Since then no politician who stood any chance of winning any election above dog catcher dared say, as Carter did, "...there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice." Instead each has echoed George H.W. Bush who famously declared: “The American way of life is not up for negotiations. Period.”
Now up here in Canada our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Real Change' is coming on all fronts. But is it? ?...Time out for another drink of Kool-Aid...Do he and the Liberals really mean they are going to tell the Canadian people that they must sacrifice some of their entitlements so that Canada can do its share in making the Earth's environment slightly less polluted? Of course not.
About two weeks ago one of Canada's leading neanderthal media outlets - Sun Media - published an editorial titled 'The folly of Canada's carbon targets' which evenhandedly bashed the preceding federal governments for promising pollution regulation changes then backing down as soon as they had to make anyone sacrifice anything. The Sun Media then went on to conclude: "The only way for the Liberals to achieve the Harper targets without wrecking our economy, would be to buy billions of dollars of carbon credits on the fraud-ridden international carbon markets. Is that what they have in mind? A very good question eh.
So i figured reading about the Green Climate Fund that Trudeau got so much praise for promising $2.65 billion over 5 years to just before COP21 started was a good place to start. What i learned was that the financial sector and private sector energy companies are trying (very successfully in their closed doors meetings) to get a slice of the money earmarked for helping poor countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. This has meant that much climate finance is being channeled through the financial sector. The UK has been instrumental in pushing for the creation of a private sector facility (PSF) as part of the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is meant to become the main channel for rich countries to disburse climate finance. While developing countries want the PSF to focus on supporting small green businesses, the UK wants PSF money to be channeled through financial intermediaries (including big private sector banks) to big corporate projects. It seems the power of the fossil fuel and financial sectors is likely to ensure that big business will receive much of any climate finance promised to the Green Climate Fund, including the portion Trudeau has promised.
Yikes...next i read up on International Carbon Markets including about how Al Gore and his carbon credit huckstering partner David Blood, both principals at Generation Investment Management (GIM) are making a fortune on commissions from emissions trading of carbon offsets. 'The inconvenient truth of carbon offsets' by environmentalist Kevin Anderson is an excellent explanation of carbon offsets and why a person should wear hip waders when listening to Al Gore's versions of greenwashing.
But there's many other stinging critiques of the sewage stink that emanates from the International Carbon Market, none better than 'COP21, the 'No Hope Climate Summit' by Alex Scrivener [a must read IMO] which breaks down the internal workings and the reason the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) can't work saying "Climate change will never be solved through negotiations dominated by corporate interests. these same governments use bullying and bribery tactics to ensure that the interests of their corporate friends takes precedence over the fight against climate change."
Another piece by the Forest Ecology Network says: "Using the free market model, the polluters too often make the decision that the cost of reducing their emissions through the utilization of best technologies, conservation, and higher efficiency standards are prohibitive. It is cheaper to pollute and buy credits than it is to change their production processes. There are also examples of companies which for financial reasons have made cost saving technological changes, usually energy related. These changes have not only saved them money, but have also created carbon credits, which can be sold for huge profits. As an example, a company in China spent 5 million to build an energy-producing incinerator, which generated 500 million dollars of excessive profit through carbon credits. While rewarding carbon-reducing technologies makes sense, a 495 million dollar profit is over the top!"
"There are often potential secondary ecological and human impacts in the creation of carbon credits. The most striking example is a case involving a 220 square mile plantation of Eucalyptus and pine in Andean Ecuador. This carbon credit-generating plantation has resulted in the destruction of a native forest, the introduction of damaging invasive species, a reduction in biological diversity, the release of massive amounts of soil carbon, and the displacement of indigenous peoples. Many of the large hydro projects around the world also have similar devastating impacts."
Then there's the Guardian article which focuses on the EU emissions trading scheme, one of the oldest and largest, which includes 11,000 power stations and industrial plants that produce half of Europe’s total carbon emissions. It too says "...opponents of emissions trading programs also argue that companies are likely to purchase carbon offsets instead of reducing emissions by adopting new technologies or changing their operating practices."
So, considering that Canada has put almost all of its economic eggs in a plummeting fossil fuel market whose over supply by indebted tight oil producers and OPEC's attempts to monopolize markets in advance of Iran's re-entry, dropping demand for needless consumables everywhere due to consumer debt and the fear of the potential of renewable competition to depress demand in the long term...will Trudeau have the cajones to tell Canadians, as Carter tried to do, that the only possible solution to global pollution of all kinds is to live simply and stop over-consuming?
Why are the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec smiling?
They just figured out they didn't have to tell their voters to sacrifice.
Not a chance. He'll meet with the Premiers as promised. They'll hammer out a set of vague promises and legally non-binding commitments based on whatever bullshit they agree most Canadians will believe and they'll back it up, just as Ontario and Quebec already have, with promises to buy offsets for whatever is outstanding. They will never stand up on their hind legs and admit that over-consumption is the problem, they will never admit that the scope of the changes necessary to make anything like Trudeau's 'real change' happen would crash the stock markets and the pension plans, mutual funds, bank accounts, of all Canadians and with them the greatest boondoggle of all times - capitalism.