Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Canada now has another climate change pledge to ignore

I suppose I have to register the supposedly landmark pledge by the G7 group of top industrialized nations to cease burning fossil fuels by the end of the century (yes, some 85 years from now). Hidden deeper in the communiqué is an official recognition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s finding that, to keep the global average temperature increase to just 2°C, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by the “upper end” of a range of 40%-70% by 2050 (as compared with 2010 levels).
So, the word "decarbonization" has finally been uttered by some people with real power. But the statement, much watered-down and de-focussed from Angela Merkel's initial proposal, largely though the machinations of Canada and Japan, is hopelessly vague, non-binding and distant. Each country can put its own interpretation on whether the goal is to be achieved closer to 2050 or to 2100, or even whether to actively pursue the matter at all.
It's also pretty clear that hardly anyone expects Stephen Harper - who did his level best to steer the discussion away from climate change and back towards Russia and Ukraine, and only went along with the final communiqué in order not to appear totally isolated - to actually take the commitment seriously. Predictably, a Canadian government official was at pains to point out after the meeting that Canada sees this pledge as purely "aspirational" (read: ignorable).
Presumably, the Conservatives see Canada's previous pledge, to reduce carbon emissions by 17% from 2005 levels, as equally "aspirational". Certainly, even they have admitted recently what everyone else already seemed to know: that, despite the positive efforts of individual provinces in the face of federal inaction, there is little or no chance of Canada actually achieving this pledge.
Somehow, I can't see Stephen Harper suddenly biting the bullet and admitting that the future is in renewables, not in oil and gas. I really can't see him having an epiphany and taking the initiative, and investing large sums in renewable research. He's not that kind of guy
Ah, it's all too depressing.

No comments: