Friday, April 27, 2007

The Devil and Kyoto

Let's start with the good news, what little there is, and give the devil his due: at least Harper and the Tories have done something on carbon emissions.
Mind you, it's very little and probably far too late, but at least it's something.
The bad news is that our Kyoto commitments will be not be met, in violation of international law, and there is no guarantee that the Tories' targets will result in emissions being reduced anyway.
By using intensity targets instead of hard caps, it will possible for industries to increase their emissions, yet still meet the Tories emission reduction targets. How's that for having it both ways?
And the ultimate kicker is that industries that can prove that they have no way of reducing their emissions, cement factories for instance, don't have to. That makes a lot of sense. I can prove that my industrial waste emissions, which are killing people and the planet, cannot be reduced in any way, therefore I should be allowed to continue to kill people and the planet with impunity. WTF???
The Tories worry that too much emission reduction will damage the economy. I wonder how much the economy will suffer when ocean levels rise in a couple of decades and Canada has a million former-residents of Vancouver as refugees. Of course, that sort of long-term thinking never enters the thoughts of most politicians.
The ultimate irony is that the Kyoto targets are only a start. They are only a small fraction of what needs to be done. Meeting Kyoto is only the beginning: the real hard cuts are yet to come.
If you hear any politician say that we can continue on our merry way and all we need to do change a few light bulbs and drive a little less and everything will be fine, he is woefully ill-informed. Or he is lying.
Vast societal changes are coming. But the politicians, like the rest of us, have their heads in the sand.

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