Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The latest attempts to derail efforts to curb global warming

Prime Minister Harper said Canada could be a leader in the fight against global warming. US President George W. Bush - after having denied there was a problem for years - also wants to play a leadership role.

These are nothing but attempts to throw sand into peoples' eyes and derail the entire Kyoto process and this was their plan all along.

The Pembina Institute concluded that the Canadian government's proposed regulations have little chance of meeting the target of stopping the growth in Canada's greenhouse gas pollution by 2010-12. The analysis also highlights numerous loopholes and gaps that undermine the credibility of the government's target for 2020, which is to limit Canada's emissions to about 2% above the 1990 level."

This compares to our legal obligations under the Kyoto Protocol of 6% below the 1990 level by 2012. Or to the European Union's governments call for developed countries' emissions to be reduced to 15-30% below the 1990 level by 2020. An analysis of the Government of Canada’s April 2007 Greenhouse Gas Policy Announcement can be found here. (Free Adobe Reader is required to open the file.)

Harper said that leading polluters who never endorsed the Kyoto protocol — like the United States, China, and India — need to be brought into the fold in the post-Kyoto era. He's right but maybe he should catch up a little on reading the protocol. The second phase, which would include countries such as India and China, still needs to be negotiated but is to begin in five years time. India might work on a plan to propose a system under which responsibility to cut emissions would be differentiated depending on historical levels and per capita pollution without setting a deadline, an official said. India currently contributes around three percent of global emissions. But as a developing nation, it is not required to cut emissions. China's position that it needs unfettered economic growth to defeat poverty before anything can be done, is well known. In absolute terms China has the second largest emissions. See this article for a list of 50 countries ranked according to their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rona Ambrose, when she was still the Environment Minister, offered this jewel on CTV's Question Period a few months ago: "We're on track to meet all of our obligations under the Kyoto protocol but not the target."

Canada will not meet its Kyoto accord targets but can still be a model for the rest of the world in battling climate change, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told an international audience on Monday, June 4, 2007.

Canada a leader? When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Canada's record stinks, according to CTV's Bill Doskoch. We are the worst performer among countries that did sign the treaty other than Luxembourg. (In the case of Luxembourg there are some peculiar factors putting it on the bottom. See document linked.) And we can show others how it could be done? According to the World Wildlife Fund only the United States has done less to fight global warming.

Is Harper deluding himself? Or is he just dishonest and still working on his avowed goal to defeat the Kyoto Protocol? He questioned the science of climate change, just like his puppet master George W. Bush did until not so long ago. Harper also called it "a money-sucking socialist scheme".

Now both want to play a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? It sounds like something from a Kafka novel.

Machiavelli showed the way a long time ago. It was used masterfully by Karl Rove, "George W. Bush's brain". According to this the people want to be deceived by their rulers and the bigger the lie the better it will be implemented.

But as the saying goes, ' you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time'. An environmental group has launched a landmark lawsuit against the Canadian federal government, alleging it is violating the law by failing to honour the Kyoto Protocol.

It'll be interesting to see how the court rules but by that time the Conservatives might not be in power anymore, or, at the very least, they gained some more time to fiddle while the planet is burning.

"Sigmar Gabriel, the German environment minister, said Mr Bush’s speech could mark a 'change in the US position or a manoeuvre aimed at causing confusion'. ... Ms Merkel “will be pleased” with his proposals, which run counter to her own, was seen as provocative. There were signs on Friday night (June 1, 2007) that Mr Bush’s proposals would split the G8, which some sceptics argue is his intention. Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, welcomed the plan, as did - surprise, surprise! - Tony Blair. Bush torpedoes Merkel’s climate plans was the front page headline of the German financial paper Handelsblatt, which goes to show that one doesn't have to be an environmentalist to see through this charade.

According to an article in the New York Times (June 1, 2007) Bush's goals are “aspirational.” They would not be binding and yet Bush has the nerve of claiming “the United States is taking the lead, and that’s the message I’m going to take to the G-8.”

The right wing Heritage Foundation still questions the scientific basis of warnings about global warming urging Bush to stick to the "US-do-nothing" status quo. It wrote "the U.S. should take prudent steps to increase the reliability of global climate predictions before adopting far-reaching public policies in this area." They even claim that "America [sic] continues to lead the world with its development of cleaner technologies". It is of course a lie, charitably called "cherry picking data" by some commentators.

In any case, these US proposals won't fly and the rest of the world is either disgusted with, or laughing at, Harper and Bush.

This latest Bush/Harper strategy is a diversion and delaying tactic - nothing else - but the gambit just might work.

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