Until now I believed that the nation that has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.
That’s one of many scathing passages in George Monbiot’s recent article Canada’s image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling. Ouch!
How bad is Canada behaving? Try worse than Saudi Arabia. Smack!
After giving the finger to Kyoto, Canada then set out to prevent the other nations striking a successor agreement. At the end of 2007, it singlehandedly blocked a Commonwealth resolution to support binding targets for industrialised nations. After the climate talks in Poland in December 2008, it won the Fossil of the Year award, presented by environmental groups to the country that had done most to disrupt the talks. The climate change performance index, which assesses the efforts of the world’s 60 richest nations, was published in the same month. Saudi Arabia came 60th. Canada came 59th.
They not only sound worse than Saudi Arabia but they sound a lot like W. Baaam!
In June this year the media obtained Canadian briefing documents which showed the government was scheming to divide the Europeans. During the meeting in Bangkok in October, almost the entire developing world bloc walked out when the Canadian delegate was speaking, as they were so revolted by his bullying. Last week the Commonwealth heads of government battled for hours (and eventually won) against Canada’s obstructions. A concerted campaign has now begun to expel Canada from the Commonwealth.
The apparent reason for the madness are the vast western tar sands, a mommoth repository of oil. As Monbiot describes it:
It’s actually a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals. The tar sands, most of which occur in Alberta, are being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth. An area the size of England…
Tar sands are pernicious. Zaap!
Refining tar sands requires two to three times as much energy as refining crude oil. The companies exploiting them burn enough natural gas to heat six million homes. Alberta’s tar sands operation is the world’s biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions.
And while us piggy Americans may find some joy in Canada being called out as the piggiest – we must acknowledge that, of course like the drug wars of Mexico and our drug consumption driving it, the tar sands north of the border, are undoubtedly here to serve America’s unquenchable thirst for oil.
And lest we worry about there not being willing investors for this ghg emissions barn burner, none other than our folk heroes Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have shown growing interest – saying “Wow, this is neat.”
I can’t help but make the side note that it’s no coincidence that Gates and Buffett are also being feed the same horseshit dished out via SuperFreakonomics by Nathan Myrhvold, former Microsoft executive, polymath, and purveyor of climate science (dystopian) fantasies. But I digress.
Monbiot concludes with astonished perplexity.
It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?