Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Poor old Rona Ambrose!

Poor old Rona Ambrose!
Any non-Canadians will not have a clue what I am talking about, but the average Canadian will know that Rona Ambrose is our beleaguered Environment Minister, the one with the hair.
But wait, what am I saying? Poor Rona Ambrose? Whatever you think about her hair, the woman is a dope, either on her own account, or for blindly following the Conservative government's befuddled energy policies. What she is doing as Environment Minister, or even as an MP for that matter, I have no idea, as she is hopelessly lost and at sea, and apparently not even good at playing the kind of games politicians have to play.
So, it came as little surprise when she was totally upstaged at the current Nairobi climate talks by two other Canadian MPs who publicly and openly mocked her and her policies. Childish and inappropriate behaviour? Possibly, in the same way as the recent mocking of her hair by environmental organizations was childish and inappropriate (childish and inapproproate but not sexist, by the way, as some have claimed).
But it is important that the world understands that her views (and Stephen Harper's) on the subject do not reflect Canadian public opinion. Despite our horrible record on energy use, Canadians are concerned, and they are, in general, responsible world citizens who want to do the right thing. We are just lacking, and have been for years, firm and responsible leadership on the issue.
Ms. Ambrose (and Stephen Harper's Conservative government: she is not acting alone) has single-handedly decimated any environmental kudos Canada might ever have had. The preceding Liberal government were far from environmentally conscious, and presided over a 27% increase in greenhouse emissions since 1990 rather than the 6% decrease committed to when the Kyoto accord was signed.
But to come out and blandly say that Canada's Kyoto goals are just impossible and therefore will not be pursued is totally unacceptable. If we have obligations, then we should stick by them. The smoke screen of the Conservatives' proposed Clean Air Act, which claims to achieve smaller reductions and over a longer time frame (and that's if you believe the claims), are equally unacceptable.
And all this comes within a week or two of several stark warnings on the effects of climate change in the Stern Review, the GermanWatch Climate Change Performance Index (which puts Canada at No 51 out of 56!), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change report on rising emission trends, and the World Meteorological Organization's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin which shows greenhouse gases at a record high, and rising). It is increasingly clear that the Kyoto targets are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the cuts and lifestyle changes we need to make are actually much greater.
God, how depressing...

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