To tell you the truth, I have not been keeping a close eye on what has been going on in Paris, France, over the last few weeks in terms of the world climate change agreement. I only know from what has been pumped out through the news media, and that has been mostly uninformative as far a details go. So, I have only my opinion to put forth, and it is extremely narrow, very Canadian and very non-academic.
My cartoon drawing of increased ocean levels due to melting ice from the Polar Caps. Where I live, I am only a few metres above sea level on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada.
First, yes, I am very happy that some sort of world agreement has been reached. I am not so happy that it has no teeth in terms of enforceability if a single country says they do not want to meet the emissions requirements set out in the world agreement. I guess the only option is to shame them to death, and everyone else picks up the slack on cutting back more on pollution. So it has no teeth, and a few bucks has been set aside to help poor polluting countries with their requirements. But, hey, it has been done! Power hug!
So where was Canada on this? Sure, with a freshly elected government (that seems to be a 180 degree from the old administration that was just kicked out) we seem to have a fresh face going into the Paris Climate Talks–but are we going to put our money where our mouth is?
Well, it appears, as a result of having a Federal Concentrative Government for nearly a decade, the onus is put on each Provence to choose how it will they will fight climate change. Now we will have mishmash of standards on output on Carbon and other types of pollutions, instead of a nationally regulated one, for keep everything in check. Fore example, if an energy rich region says that it wants to pump out more oil, then it is free to adjust its carbon output as it sees fit, forgetting about climate change emissions targets, and see it as a encumbrance.
My favourite argument regarding who has the right to create huge amounts of pollution starts like this: Because the rich countries have already made their wealth, and pumped out records amount of pollution in the process, then why not an emerging economy too? It is only fare that a countries like China, India be allowed to start their industrial revolutions by building more factories and utilising their cheaper labour for exports to already rich counties like Canada. Do countries like the United States have the right to tell emerging countries to stop, slow down, or create costly systems that reduce pollution for the same output, but eats away at a company’s bottom-line? I really do not see anyone officially arguing that point home publicly on the news, other than saying, “you shouldn’t do it.”
Canada is a resource based economy. We make very little versus our resources that we mine, pump and extract out of the ground. We have a lot of land mass, and really, it is easer to sell raw iron, then it is to make nuts and bolts, at our labour costs. But extracting all that stuff, you need energy, and that makes pollution, and combined, has huge environmental side effects. Yes, we are a world player in pollution too.
Greed, like everywhere else, is common, and has the power to knock down Environmental Laws. Just look at Canada over the last decade. All this “agreeing” could get turned around again, and Climate Change will just be a side effect of getting richer. This is where I loose hope in the future as many Canadians voted for a government that was pro Big Oil and soft on the environment during the last nine years.
So, it is a good thing that Canada has had a change in government, and now this government has at least showed some initiative on fighting climate change. I guess the real sticking point will be if Canada latches on and holds true to this commitment, follows through and meets its objective of lowering and limits carbon out put within the time frame. I guess time will tell