Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Groundhog Day

Harper's off to the next G8 meeting prepared to embarrass Canada, yet again.

The prime minister will argue that major emitters of greenhouse gases like the United States, China and India must be part of any climate-change pact, Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Tuesday.

"At the end of the day, if we don't get an agreement where major emitters play a role in helping to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we're simply not making any progress," Soudas told journalists at a pre-summit briefing.

"In order to genuinely tackle climate change and to start seeing concrete results, we need to have major emitters on board. That includes countries like the United States, China and India."

The Bali conference wasn't a raving success to be sure, but in the end Canada did agree to the watered down commitment.

The Bali talks last year yielded an agreement that countries would strive for a new global climate-change treaty by the end of next year, covering the period after Kyoto's obligations expire in 2012.

So what's Harper doing? He's going backwards. It should be painfully clear by now that this government has absolutely no intention of doing anything even remotely constructive about the environment, yet how is his plan reported?

The Conservatives have pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020 through a tangle of regulatory measures, a cap-and-trade scheme, investments in green-technology funds and credits for companies that reduced their emissions before 2006. Key regulations will be tabled next fall, and will likely come into effect in 2010.

Critics charge the Tory plan is less stringent than the Kyoto targets since it uses 2006 as its baseline year, when emissions were higher than 1990 levels. Canada's emissions in 2006 were 721 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to 592 megatonnes in 1990.

No mention that the so called targets are intensity based and what that actually means. The comment, critics charge the Tory scheme is less stringent, is ridiculous at best and bias at worse. Critics don't 'charge', they state a fact. The scheme is less stringent, period. And who are the critics? They fail to mention that they include every credible person/group who speaks to the subject.

Meanwhile, Dion's plan that is widely praised by these same people, is derided at at every turn. I expect right wing columnists to write about the Green Shift from a narrow uninformed view, but when news stories are written on the environment, I expect an even hand. This article of course does not address the Green Shift, but Harper's plan just never seems to be scrutinized.

That said, this move by Harper will bring his views back to the fore, so let's watch how it is reported.

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