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Economy over climate at G20; Tar sands alternative to gulf spill?

Economy over climate at G20; Tar sands alternative to gulf spill?

It was heartening to learn of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s demands of Harper to lead the charge on climate change, but not at all surprised that Harper rejected them, stating that climate change will be on the margins during the summit.

Harper, who has a long history of rejecting environmental initiatives clearly doesn’t see climate change as an issue that should be at the top of the agenda at the G20. He sees it as getting away from the ‘economy’ mandate of the G20, as decided in Pittsburgh in 2009. This is convenient, but you can’t separate the two. Even if you accept the G20’s self-determined role as fixer of the world economy, it’s being fixed is completely tied to halting climate change.

In any case, so long as the Tar Sands are the centrepiece of our energy policy, Canada doesn’t have much moral authority on the issue. Especially now that Alberta and Canada have the gall to be disastrously promoting the Tar Sands as the ‘clean’ alternative for U.S. energy needs in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. It is not the solution.

Here is a portion of Ban’s speech, cross posted from Its Getting Hot in Here

“We also have an opportunity to address a second existential threat to human kind – a threat posed by climate change. The science is sobering. And climate change is happening much, much faster than you may realize,” Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General said as he began is speech in Ottawa, Canada this morning.

“We must be ready and we must be committed to leave this planet Earth to our succeeding generations to be more hospitable and more environmentally sustainable. That is our political and historical responsibility.

That’s what I’m doing as the Secretary General – I’m going to discuss with Prime Minister Harper, as the leader of the G8, and as a chair of the G20 this year, and as one of the most developed countries in the world, Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play. That is what I want to emphasize here.”

The Canadian government doesn’t have much interest in the environment, even by conservative standards, except for exploiting it for commercial purposes. And Canada’s international image is at a low, in large part due to climate change. But the pressure is clearly on in the post-Copenhagen ‘climate’ to start making in-roads.

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