Posts Tagged ‘Canadian election and climate change’

Silence on Climate Change

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Well, this is probably not surprising, but it is discouraging. In the current campaign leading up to Canada’s May 2 Federal Election, no one is talking about climate change, or reducing Canada’s Carbon emissions.

Considering that Canada has close to the world’s highest per capita consumption and emission rates, you would think this is at least worth some discussion.

All three Canadian national political parties with any hope of electing anyone have published platforms that do in fact address the question.

The Conservative Party of course does not support any sort of carbon tax or cap-and-trade policy. Its clearest written statement is that it supports a reduction of 20% in absolute levels of emissions by 2020. Explicitly though, it intends to do only as much as US decides to do, and since no federal action to reduce emissions will occur in the US in the next six years, the Conservative Party currently just ignores the issue.

The Liberal Party also has little interest in any carbon tax system, but its platform statement does promote cap-and-trade, and it also proposes to reduce carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 1990. The same is true of the the New Democrat Party and its published platform.

These are quite strong statements to include in party platforms, yet we hear nothing from the party leaders or the local candidates. Politicians who should know better are afraid to say anything.

And it isn’t as if the Liberal or new Democrat Parties are about to win this election. They aren’t. What an opportunity this is then for the party leaders to speak up with courage and vision. What a missed opportunity.

Prime Minister Harper in 2020, on a poster prepared by Green Peace (there is also similar one of President Barack Obama)

The prospects of diminishing per capita emissions seem as poor in Canada as they do in the US. It is ‘Business As Usual’ – the one scenario among our various options described in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment certain to be a disaster.

Hope for action remains at the provincial and state level where efforts at cap-and-trade agreements continue between BC, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico. Called the Western Climate Alliance, California, British Columbia and Quebec expect a start date of 2012, with other states and provinces joining after it gets underway. Even with the conservative swing in states and provinces, some of this is likely to occur.

The Western Climate Alliance - members in green, observers in blue: a growing initiative, by-passing federal political parties (westernclimateinitiative.org)

But what do we hear from our national leaders? Nada. Rien. Silence. For the love of Canada, for the love of the planet, speak up.