Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Canada's Environmental Policies and Saving the Planet

Exxon, the world's richest and mightiest corporation, was the leading force behind a massive ten-year campaign to block the Kyoto accord and ensure the world remained hooked on the product that Exxon has made its fortune selling. This was no easy battle, even for Exxon.

Lined up against it was virtually the entire scientific world—and, for that matter, most of the world community. In the end, not even Exxon was able to block the signing of the historic Kyoto Protocol, as the world came together in 1997 in a far-reaching bid to shake our planet-endangering oil addiction.

But Exxon did score one huge victory in March 2001, when the newly elected administration of George W Bush and Dick Cheney, close Exxon allies, withdrew U.S. support for Kyoto. The withdrawal of the United States, which emits roughly one quarter of the world's greenhouse gases, was a devastating blow. Still, the world community has pressed on with Kyoto.

Into this titanic, ongoing struggle between the world community and the Bush-Cheney-Exxon axis of oil, Canada has now definitively entered—on the side of the oil interests.

With the release of the Harper government's so-called Clean Air Act in October 2006, Ottawa signalled its abandonment of Kyoto. This amounted to a repudiation of the only serious effort under way to tackle global warming. (HOLDING THE BULLY'S COAT, Canada and the U.S. Empire, Linda McQuaig, Doubleday Canada, ISBN 978-0-385-66012-9, Pg. 22)

So there you have it. The world will never reach an agreement on global warming, when the oil companies hold all the power and the purse strings.

It's no secret that Stephen Harper's float to power was down a stream of crude, or that he has significant links to Exxon himself. His father was an executive at Imperial Oil, a subsidiary of Exxon; and it was at his father's company that Harper held his only real job, before entering the political arena. (the National Citizens Coalition is a right-wing political lobby group, so that's not a real job either)

It's also no secret that our current dictator does not believe in the science of global warming, calling it a theory; and in fact has referred to the Kyoto Accord as a 'socialist plot'.

Now don't get me wrong. The Liberals before him, though helping to create the Kyoto Protocol, allowed greenhouse gases to rise under their watch. But as former environment minister Stephane Dion told the San Francisco Chronicle in May 2005, "There is no minister of the environment on earth who can stop this [oil sands development] from going forward because there is too much money in it."

It presents a problem for Canada, but should not sway our opinion of the tar sands. Unless we can legitimately clean them up, and and I don't see how we can, we have to start moving toward a green economy, and losing our dependency on oil. It's that simple.

In an attempt to organize my archived and future posts, I'm using this page to link to environmental stories, by categories. Further links will be available as you navigate the pages. Just be patient ... I'm working as quickly as I can.

Climate Change
Climate Change Denial
Reformers Environmental Disaster

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