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Canada – the “Colossal Fossil”

Oh, Canada. What’s going on? We’ve been bestowed with the ‘honour’ of environmental groups’ most dubious award – the “Colossal Fossil” at Copenhagen 2009.

The groups say Canada’s target for reducing its greenhouse gases is “among the worst in the industrialized world” and its plan to reach its goal is “so weak that it would put even that target out of reach,” reports the Canadian Press.

Ouch. That stings a bit, since Canada is supposed to have a reputation that loves and cares for the big, green, great outdoors. Somewhere, something’s gone a bit wrong….

Check out the article by Paul Sullivan in Metro last week. It sums things up pretty nicely:

When Stephen Harper arrives at the Copenhagen climate conference next week, here’s hoping security is better than it was Monday when Greenpeace managed to crawl all over the Parliament Buildings unmolested.

Good thing Greenpeace is not a terrorist organization.

The real bad boy, say environmentalists, is Canada itself. Traditionally boring at worst, we have somehow acquired the status of rogue nation, like Iran. And if you think I exaggerate, here’s Guardian columnist and climate crusader George Monbiot:

“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.”

Huh?

Monbiot is shocked and appalled by Alberta’s oil sands and it makes him say inflammatory things: “So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petrostate.”

“Corrupt petrostate” may be a bit harsh, but we are the only signatory to the Kyoto accord to abandon our commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, says Monbiot, we’ve actually increased by 26 per cent. The climate change performance index ranks Canada 59 out of 60, just ahead of last-placed Saudi Arabia, that green paragon.

Until recently, Mr. Harper was blithely indifferent to all this climate change nonsense, and wasn’t planning to show up at Copenhagen. Maybe he’s tired of being treated like the Kim Il Jong of climate change, and doesn’t want Canada declared Fossil of the Year for the third year in a row by the international environmental movement. Three-peat!

I suspect it’s about what it’s always about, the polls: 64 per cent of Canadians say rich nations have a responsibility to commit to tougher targets than developing countries. And Harper’s plan to march lockstep with the Americans on climate has fallen flat as 81 per cent say Canada should act independently of the US.

So Harper’s commitment to stay the corrupt petrostate course is causing him grief wherever humans breathe the air. He’ll have to watch out for flying shoes and cream pies in Copenhagen. But that’s all he’s likely to do, as being a corrupt petrostate has its advantages, especially when the economic outlook is frostier than the weather forecast.

Meanwhile, the UN says this decade will likely be the warmest on record and as the ice melts, the oceans are rising 80 per cent higher than its 2001 forecast.

Good time to tread water, eh?

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