Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Canada! Canada! Canada!

You can hear the chanting in your ears as you fall asleep. The accolades of the world shower down; is it Olympic glory, no. Couldn't be the World Cup. Maybe a sweep of the Nobel Prizes, no! In fact, listening a little closer, one realizes that there's a tone of derision to the chanting. Yep, no doubt about it, there's something wrong here. Canada set a record by winning four out of a possible three Fossil of the Day Awards last Thursday at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change here in Poznan, Poland (bringing there total at the time to six). You heard me right, 4 outta 3, click here to find out how. Canada has become a world leader in avoiding (positive) action on climate change. By the by, if you're too lazy to click on the above link, three awards are given daily to the countries who give the worst input to the negotiations. While the US holds the all-time lead, Japan, Canada and Russia are leading the Poznan session.

It's easy to point fingers at Stephen Harper and his Conservative party, unfortunately you can't place the blame entirely on them for the current situation. No, the rot goes much deeper; perhaps Harper's latest maneuvering to hold onto power by shutting down the democratically elected Parliament could have some positive consequence if the people finally demand that their elected officials become responsible. While inaction on climate change has been perfected by the Tories, the Liberals were a very good role-model to follow. Someone should really be teaching a course in the seven-steps to avoidance,(very good .pdf here, I'm talking to you environment ministers) as other countries look for ever more effective methods of avoiding action.

But wait, what's that you say? There may be repercussions for these deniers, avoiders and do-nothingers? That's right my friends, there's good news as those in power may some day have to pay for their crimes against the planet. Of course it won't be only Canadian leaders; I'm sure all the industrialized countries will get their due as well along with the newer players on the scene, those wacky emerging markets. The home of the current Climate Change conference, Poland, along with her other Central/Eastern European neighbours should also expect to shoulder some of the legal problems for blocking an EU climate package. I'm talking about the class action lawsuit to be lodged by one Dan Bloom in the International Court of Justice against all world leaders for failing to prevent global warming this week. According to Reuter's he will sue the leaders for "intent to commit manslaughter against future generations of human beings by allowing murderous amounts of fossil fuels to be harvested, burned and sent into the atmosphere as CO2".

Alright, admittedly it looks more like a publicity stunt, but those responsible for pumping poison into our eco-system might want to take notice of a story I caught in the Guardian today. In a nutshell, the Oxford scientist quoted claims that science has advanced to the point where they can now judge the role of man in extreme climate events. According the Miles Allen, "We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity. And people adversely affected by climate change today are in a position to document and quantify their losses". Up til now, tort cases involving civil wrongs have failed in several suits in the US however, as establishing causation has been difficult. Power companies and big oil are the most likely targets. Another course of legal action may also follow the example set by cases in the US against tobacco companies who deliberately misinformed the public about the effects of their business.

Disinformation, climate change deniers most effective weapon? Perhaps. As I pointed out in a previous post, even stories such as those in this post usually simply cause skeptics to roll their eyes and turn away. This won't stop those that are more passionate than I though from trying to shake the zombies out of their slumber. Stay tuned, there's more to come from Poznan.


Troy said...

Great interactive Global Carbon map available here. See just how much CO2 you and your fellow countrymen produce.

And if that doesn't frighten you enough, have a look at an interview with the UN's own Climate Change boss applauding President Bush. No need to watch Saw V for a good fright. Beachfront property in Kazakhstan anyone?

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