Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Canada at Odds with US and China on Climate Change

The groundbreaking deal between the world's biggest polluters could have major implications for Canada's tar sands and by extension the Keystone XL. The planned expansion of the Alberta tar sands will triple greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2020. James Hansen, the retired NASA climatologist said. If we build pipelines to transport the tar sands, “there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.” As Hansen succinctly put it, exploiting the tar sands means "game over for the climate."

This expansion is largely dependent on the building of pipelines such as the Keystone XL. The Keystone is already a very controversial issue in the US. Resistance to the Keystone XL is the focus of climate activists across America and around the world. Public hearings on the pipeline open in Nebraska Thursday April 18.

The ruling Canadian Conservative government has said it is in line with other developed countries. However, the deal between the US, China, and Japan will make it very difficult for the Conservatives to continue making this claim.

While the leading world powers see the veracity of climate science and are moving forward on agreements to combat global warming causing GHGs, Canadian Conservative Revenue Minister Joe Oliver made the outlandish claim that “some scientists” say action on climate change is “not urgent” and that “there is no problem.”

As the world evolves well beyond the position of the current federal government, Canadians will have to decide whether they want to cement their nation's tragic legacy as a leading contributor to climate change. The next federal election is scheduled for 2015.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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