Just when I think the Canadian government can’t embarrass us anymore our Prime Minister opens his mouth again.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Harper and Prime Minister Abbott from Australia spoke about climate change.
(Please take all valuable electronics out of your hand at this point so you don't throw or crush them while reading the rest of the article)
First let’s examine what the two leaders didn’t talk about.
The two leaders didn’t talk about the need to urgently address a crisis, which is already causing the unstoppable melting of the Antarctic ice shelf that will raise global sea levels over ten feet, forcing the evacuation of many island nations.
They didn’t talk about the more frequent and intense extreme weather events ravaging the planet.
And they didn’t talk about increased warnings from the global scientific community that we need to take robust and immediate action to mitigate climate change or the UN Climate Chief statement that - we need to keep 3/4rds of the worlds remaining fossil fuel reserves in the ground in order to have a chance at stabilizing the planet.
Nope they didn’t talk about any of that.
Instead, Prime Minister Harper and Prime Minister Abbott talked about the need to find ‘allies’ to help thwart U.S. President Obama in his attempts to get the world to take action on a growing climate crisis.
They also talked about how we shouldn’t take any action on climate change if it has the potential to hurt the economy.
Even though I know how regressive both of these leaders are, it’s still unbelievable to me that leaders would spew such garbage on the world stage and risk endangering what hope we have left of saving the planet.
Harper and Abbott have to understand that we can no longer have economies that exist outside of the ecological limits of our planet. Our reliance and exploitation of fossil fuels is endangering our future as well as our present and it needs to end. We need to transition to green energy and we need to keep more fossil fuels, especially high-carbon fuels like the tar sands, in the ground.
We also need all countries to act. The climate is our collective responsibility and everyone needs to do their share to address it. Canada and Australia shouldn’t be trying to thwart other countries from acting and they definitely shouldn’t be accelerating the problem. Right now they are doing both. Their double-handed denial shows they are oblivious to their addiction.
Finally, the fossil fooled Prime Ministers continue to fail to understand the economy.
Not acting on climate change is going to cost a lot more than acting on it. This is something everyone from the World Bank, to the International Energy Agency, to some of the world’s leading economists understand. It’s time our world leaders did too.
Investing in renewables and diversifying our economy will create jobs and stabilize the economy. Green energy produces as much as 7 times the jobs per dollar that investing in fossil fuels do. Countries around the world are already implementing and reaping the benefits of building green. Canada and Australia need to pull their heads out of the sand and do the same.
Our world doesn’t need more climate denial and it doesn’t need more regressive politicians who would rather accelerate the problem than fix it. We need leaders who see the problems before us and are willing to address them - leaders who bring people together rather than divide them and leaders who understand 21st century economics rather than the 19th century version.
Canada doesn’t have that leader yet but hopefully, one day we will. In the meantime lets act – in big ways and small - to address the problems our politicians fail to because our world can’t wait.