Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Put Up Or Shut Up

Everytime I write an environmental post, or read someone else's, invariably some Conservative asshat drives by and brings the requisite Tory line. Kyoto is a flawed process, Energuide was inefficient, emissions rose under the Liberals, the Chinese are building 100 coal-fired generators, Canada will kill it's economy while accomplishing little, blah, blah, blahbladdy, blah. Never, and I mean never does any apologist offer an alternative, it's just pure negativity.

I like to deal in relativities. Were all existing initiatives a complete success, that don't require improvement? Absolutely not, we need to see exponential progress. However, when you compare where we were to this embarrassing sideshow, accompanied by laughable legislation, it starts to look like environmental utopia- that is how bad this government has performed.

We are entering year-two, and the Kyoto haters still don't have an alternative. What happened to "made in Canada"? I want the apologists to sprinkle some ideas into the conversation, in other words put up or shut up. You don't get to blame and criticize for eternity. You don't get to twist everything so it fits into an outdated ideology. I tire of dodge and weave, and thankfully so are the vast majority of Canadians.

13 comments:

lance said...

Guess I'll qualify as the "Conservative asshat".

Being a believer in relativities, you would place more weight on cyclical warming vs. anthropogenic than you do.

You also wouldn't attribute the 2% of Canada's GHG to _global_ warming.

What I read as your real meaning is that your conclusions are based in subjectivity, perhaps even politics? (But no, we all believe in science here.)

If all things were relative, the West in general and Saskatchewan in particular, wouldn't be experiencing a "traditional" blizzard today.

Cheers,
lance

Steve V said...

"If all things were relative, the West in general and Saskatchewan in particular, wouldn't be experiencing a "traditional" blizzard today."

You qualify :)

Robert said...

Steve, you could say that the Conservative environmental policy pretty much amounts to one big drive by smear, and nothing else (actually, I guess you did in so many words...)

I guess that Lance misses the point that with the International Kyoto accord, Canada played a key leadership role that went beyond correcting our 2%, and which has now been abdicated.

Steve V said...

Hi Robert

What I don't understand, when you say 2% that doesn't give you a pass to do nothing. If you want to have some influence on the big polluters, then you need to set an example. If Canada becomes truly innovative, then it has leverage to demand that Chinese goods come with some environmental standards, much like labor. Canada isn't helpless, Harper is missing an opportunity to "put Canada on the map", something he seems to be pre-occupied with.

Robert said...

I couldn't agree more. On the bright side, maybe this will be the issue that spells the downfall of the Harper govt.

Olaf said...

Steve,

I have a big problem with people who think that Kyoto is the one and only path to progress, you'd swear it was bequeathed by God. I know you hate the "negativity", but that doesn't make some of the criticisms less salient.

I'm a firm believer that Kyoto is a flawed process, and it's because I believe in the global warming science and believe that something has to be done ASAP that I ignore the treaty as a political instrument with the weight and reverence to set the whole process back another year (at least), if parliament can't compromise.

Kyoto the protocol won't help our environment, the GHG reductions will. Whether or not they meet the arbitrary Kyoto targets is irrelevant. The point is to reduce emissions as much as is possible without hurting the economy to the degree where the government loses the support of the Canadian population.

Layton has some great ideas, Dion has some great ideas, May has some great ideas. Admittedly, the Conservatives are not exactly trend setters on the file, and so hopefully they are able to accept the best ideas of the opposition parties and craft it into a coherent strategy.

The point isn't "will they or won't they meet Kyoto", as if those arbitrary targets in an of themselves will determine how successful we are at improving our environmental record.

We are entering year-two, and the Kyoto haters still don't have an alternative.

This is the point: you're suggesting that "Kyoto" is an option, to which alternatives must be posed. Even Layton's plan won't reach the targets, even though he's demanding compliance in exchange for his approval. Seriously, how fucked is that? Kyoto isn't anything in itself other than a political instrument to be exploited by Layton (and, to a lesser degree, Dion).

As of now, I do not think that our immediate targets are reachable. Indeed, most have resigned themselves to this fact. The less time we waste playing a game of brinksmanship for political benefit, the sooner we can make progress.

So, call me a Kyoto skeptic, or an "apologist" if you want. But I'll remind you I did a post on the importance of nuclear energy, and one supporting carbon taxes. Those are alternatives to the Liberals plans, no?

By the way, what set this post off? You seem more than slightly frustrated. Was there a particularly ignorant post/article that really got under your bonnet or what? I bet it was a doozy.

greyburr said...

Someone explain to me how purchasing carbon credits does anything for the environment.Since the reciprient of the moneys used to purchase said credits do not have to put it back into environment cleanup ,they could use it for military items etc.Then the purchasing country could just use credits as a cost of doing bussiness as seems to be the plan in Canadas past government.
Now before someone jumps all over my derriere over this I just want to say that I hear Koyoto this ,Y2koyoto that and I sincerely do not understand what this pact entails.Someone please enlighten me without the partisian bs.

Olaf said...

Greyburr,

I think that's just the thing. Buying credits from countries that are under developed does nothing for the environment at all (GHG emissions don't go down), and can result in transferring cash to less than friendly governments (eg. Russia) who may use that money for nefarious purposes.

These are reasonable criticisms of Kyoto, which people gloss over as they worship the treaty. They're not saying that we should do nothing (or, at least, they shouldn't be saying this), they're just saying that there are ways outside of that blessed protocol.

rabbit said...

The theory is that by requiring carbon credits to pump out CO2, you internalize the harm. What's more it does so in an economically efficient manner,

Companies don't like to have to buy carbon credits. It ties up their capital. Thus they have a financial incentive to reduce the CO2 they generate.

Carbon credits make sense to me. If you want to force big, evil capitalists to reduce CO2, hit 'em in the pocket book. That's where they are truly sensitive.

Whether it works so well in practise, I dunno.

Steve V said...

olaf

I don't think Kyoto is the holy grail, far from it- that's what I meant by "exponential progress". Having said that, the Kyoto process is evolving, and instead of undermining, which is exactly what Ambrose did we should try and make international agreements more effective.

What "set me off" was the criticism of the Energuide program in my last post. Say what you what, but the program was producing real results, but apparently the Tory partisans are more interested in defending the leader. What is unacceptable, cutting a program before you have a parallel course in mind. Cutting, with no alternative, is an objective net negative, all the more staggering considering our desperate predicament.

Olaf, I don't include you in the apologist crowd, because you have been fair in your critiques of the government. This post is just a rant :)

Erik Abbink said...

Some ideas about Olaf's comments:


Kyoto the protocol won't help our environment, the GHG reductions will.

Who forgot to tell Olaf Kyoto deals with GHG reductions?

The point is to reduce emissions as much as is possible without hurting the economy to the degree where the government loses the support of the Canadian population.

Kyoto is perfect for that. Currently Canadians support Kyoto. It's up to the Conservatives to support the will of the Canadian people and come up with a plan to make Kyoto work. Other political parties think that Kyoto is right for CanadaIf CPoC thinks it can't implement the protocol, then its time for a new government.

This is the point: you're suggesting that "Kyoto" is an option, to which alternatives must be posed.

It is THE option for the future of this planet. Steve V is right, as long as you guys don't come with a better solution to seriously deal with the environment, you better put up or shut up.

Kyoto isn't anything in itself other than a political instrument to be exploited by Layton (and, to a lesser degree, Dion).

Layton will benefit, for sure. But is it time to be jealous (of NDP/Dion bargaining position) or time to act(and move on with the only real option: Kyoto)? the CPoC better pick the right answer; any outcome will have serious consequences.

Seriously, how fucked is that?
Are you new to politics or just a party hack?

So, call me a Kyoto skeptic, or an "apologist" if you want.

I do agree with this; if you don't believe in Kyoto, don't go ahead with it.

Let others rule.

The world wants Kyoto, and, more importantly, needs it.

Conservatives, step aside.

Olaf said...

Erik,

Who forgot to tell Olaf Kyoto deals with GHG reductions?

The point I was making was that it isn't the signing of a piece of paper which helps the environment, but the actual GHG reductions that take place (and can take place - this may come as a shock to you - even without the signing of a piece of paper in a Japanese city).

True to wit: it wasn't the Kyoto protocol which made the government act (they failed to for years and years following), nor was it the international community, but the pressure of the CANADIAN population that has brought this issue to a head. If you can explain to me what this has to do with an international treaty that the majority of Canadians don't understand, I'd like to hear it.

Kyoto is perfect for that. Currently Canadians support Kyoto.

Canadians support the idea of Kyoto: its and environmentally friendly, internationally cooperative agreement, nothing could be fina for a Canadian! However, Canadians have not had to sacrifice ONE BIT, because nothing has been done yet. The key will be to get Canadians to sacrifice as much as they're willing to sacrifice without revolting against their newfound environmentalism, when people start losing jobs.

It is THE option for the future of this planet. Steve V is right, as long as you guys don't come with a better solution to seriously deal with the environment, you better put up or shut up.

What's wrong with you? Kyoto isn't "THE option", or we wouldn't be having this debate right now, our earth would be doing just fine. If it's THE option, why are we having all these apocalyptic predictions 13 years after it's been signed? So long as each state is willing to a) not sign Kyoto, or b) completely ignore it, as we've done, it will be upto individual countries and their citizens to force change on governments, industry and themselves.

Are you new to politics or just a party hack?

Both! And who are you again?

greyburr said...

Thanks OLAF,reading the banter of the comments I have a better understanding.The comments about actually loosing jobs to implement this political accord will be the true test of committment.I believe I have read that the EU countrys are now facing that idealistic reality and are looking at other options.