Friday, December 07, 2007

We used to be better than this

Ho hum. Another major climate change summit, more prevaricating, and more embarrassing Canadian inaction (or, worse, negative action).
At the Bali conference, long-term US foot-dragging has dragged down Canada and Japan, which seem to have joined together in an unholy trinity of nay-sayers, arguing that local economics takes precedence over international ecology. If it is going to cost us money then, sorry, we can't do it.
I have this nasty suspicion that the rest of the world probably thinks that this is representative of the views of the general population. Certainly, any kudos Canada might have had as a force for good in the field of the environment (although in reality it is some years now since we have deserved any such kudos) is now well and truly shot.
As usual, the main excuse for inaction is the old one of "Well, if China and India are not committed to anything, then why should we? So nyer!" Is there then no place any more for principle, for doing the right thing, for leading by example? If we don't sign on, how can we expect China and India to? If we wait until everyone is on board, the ship will be long sunk.
I am no great fan of Kyoto, but for now it's all we have, a symbolic first step in the right direction. No-one, including me, will believe us if we say that we will break our commitment to Kyoto, but then do more later, and why should they?
Neither can we wait until some miraculous deal is struck which meets all the Tories' conditions (if that will ever happen) before starting to think about what needs to be done to achieve it. By then, still more time will have passed, and the task will be all the more difficult.
It's long past time for some serious action on the issue, whatever protocols are signed or not signed by whoever. If necessary (and it would be), we pay for the carbon credits we need to get through Kyoto, and let that be a lesson to us.
But enough already of this whining and foot-dragging. We used to be better than this.