Did Fairness Lead Us Here?

One more day remains for negotiations at COP15 and the likelihood of breakthrough is now small.  The “fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty” many hoped for will most likely end up as a fragmented and ambiguous outcome.  I am left wondering about the political rationale that brought us here.

My country actually justified inaction on climate change as a matter of fairness. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said prior to Copenhagen that Canada cannot reduce emissions unless it is confident that developing countries will be making equal effort. Otherwise, Harper said, Canada faces economic risks that are just too high.

The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework explores the qualities of a fair agreement. According to the  Framework, a fair agreement is one in which countries reduce emissions according to their capacity and ability.  This ranks Canada as one of the most obligated countries to reduce emissions (in fact, for 2.7% of mitigation obligations worldwide by 2020).

A lot of rhetoric and diplomatic wordsmithing has been thrown around these past two weeks, but the most offensive in my view is the claim that Canada cannot lead out of fairness.



The Harper government position is that they’d like to help, truly, but their oil patch buddies are just making too much money. Besides, they just don’t care about your grandchildren - and they imagine that their own privileged descendants will be living in luxury behind the barricade. It’s all good.

So clever. I guess everyone who cares about the environment should drop out of any conversation regarding the future of the environment, because to do otherwise would involve travelling or using telephones (horrifyingly connected to the power grid). Yes, that makes a lot of sense. We’ll just retreat completely from the policymaking discussion, in a sincere effort to ensure that the resulting policies, though catastrophic, are unblemished by what you imply is hypocrisy. So clever.

That really is the catch 22. Have a 50,000 person carbon footprint for the elite while the paupers at home eat carbon credits. A 150 person delegation for Australia’s Rudd, this looks more like a junket for the NGO and government elites than an actual desire to reduce emissions. How many of those people are actually making a valuable impact on the negotiations, maybe less than 1%?

Harper and his Oilpatch buddies live on the same planet you do. If there was evidence and proof rather than just educated guesses regarding climate change you can bet everyone would be on board. Government knows this is not a sure thing as their actions speak louder than words. Remeber the article you guys posted yesterday about at 550 ppm target? If anyone believed in AGW and Jim hansens 350 ppm tipping point leaders would not be talking like that. The reality is that this is a political issue not one of science and has been highly exagerated.

“If there was evidence and proof rather than just educated guesses regarding climate change you can bet everyone would be on board.”

Maybe on your home planet Cam, but here on earth politicians tend to be a pretty shortsighted selfserving bunch. Especially Petro-State polititians like Harper.

Yes, it is so clever that you attack the oil patch, want the tar sands closed, yet you have no choice yourself to be tied to oil, just like everyone else.

None of your pet projects at EnergyBoom can happen without oil.