Sunday, December 02, 2007

Is Stephen Harper trying to derail the international fight against global warming?

At this time last year Stephen Harper was a global warming/climate change denier. He did not equivocate, he believed it did not exist. In fact, during his end-of-year interviews he used that lovely phrase "so called global warming". All of that changed when polls showed Canadians did believe in it and they indicated that it was the most important issue to them. Suddenly Mr. Harper was a believer.

Of course, that is not the case. He is still a denier and his actions and the actions of his government over the last 9 months have proven that. It has become politically expedient to believe and his government is not one to let principle trump expediency.

So with this in mind what are we to make of Mr. Harper's strategy of demanding developing countries be treated as equals in any agreement to reduce ghg emissions?

Let us look at India and Canada.

Currently India's annual ghg output is 1343 megatonnes. Canada's output is 639 megatonnes.

Worked out as a function of total population India produces 1.1 tonnes of ghg for every man, woman and child on the subcontinent. For Canada it works out to 20 tonnes.

Looking at those numbers it is obvious that India is nowhere near Canada's equal in the ghg emissions. Indeed, it demonstrates just how much of a laggard Canada is in the fight to reduce ghg emissions.

India is a developing country that is still developing its industrial base. Canada is a developed country with a well established industrial base. For India to reduce its ghg emissions by any sigificant amount it would have to stop or even reverse its industrialization. In other words it would have to stop or reverse its development.

Of course, any demand by the developed world to that effect would be soundly rejected by India and the rest of the developing world possibly leading to a breakdown in the global effort to fight global warming/climate change. Does Stephen Harper know this? Is this his ultimate goal in demanding the developing world be treated as equals in the fight to reduce ghg emissions?

For a denier like himself, who has lost the argument about the need to fight global warming, derailing the global effort to fight it would get the job done. The belief in global warming would not be reduced but he could claim that Canada cannot fight it alone and such a message would probably resonate with Canadians.

I do not believe he is that clever. I believe he has chosen that approach because on its face it sounds reasonable. That is the MO of this government. Put forward ideas that sound good on the surface but do not stand up under close scrutiny.

However, could he still inadvertenly derail the process? Thankfully, the answer is no. With the exceptions of Canada and the United States the rest of the developed world is committed to reducing ghg emissions and fighting global warming. They are acknowledging that it was the developed world that created this problem and that they are going to have to provide leadership in solving it. They will be able to keep the process going until George Bush is finally thrown into the dustbin of history and Stephen Harper is forced by circumstances to finally join the rest of the developed world or he is replaced by someone who is a believer of global warming.

So I expect the Bali conference will end with the planet marking time in finding a new agreement on fighting global warming. The process will not be advanced but it will not be damaged either.


Blogger Johnathon said...

Canada is only responsible for 2 % of global emmissions.




Grow up idiot.

December 02, 2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


I do not respond to your kind of bullshit.

If you want to argue a point of view go right ahead but shout and spew your invective somewhere else.

December 02, 2007 12:23 PM  
Blogger wilson said...

Australia's new PM, Rudd, promised he will sign on to the original Kyoto, as Australia is within 1% of the target, however, he will NOT sign a post Kyoto 2012 agreemnt unless ALL large emitters sign. Same position as Canada.
Japan, same postion as Canada
Singling out Canada as the de-railer is wrong.
Singling out Canada as the country that is negotiationg on behalf of those nations with the 'ALL countries must sign, or continued failure is the reult', is correct.

December 02, 2007 12:44 PM  
Blogger Magus1290 said...

That's a terrible position to take.

If you believe that global warming is caused by the rising levels of CO2 ( and other GHG ) in the atmosphere, then the provenance of the GHG doesn't really matter.

Canada is in a very good position to play a leading role. Canada is already one of the worst countries in terms of GHG emissions per capita, and as such is probably in a better position than most to reduce them to levels of other major industrialized countries ( like France or Germany )

But it is disingenuous to say that the developing cannot be part of the problem. If any commitment to reduce GHG by Canada is simply erased by India and China's GHG emission gains, even thought they are simply trying to achieve a per-capita emission similar to the developed world, they are aggravating the problem of Global warming.

In this case, the Kyoto protocol simply becomes a vehicle to redistribute GHG emissions around the world, thus affirming the "Right" that Kyoto is some vast socialist scheme to redistribute wealth.

Harpers position is disingenuous in that his own government hasn't
committed any "real" or identifiable action or goals towards fighting climate change when he is in a position to do so. The same can be said of previous Liberal governments. Canada has to take a leading role, and is in a position to do so.

The world is waiting...

December 02, 2007 12:48 PM  
Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

SHarper is still a global warming denier, he's just learned to keep his trap shut about it. He can't come right out and refuse to do anything about it, even George w. Bush can't do that. What he can do is to achieve the same practical ends by thwarting any efforts to obtain a meaningful consensus on effective, remedial action. So long as SHarper flatly rejects carbon caps, he's a global warming denier. So long as he lauds "intensity-based" targets, SHarper is a global warming denier. In this case you don't need to gauge him by his words, his deeds give the full measure of this man.

December 02, 2007 1:09 PM  
Blogger wilson said...

Dion was in both the Chretien and Martin governements.
Yes, they signed on to Kyoto, and watched Canada's ghg's rise to 33% over targets.
And yes, Dion is again pushing to sign an agreement that binds only 1/3 of the earth's nations.

Dion and the previous Liberal government may as well have been 'deniers' for all the good they did,
by signing Kyoto and than expecting Rick Mercer to get the job done for them.

Kyoto is a failure because for every effort signator countries made/acheived, China fired up a coal burner and negated their good actions/intentions.

Developing nations were given a pass in 1993, in 2012, no pass!
The technology is available so as they do not have to make a mess of our environment like the developed countries did for the past 50 years.
20 years for China, India etc to see the writting on the wall, is enough.

The US will sign on if the targets are acheivable (by the way, US ghg's increased half that of Canada's since we signed Kyoto and they didn't)
ALL countries should to commit to acheivable targets, nothing more, nothing less.

December 02, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...

O.K, I'll be polite.

Why should CANADIANS be concerned about 2%?

Shouldn't we be more worried about the other 98%?

I can't wait to see how you answer this one.

December 02, 2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Ok Jonathon, it is just 2% but Canada has been spewing increasing amounts of this stuff into the atmosphere for a century. The same is true for the rest of the industrialized world. China and India, the two bogeymen of the Conservatives, only began doing so in the last 30 years.

In other words it is the industrialized world that has created this problem so the onus falls upon them to lead in resolving it.

Those who oppose action on reducing ghg emissions complain most vociferously about the cost to the Canadian economy. So just imagine what the cost would be for a country that is still developing.

Demanding the developing world reach the same binding targets as the developed world at this point is a recipe for failure. The developing world just does not have the economic capacity to absorb the costs and they will not accept those targets. The developed world does. They should be leading and Canada as a respected member of that club should be doing its part, regardless of the percentage of ghg emissions it produces.

December 02, 2007 5:10 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...

The founder of the Weather Network in the USA has called GLOBAL WARMING THE GREATEST MEDIA SCAM IN HISTORY.

Of course this didn't make the liberal MSM.

I respect your opinion.

However I have another question for you.

The world is billions of years old.

How can anyone, including yourself, claim to know how the earth cycles?

Now when you answer the question, don't call me a 'denier'.

Answer the question without leftist rhetoric.

I'll repeat the question for you.

"Since the world is billions of years old, how can anyone(scientist or Stephane Dion) say they have 100% evidence that global warming is true?

December 02, 2007 6:21 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...

Here is another fact oyu might not like.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of climate change alarmists has been the notion that as the earth warmed and the climate changed, people would begin to die in droves because of weather-related disasters.

"Instead, the weather has become far less a danger over the years and decades:"

Green scientists have been accused of overstating the dangers of climate change by researchers who found that the number of people killed each year by weather-related disasters is falling.

Their report suggests that a central plank in the global warming argument – that it will result in a big increase in deaths from weather-related disasters – is undermined by the facts. It shows deaths in such disasters peaked in the 1920s and have been declining ever since.

Average annual deaths from weather-related events in the period 1990-2006 – considered by scientists to be when global warming has been most intense – were down by 87% on the 1900-89 average. The mortality rate from catastrophes, measured in deaths per million people, dropped by 93%.

Here is the link for you.

When you read this article, it not only proves your naive, but that your global warming BS is just that.

You have no evidence to back up your myth.


December 02, 2007 6:37 PM  
Blogger Dante said...

If you credit population as a determinant of pollution targets, why not credit carbon sinks aka forests etc. as well? After crediting the amount of Carbon Canada absorbs, it's likely that we more than offset our share.

Overpopulation should not be a mitigating factor to national responsibility.

December 02, 2007 6:44 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

What do you know that the UN panel on climate change does not know?

Do you not think in putting together all of their reports that they did not take into account the natural cycle of the planet?

Did you not think that they took into account the cycles of the Sun in their analysis?

Do you not think they looked at every contingency before reaching their conclusions?

It is often difficult to get one or two scientists to agree to something. It is much more difficult to get 3000 of them to do so. Yet that is what we have.

You can dismiss it all you like but there was alot of diverse brain power brought to bear on this issue and it came to a strong consensus on the existance of global warming and its causes.

When those who do not believe in global warming can come up with a comparable group of scientists to prove global warming does not exist then I will take another look at the issue.

But for me the argument is over. Those who deny the existance of global warming and its causes lost and it in now time to move on to how we can mitigate the effects and eventually reverse it.

As for its effects on the planet and those living on it, I would remind you that the Earth does not adjust well to sudden change. Just ask the dinosaurs.

The last Ice Age took 20000 years to reach its peak and stayed there for 10000 years. It ended suddenly and caused the extinction of countless species such as the Mammoth, Sabre Toothed Tiger and such.

The temperature change that ended the Ice Age was not very big. Just 4 or 5 degress.

If you take the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and fast forward to the present the temperature change is about 2 degrees. In other words we are half-way to the temperature change that ended the last Ice Age and caused the mass extinction of animal species that had roamed the Earth for millions of years.

The period between the Industrial Revolution and the present may seem long but it is a mere eye blink in evolutionary time and the animals and plants will be supremely challenged to adjust to that sudden change and that includes the species of mammal that is capable of sitting at a computer debating whether global warming is real.

December 02, 2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


The Kyoto Protocol does give credit for carbon sinks. I was working for the Chretien government when the Protocol was negotiated and I remember the fight the government put up to maximise those credits. Unfortunately, those credits do not cancel out our ghg emissions.

Population is not a mitigating factor but the level of development is.

Consider that each person has a carbon footprint regardless of how we live. It does not matter if you live in a modern dwelling with all of the amenities or you live in a cave. You are going to produce carbon. In fact the human species permanently increased its carbon footprint when it discovered how to make fire.

So the question is what would be the minimum carbon footprint for survival? Set aside luxuries. What is the minimum just to live from day-to-day?

I do not know the answer but I believe I can safely say that the people of India are much closer to it than the people of Canada. Therefore Canadians can better afford to take the steps to reduce their carbon footprint than Indians. The suffering of Canadians would be much less than that of Indians or other people living in developing countries. Remember, many people in those countries still do not have access to clean drinking water and electricity.

So while many Canadians may have to give up SUVs and spend a little bit of money to reduce their carbon footprint they will not have to worry about their very survival or about how to escape crushing poverty.

December 02, 2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...

You asked the following question.

"Do you not think in putting together all of their reports that they did not take into account the natural cycle of the planet?"

Sorry buddy, but if the scientists were not here to witness the cycle, HOW THE HELL DO THEY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?

As for the 3000 scientists who agree, there are 3000 who don't.

No-one knows what happened in the world millions of years ago.

If you think they do, your living in a dream world.

December 02, 2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger Johnathon said...

Here is another fact you won't like.

FACT There are nearly 18,000 signatures from scientists worldwide on a petition called The Oregon Petition which says that there is no evidence for man-made global warming theory nor for any impact from mankind's activities on climate.
Many scientists believe that the Kyoto agreement is a total waste of time and one of the biggest political scams ever perpetrated on the public ... as H L Mencken said "the fundamental aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" ... the desire to save the world usually fronts a desire to rule it.

18000 scientists CALL GLOBAL WARMING A MYTH.

And you think it's true because poor governments want to make money through carbon credits.

Wake up and listen to the 18000 scientists who disagree with your rhetoric.

December 02, 2007 9:58 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


Really, then why are those 18,000 scientists not howling from the rooftops and demonstrating their work for the whole world?

Why are they keeping silent?

If they have evidence to refute the conclusions of the UN scientific committee then by all means put it out there.

Anyway Jonathon, as I said before the argument is over and you and people like lost so you can STOP SHOUTING and accept it.

A few months ago I stated this debate looks very much like the one that surrounded the tobacco-causes-cancer conclusion. After the scientific community found proof linking the two the tobacco industry tried to refute it. They trotted out all sorts of scientific studies that managed to muddy the waters for a time. However, all of those studies were eventually refuted and the link became accepted reality to go along with the fact it is true reality.

We have already crossed that threshold with the global warming debate, although as you and Mr. Harper demonstrate there are still some holdouts.

As for the scientists not being there to witness the cycle the same applies to the ones you cited. If the 3000 who say global warming is happening and it is being caused by humans cannot speak with authority because they did not witness the cycle then the same can be said of those 18000 who you mention. So we have ourselves a circular argument with no way to get out of it.

And we do know what happened to the world millions of years ago. There are several sciences devoted to looking into the pre-historic eras of our planet and they have done a pretty good job figuring out what happened. Indeed, science is in the business of figuring out things that most of us will never witness.

December 02, 2007 10:25 PM  
Blogger knb said...

Off Topic...just a drop in to wish you a Merry Christmas.

I want you to know that I appreciate your blog and comments.

If you do not celebrate Christmas, then I wish you all the best for 2008.

December 24, 2007 6:48 PM  
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