Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Position of the Conservative Party-led Canadian Government on Climate Change

We refuse to give up our second cars until the world's poor countries agree not to buy a first car.

I'm sure future generations will look back with gratitude towards the Canadian government's efforts to block any action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kevin goes into more detail on the truly unjust and immoral nature of this stance.

I tried to put some of the various arguments for doing nothing in simpler terms, back here.

And I included a chart on per capital emissions back here.

One thing Kevin says that I don't agree with is that if Canada makes cuts to GHG emissions, these could be swamped by increases from other countries. Regardless of what other people/countries do, the impact of Canadian action is the same. If we cut our total emissions by 1MM tons, then emissions will be 1MM tons lower, whether total emissions have gone up or not. Given that we don't know the relative sensitivity of the climate at different levels of emissions it's hard to say that our 1MM cut will make more or less difference. It's possible that cuts by Canada might be even more important if emissions by other nations are higher as the climate may be pushed closer to various potential tipping points.

I guess you could make an argument that it's unfair for us to make cuts when others don't, but when you consider how much more each one of us emits than people with an income one tenth of ours do, making this case is akin to playing your stereo 10 times louder than your neighbour and then arguing that it's unfair for you have to turn yours down, if your neighbour doesn't turn theirs down too.


  • Like you, I disagree strongly with people who justify inaction with the fact that our reduction our modest in comparison to the net increase in emissions. None the less, our reductions are very modest when compared to increases made by countries like China and India.

    From a climate change perspective it doesn't matter where the emissions come from. So, it really makes a lot of sense to make investments that produce the greatest impact in net reductions.

    This is why I think the "the role of West is not just to build one more wind farm." We do have to reduce our per capita emissions but we need to do more than that. We need to be developing sustainable technology and making it as widely available as possible.

    By Blogger KevinG, at 8:01 AM  

  • No argument here. In the long run, it will be the technological advancements we make while trying to achieve reductions that make the difference, if anything does.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:17 PM  

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