I am appalled at the position being put forth by Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and his so-called Environment Minister, John Baird, at the United Nations climate change conference currently underway in Bali. The Harper government is proposing that Canada is a "leader" in climate change action because Harper's government has made the "commitment" to cut Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% from 2006 levels. Since the rest of the world measures their GHG cuts based on 1990 levels, as per the Kyoto protocol (which the previous government ratified but then Harper reneged on), this means that Canada will actually be allowed to increase its GHG emissions by 10% overall, because our emissions have increased by about 30% since 1990. Harper must think Canadians are too stupid to do the math. He and Baird are also saying that they won't sign any agreement on reduction targets for Canada if the US or China won't commit to binding targets too. I'm in the midst of writing a letter to the PM and the Environment Minister about this, which I'll post here when I've got it done.
But the main thing I wanted to post about today was the fact that Harper seems to be oblivious to the fact that many if not most Canadians think that we should be committing to absolute GHG reduction targets and specific time lines. Today in the Edmonton Journal there were numerous letters to the Editor about this very thing. The letter writers made it clear that Canada needs to show leadership by committing to binding, significant, absolute (not intensity-based) GHG reduction targets regardless of what other nations do. We in the west have been the main cause of the GHG problem in the first place, so we need to suck it up and do something about it, rather than whine that China isn't doing it's part or worry that the US will be ticked off if we commit to something to which they aren't committing.
The last letter to the Editor I read today was signed by "Bill Bourne." Now, I'm not sure if this is Bill Bourne the Edmonton folk singer and songwriter, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it were, given his songs about peace and fairness, like Pie and Ice Cream.
If these or other things that your government is doing or not doing bother you, please write to them, or to the Editorial page in your local newspaper. The government needs to know what ordinary Canadians who are concerned for their and their children's future are thinking. I didn't vote for Stephen Harper, or his party member in my riding, and I'm sure not going to let them think he or his party or his Environment Minister speak for me on this topic.
Also, here is an interesting article from the Globe and Mail on the topic.