Freeland. As she talked I kept wondering, who is this moron? Freeland is capable enough to be dangerous.

Lorne said...

Your Churchillian quotes puts into stark relief the dearth of true leadership we find in the current world, Mound. I see nothing to suggest this will change in the foreseeable future.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Freeland has shown how freely she can migrate from the journalistic pursuit of truth to the political manipulation of truth as freely as a chameleon changes colour. You have to give her credit, Toby. She is gifted.

Trailblazer said...

Which brings us back to Churchill, a guy steeped in emergency, who said, "It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required."

Did he say this when he sent in the military to break up striking mineworkers?
There's also the Great Canadian Pacifier, the vaunted carbon tax. Suck on that and be quiet.

I would really, really like to believe that a carbon tax will work , but it will not.
I think back to the taxes that were for specific uses.
Taxes will not change anything , our best chance is RATION carbon.


Northern PoV said...

Nice post Mound,

"Freeland is capable enough to be dangerous."

imo she's already very operational, effective and dangerous

Her job #1:
Keep tRump happy (at any cost to the integrity of CDN for. policy)

Grooming to be next PM.
(Jr. disappeared from the news after election. Grew a beard... so she may be needed sooner than later.)

Like most politicians these days, she is a created entity. (Buttigieg etc)
She is basically Iggy version II. Libs are trying it with a female this time.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Lorne, I think even the most ardent Liberal must recognize what is going on. I do credit Liberal supporters as being more grounded in reality than their Conservative rivals but I don't think they have a particularly strong grip on truth when that suits them.

When you're trying to survive an emergency you mobilize - everything. You mobilize your citizenry. You ration consumption. You impose curfews and suspend certain traditional rights and freedoms. You designate certain industries and jobs as essential. You conscript suitable individuals and strip them of their right to security of person so that you may require them to put their lives in harm's way. You may impress private property such as ships and aircraft into emergency service.

You do what is required. Whatever it takes.

There are few alive today who remember the last time we experienced these emergency conditions. We have no experience of these things and so shy away from accepting them. Christ, suggest a $30/ton carbon levy and people howl like scalded cats.

We are soft, lazy and selfish.

The Disaffected Lib said...

No TB, he said it in reference to WWII. Let's not get into Winston's litany of foibles such as, when he served as Foreign Secretary, ordering gas shells fired into Kurdish villages that refused to pay taxes.

The Disaffected Lib said...

NPoV, I share your suspicion that Freeland has great political ambitions. I just don't think she has the charisma to win the top job.

Trailblazer said...

As youth in the UK, we had ration books I still have a sample!

We were poor but did not suffer.

Austerity, meaning.

extreme plainness and simplicity of style or appearance.
"the room was decorated with a restraint bordering on austerity"

A far cry from the American dream which has caught the world's attention and envy!