Thursday, February 01, 2007

Climate Change: Waking Up and Catching Up!

This fellow looks like he is watching the declining quality of political discourse over climate change too and, given the pose and look on his face, he seems to be wondering what his future is going to be too.
We need a credible discussion and a serious conversation on this stuff. Too much of what is happening is cheap political theatre - from everyone except Elizabeth May. Come on gentlemen! If you feel you must "play the game" at least elevate the quality of your play.

We just did our latest column for LaPresse on the issues of climate change and the rapid rise of consciousness in Alberta. I will post it once it is publised in the newspaper.

Lets face it we need the planet more than it needs us.


  1. jonathan sharek3:33 pm

    The whole issue has been trampled underfoot so many times I don't know if real discourse will ever emerge.

    My take on it is that the USA has made it a hyper-polarizing issue, and the auto/oil/industrial lobbies are so powerful that they have prevented Bush from making a single move towards conservation. (In fact just the opposite)

    Too much junk science has been heaped on the debate, thanks to industry commissioning their own studies and counter-theories.

    What is happening in the Canadian arena seems to me to be merely echoing this.

  2. ken chapman3:44 pm

    Hi Jonathan - check out this week's Economist and "The Greening of America." The positions and parallels between Bush and Harper on climate change have been very interesting.

    Now both are accepting the serious challange of climate change. Dubya has a climate change reference in the SOTU if you can imagine.

    Harper is playing his Green Card now too...Governor Arnold who he has invited to Canada. Climate change should be a trump card politically according to the polls. But it seems more like a joker when in Harper's hand.

    I hope Baird does better in Paris than Ambrose did in Africa explaining that our climate change laggardness is a Liberal cock-up.

  3. Harper is the only politician who has actually done anything with regard to the environment (whether he is true in his convictions or whether he "gets it" or not). The LPC has made Canada a laughing stock as we are 28th out of 29th in countries that signed Kyoto.

    As the election looms on, the LPC's record on the environment will come up and it is not pretty no matter how you want to spin it Ken. Dion was a part of that government.

    Both the Cons and Libs have screwed up on this issue. No party "owns" the issue. The problem here is that both Cons and Libs attack the other's record and there is no real substantive discussion. For example, Ken's post just attacked Harper as being like Bush and then again attacked Ambrose. This does not facilitate discussion as the obvious response is: the Libs didn't do jack-squat either.

    Let's look at what has actually be done. Where has money from? What regulations have been produced? Etc. Etc.

  4. jonathan sharek4:12 pm

    In answer to Eric's post, some guy named George Bush should have enforced stricter emissions that could have curtailed the SUV boom in the auto market. As the film "Who Killed the Electric Car" demonstrated (among other things), the US tax structure also currently supports SUV ownership far more than an electric car/hybrid ownership. Plain and simple North American markets must move to more efficient cars and defy the auto lobbyists. (My prediction, Bush does nothing)

  5. ken chapman4:21 pm

    eric - pray tell in detail what has Harper actually done. Please don't tell me the Clean Air Act. That is not an accomplishment. Why is Mr. Hawn chairing an all party committee on a review of it?

    Ambrose in Africa was mouthing the political talking notes not dealing with the issues and being allowed to act as the Minister.

    Baird has more latitude but with the UN Report on Climate Change coming out tomorrow I hope he has more to say than the Libs were pathetic for 13 years. That may be true but it is as tired and trite as the "New Government of Canada."

    Nobody has done enough and now the public wants action. All we are getting more hot air from everyone in their santimonious poltical pulpits. That is merely adding more CO2 to the atmosphere...and we know we don't need any more of that.

    eric - I think you and I better start talking more about where we agree - and there is a considerable area where we see eye to eye - and it would be more productive don't you think?

    Want to grab a coffee sometime soon?

  6. Again, you attack the Cons and their approach without examining the liberal's failure. Dion stated in the National Post: “In 2008, I will be part of Kyoto, but I will say to the world I don’t think I will make it.”
    And the Environment Commissioner stated in her 2006 report that under the liberals:

    “I am more troubled than ever by the federal government’s long standing failure to confront one of the greatest challenges of our time. Our future is at stake.” (2006 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, The Commissioner’s Perspective, p. 6)
    “Canada is not on track to meet the Kyoto targets.” (Ibid, p. 8.)
    The previous Liberal government had 13 years to take action

    --- Again, let's look at the facts. What was done? What can we do?

    Ken, I'm currently in Ottawa for the next 2's really exciting here, you can feel the energy in the air. However, when I'm back in Alberta, I'll definitely e-mail you.

    People within the CPC are extremely upset about how the gov't handled the file. We had a chance to be the a green party and failed miserably. Now, after a year, there has been a conversion because of the polls. I admit this - although I'm sure no CPC spokesperson would. However, the LPC has been no better; the Environment Commissioner said so and her report is backed up by substantive facts. Too bad both sides couldn't admit that nothing has been done by either side. Both sides failed. Now, what can we do? Unfortunately, politics get in the way and we end up trashing each other's record (as there is a lot of ammunition).

  7. eric - I think the CONSERVE nature of being conservative has been squandered.

    Can you give me a list of the Cons accomplishments in the past year on the environment? What have I missed?

    The Lib motion today to ratify Kyoto is as tactical as the Cons motion when in opposition to confirm a belief in traditional marriage. Of course it passed but it was then use out of context later to say such support meant you could not support SMS.


    I am in Ottawa in mid March - will you still be there?

  8. I agree. Too bad Preston Manning's warning to the candidates in the AB PC Leadership race didn't work on the federal CPC.

    Again, the Cons accomplishments while in gov't are limited to their recent announcements in investments in alternative fuels and a reinstatement of some liberal programs, including the home refitting plan which was the ONLY program the Environment Commissioner said actually worked.

    Because of these types of games, I, along with many of my collegues, are beginning to have disgust for all governments. The recent appointments to the Citizenship and Immigration Board (along with other partisan appointments) is EXACTLY what the Liberals did. I can't stand it!

    Anyway, I should be around in mid-March. I'll make sure I post in early March.

  9. ken chapman9:24 am

    Thx eric for the listing of the Cons environmental actions and accomplishments. It is as I thought.

    How can the Cons political position messaging be credible? They say the Libs did nothing for 13 years but they cut the Lib eco-programs and then reinstated a bunch of them. Then they blatently say the Libs did nothing.

    I don't think the LIbs did enough and there was not sufficient time and attention spent on the eco-issues with minorities and internicine warfare. But those are excuses not reasons.

    There is a lack of political courage all over the place these days. With the polls showing a strong shift to environmental concerns in the public, now the politicians who lead by junping in front of the parade can take action.

    As for the partisan apointments - it has takien less than a year for "Ottawa-itis" to infect "The New Government of Canada." Pity!

  10. jonathan sharek7:23 am

    Hi everyone, please have a look at the article by following the link below.
    Then read my response to the author.
    Thanks! Jonathan

    Good day Lorrie,

    I read your article today based on Sowell's model. I think that's pretty spot on, and it made me think of other potential examples.

    Stage 1: In 1992, provincial Tories made political hay by announcing their intention to slay the Alberta deficit and debt. Despite Getty's spending cuts that occurred towards the end of his tenure actually beginning this process - Klein and co. take credit for the idea. In fact, they placed such a heavy emphasis on the negatives that debt elimination became the prime driver of the provincial government (power consolidation was a close second) for a decade and a half.

    Stage 2: The "solution", in the form of drastic and uninformed cuts, is proposed and immeidately implemented. An interesting reversal is that when front line workers in health and education try to point out the complexities and potential problems, the province dismisses these claims out of hand and continues to promote the simple "solution".

    Stage 3: The "results" end up fulfilling many of the prior warnings, such as a massive infrastructure debt, an appalling democratic deficit, beleagured social services, an addiction to
    gambling revenue, no environmental plan, no plan to moderate expansion and a realization
    that far more resource revenue has been spent while hardly any has been saved, and with
    little to show for it. People wonder why one of the richest jurisdictions on Earth cannot pony
    up to twin the Edmonton - Fort McMurray highway system.

    Stage 4: The anointed give "the response" to their critics, ranging from "the Opposition was right" (Ralph Klein) to "Alberta is in better shape than anywhere else", which when you look at some of the problems that came up in Stage 3, is of little comfort.

    I often think of Stage 1 when I hear Tories fall all over themselves trying to praise Klein's legacy. Having marginalized any decent discourse or opposing views in the province, and taking steps to ensure that a 36 year reign of corruption and neglect will continue, one can see how
    the Tory culture (no matter who is premier) has become the "anointed" culture.
    Chalk another one up for Sowell.

    I look forward to your response.

    Thanks for your time,
    Jonathan Sharek, Edmonton