Scoring Zero for Zero Emissions
Canadian Dimension Editorial Collective
January 7th, 2010
The worst country in the world is now Canada — a bigger danger than any past despotic or colonial power because the threat is now much larger. In his recent Toronto talk and subsequent article about Canada, George Monbiot speaks of Canada’s psychopathic leaders and of three areas in which they sabotage all efforts to prevent runaway climate change. First, there is the tar sands subsidized by huge government funding, the most destructive industrial project on earth. Second, Canada’s proposed emission cuts are smaller than any other rich nation. Third, Canada has single-handedly tried to prevent other nations from reaching an agreement.
Climate change is not some futuristic scenario. Societies are already facing threats of unprecedented severity as climate change is happening faster than predicted. More intense and longer droughts occur over larger areas. Extreme weather events are more frequent and have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. Melting mountain glaciers threaten water systems vital to agriculture, sea level rise begins to inundate island nations and the low lying regions of Bangladesh and already causes increased salinity in the Nile Delta which is the breadbasket of Egypt. The Inuit people are losing their means of subsistence, and there is altered distribution of diseases.
There is growing insight that the underlying cause of the problem and the stonewalling of solutions comes from the intrinsic expansionist nature of capitalism. Capitalism can’t survive without economic growth, the ultimate enemy of nature and the planet.
What needs to be done? Right now it is fairly impossible to do anything — the biggest step in many cities has been to ban plastic bags. But if people were really convinced that this is an emergency — that this is a race against time to save billions of people — many measures would come to mind.
Here’s a short list: Eliminate non-essential goods and services and implement fair distribution of the basic necessary supplies of non-renewable energy, food, water, shelter, health care, in terms of peoples’ needs and not their wealth; expand public goods such as libraries, parks, community rec centres, museums, education; reduce work-time; implement massive income redistribution; ration personal use of air travel and restrict carbon intensive aviation and shipping to essential services (no mangos in winter); introduce free public transit; halt the tar sands operations; massively expand renewable energy supplies; restore agricultural land and utilize urban space for farming; protect watersheds; retrofit existing buildings; and globally, convert the carbon intensive military complex to a civilian conservation corps.