Saturday, December 22, 2007

From a Prairie Home Companion in the Oil Patch capital of Canada

Our illustrious Environment Minister, John Baird, has just returned with his tail between his legs from Bali, having been pilloried with a "Fossil of The Day" award at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. And... so far the silence from the two Conservative Provincial Governments of both Alberta and Saskatchewan was, as expected, deafening.

I suspect they too refuse to make false promises they know they cannot keep!

As the Globe and Mail editor in chief, Edward Greenspon so eloquently wrote in the Dec 18th 2007 newspaper article on page A16, "Efforts to fight climate change cannot possibly succeed without strong committments from major polluters such as China and India. Those countries have still not been forced to set binding targets, but they have begun to accept more responsibility, and it is unlikely that would have occurred without pressure from Canada and other nations.

Mr Baird's claim was that Canada can play a bridge building role between the two sides. No doubt the Conservatives have taken a major public-opinion hit for their short sighted approach.

It does not help that the former Prime Minister, Jean Crétien, has been running around blaming his successors for the failure to meet the Kyoto targets, neglecting to mention that they have been saddled with the mess he left behind."

Why is it that we, the people, ever trust our elected politicians to do the "right thing" and follow up urgently on such vital international negotiations by achieving measurable results at home?

Developing a comprehensive "roadmap" by the end of 2009 is now a call for us active and inactive individuals on the Canadian Prairies to play our part in climate change activities in our home towns and cities. It also begs the obvious question of how is that going to be possible to Save Our Prairies in any part of North America without a long overdue regime change occuring in our neighbour's White House!

Since the USA has never signed on to the Kyoto Agreement with Canada now faltering in that regard, are we, the two leading members of NAFTA, not by far the worst global polluters?

I also wonder if the task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by between 38% and 53% (this was the majority of the Bali Conference members numbers on emission reduction strategy) is not a far more personal rather than a governmental choice anyway!

Let us all do our level best to reduce our carbon footprint during this festive season.

David from Calgary

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