Canada the Colossal Fossil

I have some bad news: Canada just won the Colossal Fossil award, aka the Fossil of the Year award. This award is handed out to the country that has done the most to obstruct negotiations during the entire COP. Canada had the dishonor of winning this award last year as well.

A mock Stephen Harper accepted the award along with signs saying “No time for Tim Horton’s while eating donuts. Canadians everywhere have reason to feel ashamed of this award. We were once a leader in international arenas, but now we lag behind every other nation, including the US. The Canadian target is even lower than the US and recently leaked documents show that the current government has plans to further weaken this already weak target putting us well behind the US. In addition, funding for renewable energy is being implemented in the US at a ratio of 14:1 compared with Canada. In fact, Ottawa just eliminated funding to renewable energy via the Eco Energy program, making us the only developed country to provide NO funding for green energy.

The negotiations themselves are moving slowly if at all. For the past several hours we have been watching speeches from heads of state via live video feed in an impromptu NGO workspace set up after we were barred from the Bella Centre. We’ve seen Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Wen Jiaboa, Obama etc. And who was notably absent from these statements? You guessed it: PM Stephen Harper who declined to participate and face the world with our weak targets.

We have just learned that with all of the targets on the table right now, including those from developed and developing countries, global temperature will rise by 3⁰C. This is the equivalent of 550ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. As you probably know, 2⁰C or 450ppm is the commonly recognized upper limit of climate change although small islands nations and say that 1.5⁰C or 350ppm is too much for them to survive.

After the head of state speeches, all the various interest groups are allowed to speak for 2 minutes. I just watched the youth speech and it was the most moving one I’ve seen yet. It was delivered by Juan Carlos Soriano of SustainUS and reads as follows:

Good afternoon my fellow human beings. 
“My name is Juan Carlos, and in the year 2050 I will be 68 years old. I am proud to represent the International youth climate movement. 
Christina Ora, a 17 year old from the Solomon Islands, addressed the opening plenary last Monday. She said "I was born in 1992. You have been negotiating all my life. You cannot tell us that you need more time." 
We have worked the past two years promising to reach a conclusion in Copenhagen. Now it seems you will not get it done.

This is unacceptable, you should be ashamed. 

The United Nations was created to solve humanitarian and social crises, but instead of standing united, you are now the Divided Nations. Humanity can and must do better. Mother Nature will not negotiate with us. 
You must set targets to get us back below 350parts per million. You must agree on fair and sufficient financing - 5-7% of GDP - to pay back the ecological debt to the most affected. 
We the Youth dream of a sustainable future shared by all humanity. There is wisdom in the people's hearts, and people are ingenious. We CAN solve this crisis - IF ONLY we choose to. 
We support those nations who don't want to sign a suicide pact. We call on all nations not to accept anything that does not guarantee survival and climate justice for all. 
There must be no decisions about us, without us. We refuse to have our futures sold and 'offset' by polluter lobbyists. The Youth believe that you care enough for the future of your children and grandchildren to sign a legally-binding, fair and ambitious, inspiring agreement which reflects "the fierce urgency of now". 
Rest assured that we will keep on working, and we will keep on pushing you harder and harder, until that necessary deal is sealed. 

Below are some videos from today


the subtle distictions between fools and liars

Canada deserves to be seen as an international embarrassment for its inaction and obstruction at these negotiations. Yes, the american and canadian economies are closely linked. This is not 'inexplicable', which means that it cannot be explained -- it can be very easily explained by the countries' proximity, amount of trade, similarity of cultural and economic institutions, shared value systems, close personal relationships, and shared ecosystems. If the above commenter has trouble explaining such a basic concept, it isn't hard to see how the economic effects of international treaties might be hard for him or her to understand. The economies are more accurately described as 'inextricable', which means difficult to disentagle or decouple. This fact can be a benfit if Canada chooses to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For example, green technologies and expertise developed north of the border can be exported for cash money. Reduced US participation in these sectors means reduced competition, and being seen as a global leader is the kind of positive PR that money can't buy. There are also HUGE ECONOMIC COSTS linked to climate change and domestic oil production that are being completely ignored by the paradigm of the commenter above and pundits of his/her ilk. To list just a few, they include: -Forestry: Destruction of forests by pine beetles and fires. Fire fighting costs. -Fishing: Collapse of aquatic ecosystems. Depletion of seafood stocks. -Healthcare: More cases of illness and costs due to air and water pollutants. -Buildings and Infrastructure: Capital costs in areas with melting permafrost, rising ocean levels, and reduced fresh water reserves. -Government Subsidies for Oil: Costs of 'Socialist welfare' handouts for corporations (some foreign). These costs are compounded by the destroyed real wealth of the country from degraded natural resources (rivers, oceans, forests, ecosystems, arable land). Also, the idea that our social programs are a financial burden that prevents us from doing anything else is a big fat fallacy. Not only are these programs a huge benefit to all Canadians, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy, e.g. fewer healthcare and social workers lose their jobs when the newly unemployed can no longer afford the services, and fewer people become unemployable by not being able to afford to treat their illesses or have access to support systems. Lastly, the idea that most people campaigning against climate change have vested political interests or are 'brainwashed' by 'junk science' is so vague, unsubtantiated, and just plain backwards it makes me want to tear my hair out. Stephen Harper has spent his life profiting from the oil industry. The oil industry is funding climate change deniers. These people are a shining example of conflicts of interest, ignoring ethical concerns and dispensing with truth to satisfy their personal motivations at the expense of the majority of humanity.

Assume your conclusion and don't bother with the arguments!

Your second and third paragraphs about the definition of a word is quite childish, as is your unsubstantiated first paragraph about Canada being an 'international embarrassment'. Nothing prevents people like you from donating all or any percentage of YOUR money to fund whatever cause you like. Your obvious plan is to take the money of others (most of who don’t agree with you) and use it to fund your own goals. You list problems in Forestry, Fishing, Healthcare, Buildings and Infrastructure, and Government Subsidies as being because of the fossil fuel industry in Canada. None of the above have been shown by any reputable scientists to be directly related to CO2 levels. Some people believe that taxes are owed to the Government even before profit is earned (Is this you?). This is not the view of mainstream economics and therefore the oil industry in Alberta does not get government subsidies. You could only put forward this myth if you believe that deferred or forgiven taxes are a subsidy. What do you call the huge direct subsidies paid to farmers each year? You decry my attributing political motives to this 'fossil' award and say it is unsubstantiated and then turn around and call my opinion 'backward'. Have you read the news about the leaked emails from the scientists at the 'Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia' involved in making Climate Change conclusions available to the UN and the world? Steven Harper has no connection to the oil patch other than the fact that he was elected in a Calgary riding. I live just outside Calgary and I have no neighbors who make a living directly for the oil or gas industries but by all means please accuse all of us in Alberta of not caring about the environment or the rest of the planet. "The climate secretary, Ed Miliband, today accuses China, Sudan, Bolivia and other left wing Latin American countries of trying to hijack the UN climate summit and 'hold the world to ransom' to prevent a deal being reached." This excerpt was taken from a UK Guardian newspaper. Does this sound like Canada was the most 'obstructionist' in Copenhagen? Do Canadian's agree with you that Canada should not only kill it's own economy (by drastically curtailing it's output of CO2 right now) but pay developing countries billions so that they can clean up their act as well? The Liberals signed the Kyoto protocol in the mid 1990’s but can you tell me what policies they implemented over the next 10 years? The answer is none. Japan has a small amount of natural resources and a large population. Canada has the opposite. Can you imagine Canadians agreeing to distribute all the natural resources of Canada and Japan on a per capita basis? Of course this is ridiculous! Why then would the amount of CO2 that can be put into the atmosphere depend on a per capita basis? If the maximum sustainable CO2 for the world is X per year and let’s say that the area of Canada is 15% of the land mass of the world then why wouldn't Canada be entitled to put out 15% of the sustainable CO2 into the atmosphere each year? Why should the level of CO2 be per/capita and why would anyone think that CO2 emission levels in 1991 (the magic number for Kyoto) was the correct or fair amount for countries to limit their emissions to? Let’s have a reasoned argument and leave the religious talk and name calling to Sunday School!

Fossil Award is Nothing BUT a Bad Joke!

Is't a fact that the economy of the US and Canada are inexplicably linked. We don't have to like this fact but it is one none the less. PM Harper has said that he will make Canada's carbon policy compatible with the US policy whenever the US can actually get one. He has no choice! Anyone who says otherwise is either not informed and/or has no chance of actually implementing their ideas. What are ideas worth that can never be implemented? Canadians will not allow their government to bankrupt the country, no matter what disaster scenarios are proposed. I don't want Canada to be a world leader in climate change policy or anything else because the bleeding edge is just too costly. Canadians already spend much more than the US on their social programs and we just can't afford more. Canadians as a group might be wealthy relative to many other countries BUT our government is NOT. They have a current deficit and a huge national debt run up by PM Trudeau who defined what NOT to do in economics (spend more regardless of what taxes are collected or what people can afford). I am proud our PM is not falling for your politically motivated "fossil" award and came up with a reasonable response in Copenhagen.


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