[This is a part script for the audio broadcast/podcast. To hear the real thing, click the title above]
What kind of greenhouse gas reduction begins by violating an international climate treaty, and then promising to emit even more carbon dioxide? That plan is called “Turning the Corner” – announced April 27th, by Canadian Environment Minister John Baird, of the Conservative Party.
Baird says Canadians are dumping 35% more greenhouse gases now, than in 1990. He blames all that not on Canadian energy gluttony, but on the previous government, under the Liberal Party. According to Baird, previous lack of progress makes reducing greenhouse gases now too expensive, too harmful for the growing Canadian economy. An echo chamber from the Bush White House.
If the Liberals aren’t to blame, then obviously the environmentalists are, in the world according to John Baird:
[C7][those environmental “perfectionists” stopped progress…]
So, the atmosphere be damned, crank up the public relations machines. to blow more hot air. The next generations can suffer the ravages of climate change.
Minister Baird is a study in the power of persuasion. Here, he admits that greenhouse gases will increase under his plan:
[quick clip emissions will rise C3]
Canada’s greenhouse pollution will increase for the next five years. That is the government’s plan to tackle climate change.
Even as European countries, unlike Canada, make real cuts in their emissions, Baird claims he is doing the most:
[clip C1 More than any Other country]
One sticky point erupts from Canada’s tar sands oil operations. The new Conservative Party was formed from a right-wing populist party from Province of Alberta, the nation’s oil and gas giant. These oil buccaneers fought Kyoto all the way, denied that climate change was happening, and then denied that humans were responsible.
The Conservatives still count on big donations from the fossil fuel sector. So they shy away from any limit on Canadian greenhouse gas emissions. The new plan sets no limits at all. No cap – it’s all flexible, and all up and off the charts.
The Tar Sands mining and refining alone is responsible for about ten percent of Canada’s new emissions since 1990. That doesn’t count the global warming impact of burning all the gasoline and oil produced from oil sands, burned by Americans. If we were tempted to count the real impact of the oil sands on the atmosphere, their footprint would be gigantic.
Production at Canada’s tar sands is expected to at least triple, as the United States seeks a stable energy supply, from a friendly country. That makes Canada the carbon pusher for the world’s biggest polluter. Minister Baird, knowing where his Party funding comes from, represents the fossil fuel industry as surely as President Bush or Vice-President Cheney.
So. the Tar Sands can go ahead and multiply production – especially since Baird has stolen a nifty dodge from the Bushies. Instead of measuring actual carbon pollution, his plan demands only so-called “intensity” targets.
Here is the way this scam works. If you produce a car engine, you must reduce the amount of greenhouse gases required to produce this motor by 20 percent by 2020 – 13 years from now! But, and this is a huge loophole, you can double or triple your production of engines. Each one will create 20 percent less pollution, and yet your overall pollution will more than double. It is a slight of hand that led Al Gore, who knows a little about these things, to say this at a Toronto Green Festival:
[Clip C22][Al Gore says plan is “complete fraud” “designed to mislead the Canadian people”]
Intensity targets are a gift to the oil and gas producers. They can increase their efficiency – especially since they have had practically no limits up until now – and still double or triple their actual greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the politicians say they have cut emissions by 20%. It is a lie, and a vicious lie that will cause more deaths and suffering all over the world, to humanity, and to the animals and plants of this world.
That is not all. In order to permit new polluting industries to flourish in Canada – and Minister Baird mentions specifically a refinery for the billionaire Irving family of New Brunswick – all new operations will have a 3 year grace period, to permit as much as they want, before having to develop more efficiency, before looking at emissions reductions.
[Clip C4][Baird saying expansion of industry will go ahead, and emissions will go up…]
Wait, there is more. Are you a big polluter in a bind? Can’t see a way to reduce your carbon? No problem – just show your need to pollute, and you get a total exemption from the program. This is a loophole big enough to drive through with one of the top carbon dioxide polluters in the country, the cement industry. They, and anyone else who claims they just can’t get by without smokestacks full of carbon, get a free pass.
No loophole for you? You still don’t have to actually reduce your greenhouse gases. Just make a donation to a “new technology” fund set up by the federal government. It’s cheap, at just $15 a ton for carbon dioxide. Nobody knows where that money will actually go. Maybe some of it will be spent on advertising to make us feel green.
Of course there are other ways to get around your emissions problem. You can buy a carbon offset from anybody who the government qualifies as a carbon reducer. You can imagine the giant new bureaucracy required to measure the carbon, the reductions, the certification, the exchanges in this unique made-in-Canada trading system. Think of the gun control registry, that cost billions and still doesn’t work, or the efficiency of the passport office.
This all Canadian carbon trading system, that exists only in the Minister’s mind at the moment, and could be years away, doesn’t connect with any other in the world, and so stands outside the existing European system, and the financial incentives from Wall Street. It sounds good and patriotic, we’ll run everything ourselves, as if the atmosphere could be packaged up. We’ll have a Canadian atmosphere, and there will be 186 other atmospheres, one for every country, and that will solve the problems of global climate change. In some story book land.
Meanwhile, John Baird chops up numbers in new ways that make old lies sound very convincing. For example, unlike the rest of the world, he measures greenhouse gas reductions starting in 2006. So a 20 percent Canadian cut by 2020, using Baird’s in-house rules, means Canada will still be 11 percent ABOVE 1990 levels. Every other country in the world uses 1990 as their standard. Canada goes its own way, to the complete confusion of the voters and our international friends.
All of this sleight of hand and bluster hides another key point. Because the Conservatives don’t have enough votes in Parliament to ram through this climate cover-up – they have dumped their own climate bill, by-passed the elected representatives completely, and intend to do it all by regulation. Instead of bringing the plan to a vote, where they would certainly be defeated, bureaucrats will just make new rules, and it shall be so.
Democracy is not the only thing being killed off as we “Turn the Corner.” So is the international plan for climate change, the Kyoto Protocol. Weak as it is, only the United States and Australia have been outlaws in this international plan. Now Canada, which led the world in formulating a Kyoto and follow up international law, will break that law. We won’t even try to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in reality. Kyoto is dead in Canada.
What does this say to China, India, Brazil, and all the developing countries? A rich and technologically rich country, Canada, is choosing more dirty production over the future climate of the world. Future negotiations, for the after Kyoto period following 2012, may be seriously jeopardized by this grand plan to increase Canada’s pollution of the atmosphere.
The whole problem is put most succinctly by the Liberal environment critic David McGinty in an interview with CTV News:
[C12][calls it a “shameful abandonment…”]
Louise Como of the Sage Foundation brings out another ramification to Canada ducking the carbon bullet: we’ll be left behind in the new economy, with a fossil industry:
[C8 Louise Como]
Minister Baird disputes this, saying Canada is a leader in carbon capture and sequestration, and we have a pilot plant to create biofuels using the celluloid process. Great, but both are research projects, without a single commercial application anywhere. Listening to countless interviews, there was a loud absence of any solar, wind, or real renewable energy. It is a fossil fuel vision that Dick Cheney could love.
Respected Canadian Green spokespeople are horrified. The 70 year-old famous nature broadcaster David Suzuki expressed his disappointment, on camera, with Minister Baird:
[C20 & C21]
Here is John Bennet from the Climate Action Network:
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, and past executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, was outraged:
[C17 & C18][ calls it “Canada’s Climate Disaster Plan” and a tragic day, explains why…]
And of course, we had Al Gore, who has awakened millions of people to the extreme dangers we face when the climate is destabilized by our pollution.
[shorter Al Gore quote, fraud]
These are the darkest of times for Canadians. Where we hoped to help the world, now our government is playing the carbon devil. We openly plan to become carbon terrorists to the atmosphere of the world. Our elected representatives, who negotiated a real climate plan called C-30, have been silenced.
Count Canada out. We have joined the parade of climate wreckers. That is our official policy, announced by John Baird, the most persuasive, active, almost charismatic young environment minister in our history. The silver tongue that sank the Canadian dream of helping, not harming, the world.
For more [real] information about your climate, visit our free website, www.ecoshock.org
[end clip Elizabeth May]