The Vancouver Declaration - An Admission That 'Green' and 'Growth' Make Strange Bedfellows

The amount and speed of change necessary globally to bend the curve downward enough to be meaningful means that massive, immediate change is required. Canada's PM Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister McKenna both stood up at COP 21 in Paris a few months ago and acknowledged that they understood the numbers.

To meet Canada's short-term target of lowering emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 would require shutting down the equivalent of 58% of Canada’s oil and gas sector in five years. Meeting Canada's 2030 target of 30% below 2005 levels, would require shuting down the equivalent of all of Canada’s oil and gas sector in 15 years and still come up short.

Instead, after two days of meetings, Trudeau presents 'The Vancouver Declaration', a "plan to make a plan" 8 months from now.  Trudeau had threatened to impose a small national carbon tax, but, a bit sheepishly. agreed to let each jurisdiction figure out their own approach. Quebec and Ontario are already committed Cap and Trade - basically a lisence to pollute. B.C. has a carbon tax but all proceeds go to cutting other taxes - taxes like income and profit, that are progressive. The carbon tax in Alberta is at least trying to redistribute the revenue progressively except they are exempting the worst offenders - the fossil fuel industry.

The problem is that every politician knows that 'less' doesn't sell, so Trudeau is searching for a way to meet Canada's climate commitments while saying he can grow the economy...BUT...first Trudeau says Canada needs to build more pipelines to transport  tar sands crud are necessary to fund Canada's transition to a green future...{puke]...But, as Barry Saxifrage explained recently, Canada's fossil fuel industry's current slowdown, let alone the whole future of dirty fuels, means no more mega-pipelines need to be built. Barry says: "Canada's pipeline wars may be ending sooner -- and with less national division and trauma -- than expected."

There are strategies that might actually work to reduce climate change and the wider pollution threats but they can't currently be implemented because they are politically radioactive. A good sized shrinking of the economy would almost certainly help not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also our consumption of resources, leaving more for future generations. But what politician would advocate such policies? Only one who was determined not to be re-elected.

So Canada's best and brightest elected to 'kick the can down the road' rather than even approach the subject of wanting and consuming less. Democracy and Necessity of Action are at a crossroads, as Kevin Anderson says, "In true Orwellian style, the political and economic dogma that has come to pervade all facets of society must not be questioned. For many years, green-growth oratory has quashed any voice with the audacity to suggest that the carbon budgets associated with 2 °C cannot be reconciled with the mantra of economic growth."

The unavoidable truth is our governments are captured by the corporate polluters and the citizenry is addicted to the trinkets the corporations sell. The addicted will agree with any bullshit story that feeds their habit.  'The Vancouver Declaration' is an admission that economic growth and carbon reductions make strange bedfellows