Nobody Wants to be First

The Conservative government has announced today that they will not renew Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Climate Change protocol, surprising, I would assume, no one. Canada signed on to Kyoto in 1998 and promptly did very little to actually address the commitment through successive Liberal and Conservative governments, and Stephen Harper has been a vocal critic of the policy, stating that cutting greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with Kyoto would be economic suicide. Given that the world’s worst polluters, the United States, China and India are not part of the agreement, Harper doesn’t believe we should be either. It’s all or nothing, we stand together or we walk away.

After all, if it’s not good enough for the dirtiest countries with the worst pollution records in the world, we can’t expect it to be any good for us, right? Rarified company we travel in…

Besides, climate change is a myth, right? That’s what stalwart George Dubyah Bush taught us, and we have very little reason to doubt the proclamations of an intellectual powerhouse such as he. Forget the fact that ice shelves and fields are disappearing and breaking off at an alarming rate and I can walk outside on December 5th to be met with 10 degree weather and green grass. In Ottawa. Canada. I should be happy with this fluke occurrence. I ride a motorcycle, so I should be downright thrilled to see the season getting, potentially, longer. Why should I be worried that those squinty-eyed dudes in white coats with more letters after their names than I have in my entire name combined are saying the world’s climate is changing, and that it spells trouble for those of us living in it?

Trust in Dubyah. Trust in Harper.

We have a plan, actually. The Canadian government proudly proclaimed a plan some years ago that by the year 2050, or somesuch, our emissions would be a fraction of what they are today. Of course, by then I’ll be plucking fresh fruit off the trees growing next to the sandy beach that will have become of my front lawn, around Christmas time. The government has found the bravery of being out of range; they have made a commitment that they won’t be around to have to answer for. So, in 2050, when emissions aren’t what they said they will be, they won’t have to account for the broken promise. Which means they can do absolutely nothing right now, and never have to worry about being called on the carpet for it.

And, I’m not saying that the Liberals who signed on to Kyoto are heroes here, because they did absolutely nothing to actually acheive the objectives of the accord. But, is it any better to opt out of resigning, simply because we have the shining example to follow of the worst polluters in the wrold? Should we not be leading by example and pressuring these other nations by signing on? Since when do we take our lead from the poorest role models?

Don’t get me wrong, I hate snow. I dislike winter with a passion. I don’t like the cold, and the snow and ice, and the freezing rain. But, I accept that in a healthy world, that’s the sort of climate we should have in winter. Christmas shopping in mid-December with not a flake of snow in sight is disturbing, and should worry people. It’s a symptom of a problem, and a sign that something isn’t right with the world.

If we don’t start doing something about it now, instead of in 2050, we’ll all suffer the consequences.

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