Monday, May 22, 2006

The pressure on the Canadian government to take climate change and Kyoto seriously continues to mount. This from Al Gore, quoted in this morning's Globe and Mail:

"What Canada does matters, and I know enough about Canada to know the Canadian people take their obligations as citizens of the world perhaps more seriously than the people of any other nation on the face of this Earth. . . That is why nations around the world look up to Canada as a source of moral leadership, and if the Harper government -- which is, after all, in thrall to the tar-sands interests and other polluting interests -- tries to take the Canadian people for granted, personally, it's not for me as a non-Canadian to say, but I do not for one minute believe that the people of Canada would ever turn their backs on that noble political tradition."

It may not be fair to claim the Harper government is any more influenced by the tar sands interests than the previous government. It is fair to say that the extremely energy-intensive development in the tar sands - driven by high oil prices (if oil was $30 a barrel, drilling in the tar sands would not be economical) - is the prime cause for the sharp rise in Canada's GHG emissions in the past few years. It is also the cause of Canada's strong economic performance. That is what makes reducing emissions a challenge: Canada chose to couple its future economic growth not just to fossil fuels, but to a very emissions-intensive source of oil.

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