Vineeth, 7 months old, reportedly HIV-positive, cries at the Community Health Education Society (CHES) orphanage in Madras, India, Tuesday. (AP Photo/M.Lakshman)
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28 Nov 2005 01:00:26 GMT
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - This should be a proud moment for Canada, where a major conference to find a successor to the Kyoto climate change treaty opens on Monday. Instead, the government is faced with an embarrassing predicament.
How can a country that has campaigned vocally for the world to do more to combat climate change be doing so poorly when it comes to curbing emissions of its own greenhouse gases?
Under the Kyoto treaty, Canada committed to cutting its emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2010. Recent U.N. data show those emissions were in fact almost 25 percent above 1990 levels in 2003.
And the output of greenhouse gases is set to soar as Canada develops enormous oil sands deposits in the West. The process to turn the tar contained in the sands into crude oil releases large amounts of carbon dioxide.
Adding to the government's embarrassment as the Montreal conference begins, the scandal-tainted Liberal administration of Prime Minister Paul Martin is expected to lose a no-confidence motion in Parliament on Monday evening. Martin will likely announce on Tuesday a January election date.
Environmental activists worry that the election could be won by the opposition Conservatives, a pro-business grouping which says Kyoto is deeply flawed.
Developing the oil sands in the province of Alberta will cement Canada's profitable position as the largest exporter of energy to the United States, a fact that critics say exposes what they call the Liberal government's hypocrisy.
"Canada's dismal performance isn't just about Ottawa's failure to take meaningful action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions," wrote columnist Linda Diebel in the Toronto Star, Canada's largest-circulation newspaper.
"It's about Ottawa's active complicity in a policy that dramatically increases our emissions," she said.
Environment Minister Stephane Dion stresses Canada is serious about cutting emissions and points to a recent C$10 billion ($8.5 billion) plan to meet the Kyoto targets.
But when asked by Reuters whether the oil sands development means Canada has a credibility problem when it comes to climate change, his mood darkened.
CANADA WILL NOT STOP OIL SANDS DEVELOPMENT
"There is no country that would say, 'If we had these oil sands we would keep (the oil) in the sand.' They know that. They are not hypocritical," he replied heatedly.
"There is no environment minister on Earth that will stop this oil from being used. And it gives to Canada the capacity to have surpluses and to fund my climate change plan."
Pressed about Canada's inability to meet its existing Kyoto goals, Dion answered: "We are not alone in the club."
The truth is that although Canada ratified Kyoto in 1997, it has done little in practice to meet its targets. The Liberal government produced a plan in 2001, but it relied in part on advances from technologies which had not yet been invented.
Canada has also pumped more money into public transport and launched ads to persuade people to drive less and conserve energy. It promises to invest in technologies to combat climate change, including efforts to store carbon dioxide emissions underground.
An updated C$10 billion plan emerged in April, but Ottawa has yet to decide what kind of burdens to place on the influential energy industry. So emissions are set to rise and as the arguments rage, parts of Canada are warming up dramatically.
The aboriginal Inuit who inhabit the Arctic report seeing swallows and swans for the first time, and the polar ice cap is shrinking so rapidly that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer by 2050.
British Columbia, Canada's biggest lumber-producing province, is suffering a devastating mountain pine beetle epidemic. The tiny insects have spread almost unchecked for several years because of unusually warm winters.
LIBERALS "CONNING" CANADIANS ON ENVIRONMENT
But even green groups concede that there is little chance that development of the oil sands can be halted since it is a truism that when there is a fight in Canada between the economy and the environment, the economy usually wins.
"We don't have to close down the oil sands overnight. We recognize that's not realistic and that would have significant economic impacts," said Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute. "But what we can do ... is set much more demanding targets for greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands.
Bramley is the author of a new study which says that in order to reverse the worst effects of global warming, Canada will have to commit to emissions cuts of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent lower by 2050.
Responding to environmentalists' fears the Conservatives could win Canada's upcoming election, Bob Mills, the party's legislator who also serves as the environment spokesman, dismissed the suggestion that his party was indifferent to climate change.
"We have a plan that's a 50-year environmental plan that will actually show results," he told Reuters, saying details would be disclosed during the election campaign.
"They (the Liberals) are literally conning Canadians into believing that they they're actually doing something when they're actually not."
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This week, NYC-based author and activist, Mickey Z. and 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know About.
And; Canadian Action Party Leader, Connie Fogal and the disappearing of Canada.
And; Janine Bandcroft bringing us up to speed on all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site: http://www.pej.org.
You can check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
Gorilla Radio for Monday,
November 28, 2005
C. L. Cook
November 27, 2005
The time for revolution is now! In fact, the time for revolution is always now, and has always been. But some revolutions just don’t get the press they deserve. Mickey Z. is a New York City-based activist and author whose books include: The Seven Deadly Spins, A Gigantic Mistake: Articles and Essays for Your Intellectual Self-Defence, and The Murdering of My Years. His latest, 50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism is now at a bookstore near you. Mickey Z. and the next American Revolution in the first half.
And; there’s another revolution going on, right here in Canada. Through stealth and backroom wheeling and dealing, the country known as Canada is being dismantled by business leaders and their allies in government. And, their plans for an end to the nation are very near fruition. Connie Fogal is the leader of the Canadian Action Party and she’s leading a charge to make known to Canadians what’s quietly unfolding in the panelled halls of Ottawa and boardrooms of Toronto. Connie Fogal and the disappearing of a nation in the second half.
And; Janine Bandcroft will be here to bring us up to speed on all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week.
G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.
Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Anthony Fenton, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Chris Floyd, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Paul Watson, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.
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