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Copenhagen spoof shames Canada on the truth about its emissions

An ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions 40% by 2020 seemed too good to be true - and it was, as the Yes Men strike again

Blog Carbon emission :  Tar sands mining

Canada: notorious for tar sands, not green policies. Photograph: Orjan F. Ellingvag/Dagens Naringsliv/Corbis

The Yes Men - or somebody suspiciously like them have struck again and this time the victim was Canada.

And who better? The Canadians have emerged as the villain of the climate change negotiations for pumping out greenhouse gas emissions with the full-on exploitation of the Alberta tar sands.

In the Yes Men's first transatlantic action, an email purported to be an official Environment Canada press release this afternoon announced an incredibly ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. It also went on to commit Canada to paying 1% and eventually up to 5% of its GDP in 2030 to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

"Canada is taking the long view on the world economy," the fake press release said, attributing the statement to the environment minister, Jim Prentice. "Nobody benefits from a world in peril. Contributing to the development of other nations and taking full responsibilities for our emissions is simple Canadian good sense. We want to show the world that Canada is a leader on climate change."

That would make a nice change. The Canadians have been regularly vilified by NGOs at Copenhagen, getting a Fossil of the Day Award for obstructing the talks.

Today's hoax was fairly detailed. The initial email was followed up by a phoney press release from the Uganda delegation and a link to a video of a press conference on a phoney version of the official Copenhagen climate meeting site.

"This is a day that will define our century," the fake Ugandan official said in the press release. But there was no sense of celebration in the video, in which the fake Ugandan official scolded the Canadians. "You are holding a loaded gun to our heads," said the official. "You left us no choice but to see you as criminals."

There was even a spoof write-up in the Wall Street Journal The flourish was a reminder of the Yes Men's last hoax: a US Chamber of Commerce press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. A number of news organisations fell for that stunt.

In a reminder of that gaffe, the fake Journal article said it based its account on "at least one source".

But as the real Jim Prentice told reporters later today: "The press release was a hoax." He called the stunt "undesirable".


UPDATE:
A hoax within a hoax within a hoax. A new email dropped late tonight - this time claiming to be from Canada's environment ministry in Ottawa - ticking off the pranksters for making fun of the Ugandan bureaucrats.

It was the third faux email of the day.

In an email headed "Tragic Ugandan Reaction to False "Canada" Announcement", the perpetrators of the hoax took themselves to task for their sham video of Ugandan negotiators.

"Environment Canada wishes to stress that the Ugandan delegation's impassioned response to the announcement is a dramatic tragedy for those who stand to suffer the most," the email said.

"It is the height of cruelty, hypocrisy, and immorality to infuse with false hopes the spirit of people who are already, and will additionally, bear the brunt of climate change's terrible human effects."

An Environment Canada spokesman said late last night that that email too was a hoax.

In an email, the spokesman said all three emails originated from an apparently fake site.

"Enviro-Canada.ca is not in anyway affiliated with the Government of Canada," the email said.

"Environment' Canada's website is www.ec.gc.ca and Canada's Action on Climate Change website is www.climatechange.gc.ca

The press release entitled "Tragic Ugandan Reaction to False "Canada" Announcement" originates from this fake site."


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Copenhagen spoof shames Canada on the truth about its emissions | Suzanne Goldenberg

This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 17.18 GMT on Monday 14 December 2009. It was last modified at 00.13 GMT on Tuesday 15 December 2009.

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  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    14 Dec 2009, 6:25PM

    Okay No.1 This doesn't "shame us" in the least.

    No.2 Anyone who learns the real facts about the oil sands and compares them with any number of other industries throughout Europe or the world will find out they're nowhere near as bad as uneducated bloggers who've never been West of Toronto (which BTW produces 6 times as much CO2 as the oil sands) insist.

    No. 3 Any Canadian coming here to Harp over Harper and the Conservative gov't trying to sell you a story that claims the policy on the oil sands would be any different with the Liberals or the NDP in office is either lying or about 11 years old.

    No. 4 While we have the oil sands we also have the largest boreal forest on the planet. THE LARGEST BOREAL FOREST ON THE PLANET. And we protect it too...whereas any British or European nob simply CANNOT WAIT to cut down any tree standing to put a parking lot in it's place. So shut your hypocritical yaps.

    No.5. The Copenhagen deal is so utterly unfair and rotten. Take China. China is what? 2000 years old? So explain why it's still considered a 'developing nation'. It isn't. But it gets a pass from all the protesters who - ironically - know the least about global warming and pollution.

    You guys can keep dumping on us all you like. You destroyed your environment years ago. You made your animals extinct a century ago. We still protect our wildlife and forests. You can kick us outta the Commoenwealth too....we fought two wars for you losers and we paid for the "privilage" of the Commonwealth membership with blood and if that ain't good enough for you then to h3ll with you.

  • bgan2 bgan2

    14 Dec 2009, 6:26PM

    Prentice was being charitable, as he probably has to be, I'd just simple call it "stupid".

    Constructiveness = Nil,
    Humour (for most) = Nil,
    Achievement = Nil.
    Self satisfaction for "never quite grew out of school" narcissists = Probably their major thrill of the year.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    14 Dec 2009, 6:27PM

    I might add that this 'fake news story' only worked because there are zero checks and balances left in journalism. It's only because journalism (like this story) has become the realm of hack, propagandists an the terminally uneducated that this fake story took off at all.

  • bgan2 bgan2

    14 Dec 2009, 7:11PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • FireJuggler FireJuggler

    14 Dec 2009, 8:09PM

    The official response sounds more like the spoof.

    Examples include, and I quote,
    "Experts note, for example, that the much-decried oil sands of Alberta, contrary to environmentalists' dire assertions, are enabling Canada to meet ambitious emissions goals by providing her, as well as her neighbors, with the energy resources needed to transition to a cleaner energy future."
    and
    "which will guarantee all nations their due portion in accord with historical norms."

  • insertrealname insertrealname

    14 Dec 2009, 8:41PM

    The fake press release may have announced "an incredibly ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020" and absurd levels of adaptation finance for less developed countries, but if you read the relevant discussions of mitigation and adaption efforts in the the IPCC's 4th Assessment reports, Canada's current official negotiation position (in so far as a position of disengagement qualifies as a serious negotiation position at all!) doesn't get us anywhere at all.

    In the IPCC AR4 WG-3 "Summary for Policy Makers", p. 21, "Table SPM.7. Estimated global macro-economic costs in 2030 and 2050", a stabilization of CO2 levels in the range of 445-535 incurs an upper bound estimate of GDP reduction range of 3% for 2030 and 5% for 2050, which is an approximate per-annum GDP reduction of less than 0.12%.

    The domestic GDP costs of letting climate change increase beyond these stringent CO2 limits in the IPCC scenario would be certainly be higher, so if Canada has any intention of being able to provide some adaptation finance to other countries, setting an example of actual current CO2 emission reduction and thus encouraging other larger economies to do likewise is sound fiscal policy.

    So the numerical figures in the "Yes men" stunt are not quite as silly as people may think.

  • LucAstro LucAstro

    14 Dec 2009, 9:17PM

    Canada has signed Kyoto and rather than reducing its CO2 emission, it increased them by more than 25%, more than the US in fact, who did not sign Kyoto. These are the facts. In past meetings (Bali, APEC,...) its role has been to drag its feet, support Bush (now Obama), asking for a compensation or offset credit because we have not yet razed our forrests to the ground. If that does not define a free ride, what does? What I gather is taking place in Copenhaguen is a fight between the real inhabitants of this planet and greed. Canada, Australia and the US share a common stance, they are ahead and want to stay there at all costs for the rest of the planet. China now wants to join that club too. I would have expected these nations to take the high ground at the negotiations. I am disappointed.

  • Freedomfighter Freedomfighter

    14 Dec 2009, 9:31PM

    uneducated bloggers who've never been West of Toronto - so complains Canadiankilljoy

    I've been West of Toronto. In fact, my Canadian hometown is in the province of the Athabaska Tar Sands.

    Athabaska is a disaster. To excuse disasters on the basis of relative size would excuse Hitler because Mao was worse? An odd view.

  • insertrealname insertrealname

    14 Dec 2009, 10:08PM

    The official response referenced above really does sound like a Monty Python parody of Canada's negotiation position, e.g.

    "Without the dynamism of our oil sands industry," says Bruce Carson, a special Adviser to Environment Canada, "we in Canada would not have the energy - moral, financial and literal - to develop the alternative energy future the whole world craves." [...]

    "

    Canada's line may not always be popular, but we do feel the scientific and political assumptions we've inherited from the Kyoto Protocol no longer suit present physical or market realities, or a vigorous energy policy into the future," notes Michael Martin, Canada's chief negotiator in Copenhagen. "A 2006 baseline for emissions reduction targets, and a comprehensive re-examination of finance for developing countries in the context of a generous and efficient foreign-aid policy package, will guarantee an efficient, direct path to useful negotiations within our increasingly fast-paced energy market."

    Thanks to Canada and her preferred baseline of 2006, by the time the World meets for COP20 or COP30, we will be gratefully awash in the tide of tar sands development consequences, and the international blather of "comprehensive re-examination of finance for developing countries" will almost certainly NOT have been concluded, much less translated into concrete commitments.

    It's unpleasant to watch Canada forfeit whatever shreds of international credibility still remain.

  • insertrealname insertrealname

    14 Dec 2009, 10:12PM

    Oh, I forgot, the Environment Canada press release makes this priceless assertion as well:

    Canada's current energy policy represents an elegant synthesis of the most advanced science, while remaining faithful to Canada's tradition of political pragmatism.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    14 Dec 2009, 11:58PM

    I've been West of Toronto. In fact, my Canadian hometown is in the province of the Athabaska Tar Sands.

    Uh see this is what I mean. You people totally screw yourselves by lying. First off you wouldn't say "In the province of the Athabaska tar sands", you would just say "Alberta". Secondly it's AthabasCa, dummy.

    You guys lie and lie and lie and you think that means you have a point. Hilarious. So no. You haven't been West of Toronto and you don't know jack about the OIL sands. (not tar sands, OIL sands, sheesh).

    Here's antoher fine piece of cr@p:

    Canada has signed Kyoto and rather than reducing its CO2 emission, it increased them by more than 25%, more than the US in fact, who did not sign Kyoto.

    Um no we didn't. Usually I'd back that up with some kind of link but since you're obviously willing to babble and dribble out any manner of outlandish baloney I'm not going to bother. Look in your own backyard fish breath.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 12:01AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • harrydamar harrydamar

    15 Dec 2009, 1:10AM

    CanadianKilljoy,

    For a little perspective on 'developing' and 'developed' nations emissions, take a look at total historical emissions. David MacKay's book on sustainable energy should give you a good idea.

    "They've been a country for 2000 years"

    .
    That is correct, but doesn't qualify them as a developed nation. China did not achieve industrial revolution thanks to a saturated population barely living on subsistence level (the high level equilibrium trap). They were exploited by imperalistic capitalists in the 19th century, and torn by war for most of the 20th. You think WWII was bad in Europe? China's war wasn't just a sideshow - there were 4 million Japanese soldiers in China before 1945.

    China is very much a developing nation. Even in basic resources they are suffering. The Chinese have 1/4th of the per capita water reserves of the world average.

    They deserve all of the help we can give. Remember, a slowing down of China's economic growth doesn't mean the same it does for us. We just pick up our unemployment allowances and hold out for some jobs. A slowing down of China's economy means social upheaval for a 1/5th of the world's population. That is the true measure of how developed a nation is.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 1:28AM

    I'm sorry but this:

    That is correct, but doesn't qualify them as a developed nation. China did not achieve industrial revolution thanks to a saturated population barely living on subsistence level (the high level equilibrium trap). They were exploited by imperalistic capitalists in the 19th century, and torn by war for most of the 20th. You think WWII was bad in Europe? China's war wasn't just a sideshow - there were 4 million Japanese soldiers in China before 1945.

    Is not justifying to me either 'developing nation status' or any particular reason why their coal plants should be overlooked but Canada's the bad guy because the oil sands pump less than 0.1% of the worlds CO2.
    Why aren't we a developing nation? We only just got here a couple hundred years ago and there was nothing. No ancient infrastructure already in place. No semblance of a country like China had. So they saturated their population and that makes them immune? It doesn't change who's making it hot for us.

    No I smell a rat. Closer to the the truth it's more like nobody wants to pick on someone everyone does business with. Better to pick on Canada and the oil sands since they're mostly doing business with only one other country the U.S.

    Tough. We have the oil, the same oil any of you would exploit but we also have the forests too which is giving back. Who else here can claim that? You want to blame someone blame the one pumping out the most CO2 in the air. That's a no brainer.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 1:38AM

    For a little perspective on 'developing' and 'developed' nations emissions, take a look at total historical emissions.

    If that's true then imo that only bolsters my argument. Why pick on Canada? In terms of the industrial revolution, historically, we weren't big manufacturing polluters by a long long shot. We still aren't.

  • eviscerate eviscerate

    15 Dec 2009, 3:51AM

    Gosh, Canada has signed Kyoto and does not abide by it !

    Are the critics trying to make me go away like Tiger Woods ?

    Tell me, who gets nearly all the Oil that is produced from the
    dirty tar-sands ? It's the U.S.! Outfits like Exxon that's involved
    in the exploitation of our tar-sands do not give a hoot if Canada
    gets the blame for the pollution it creates !

    Put the blame on the country that craves the oil and our
    Polititians that condone it !

    Harrydamar
    When You say " China deserves all the help we can give it "!
    It is one of the country's where our Factory's are now located !
    Try and get our Unemployed to help the Chinese ! Read the
    Newspapers and find out that China overtook the US
    in producing cars and own trillions of US Dollars !

  • SaraGraham SaraGraham

    15 Dec 2009, 5:43AM

    With the exception of CandianKilljoy, the rest of you really dont know what you're talking about. Interesting how the majority of you just hit on Alberta, and make no mention of the joint venture between Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Dakota in The Bakken play.
    Which one of you will offer any of the people you wish to have terminated - a job? You're so content to just throw people out out of their livelyhoods. And by the way, you guys are truly a bunch of hypocrits with your Total Oil, Statoil, BP - etc... your content to take the profits but from another mans backyard.
    As to being kicked out of the commonwealth, who cares. No big deal there.

  • insertrealname insertrealname

    15 Dec 2009, 6:33AM

    Well, so much for my observational skills: the apparent Environment Canada response to the fake news release is itself fake, www.ec-gc.ca instead of the proper www.ec.gc.ca Oh well... at least I detected the element of parody in it!

  • harrydamar harrydamar

    15 Dec 2009, 11:46AM

    I've lived and worked in China for over a year, and have been a student of it's language, history and economy for 4. China is vastly complex, but suffice to say, for the majority of Chinese their country is developing. I'm not sure why we are even arguing this point. If you think you don't lead a better life than the average Chinese, then by all means, emigrate and work a 12 hour day in one of our outsourced shoe factories.

    But CanadianKilljoy is of course correct, China is too valuable an international commodity to "pick on". As both the largest greenhouse gas emitter and the supplier of all our cheap goods, they have our balls in a vice. Nevertheless, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change both due to its general scarcity of water and highly populated coastal cities. They know this, and while China is having a 'good time' right now building up foreign exchange reserves and throwing lavish olympic parties, the future is very, very worrying for China on all fronts (political, economic, environmental and social).

    To achieve any realistic reduction of emissions over the next 10 years, we need to have China on board. Hopefully this will take the form of free technology transfers. The political reality is we have to give them something, otherwise no deal.

    Canada is a relatively small fish. But the whole point here is how can we, the developed nations, expect the average Chinese or Indian person to give up his dream of a good standard of living? We need to sincerely make an effort, give up our oil explorations wherever they are on the globe and move towards a low carbon economy. Take one for the team Canada.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 2:48PM

    @Munchkinguy

    Not so fast. The latest report shows that emissions jumped in 2007. http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/ghg/inventory_report/2007/images/f1_1_eng.jpg

    Yes, this is the latest report. There is a lag of a few years in order to measure GHG emmissions. But you can follow http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/ghg/inventory_e.cfm for the latest data.

    Thank you. Decent info to be sure and I stand corrected. Doesn't change my overall opinion though.

    @harrydamar :
    Good balanced response.
    However:

    China is vastly complex, but suffice to say, for the majority of Chinese their country is developing. I'm not sure why we are even arguing this point. If you think you don't lead a better life than the average Chinese, then by all means, emigrate and work a 12 hour day in one of our outsourced shoe factories.

    This almost sounds like "They have it bad, and to be fair in the grand scheme of things regarding climate change, you have to have it bad too in order to do your part."

    No. I won't collect unemployment insurance. I wont' work a 12 hour work day just so some people in Europe can tell themselves everything's going to be alright. I won't dump the same oil industry everyone else chomps at the bit to exploit just because Europe says I should. I'm not going to turn Canada into a 3rd world county to 'take one for the team'. That's an unreasonable expectation of anyone and if the tables were turned on ANY ONE OF YOU, Belgian, Swiss, German, British whatever it would be the same story. Find an agreement that doesn't force us to live in poverty and work 12 hours a day and you'll get more traction. We're not trading places with your average Chinese worker just because they have a, ironically, incredibly unfair working conditions.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 2:52PM

    BTW - as you are all laughing at these pranksters have any of you ever asked yourself about the hypocrisy of an American group pulling a prank to try and shame Canadians into feeling bad about pollution?

    Unbelievable.

  • sanfu sanfu

    15 Dec 2009, 3:23PM

    dear Canadian Killjoy,

    I think that your way of reasoning is the perfect mirror of Machiavellian Reason of State. "We, Canadians" "You, Americans" "They, Chinese" are all expressions that denounce a fundamental inability of We, Humans to overcome group loyalty (family, tribe, nation-state) and see ourselves as related to one another and to the environment beyond any fictional border and cultural representation. This is the reason why Copenaghen is bound to fail.

    There is no chance whatsoever to deal with climate change within a capitalist frame (the very notion of economic growth is antithetic to that of sustainable development) and within the frame of the nation-state (for reasons that your mindset perfectly illustrate).

    If these activists are to blame for anything is that they are targeting specific governments instead of addressing capitalist growth per se. However, the fact that they are working with delegates from African countries points to the attempt of connecting activists across the globe, and this is far more important than the content of their hoax or the embarrassed reactions of your government.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 3:40PM

    I think that your way of reasoning is the perfect mirror of Machiavellian Reason of State. "We, Canadians" "You, Americans" "They, Chinese" are all expressions that denounce a fundamental inability of We, Humans to overcome group loyalty (family, tribe, nation-state)

    I dont think it has anything to do with a 'tribal state'. I think that simply tries to make something simple more complex. We're being asked to give up a $200B revenue maker that isn't the biggest polluter by a long shot with nothing in return.

    How is that reasonable? It' sreasonable when you're asking another country to do it but no when that $200B is paying for everything from daycare to healthcare. We can't simply 'drop it'.

  • sanfu sanfu

    15 Dec 2009, 4:55PM

    How is that reasonable? It' sreasonable when you're asking another country to do it but no when that $200B is paying for everything from daycare to healthcare. We can't simply 'drop it'.

    It becomes reasonable only if you stop using economic reasoning for reasoning.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 4:58PM

    It becomes reasonable only if you stop using economic reasoning for reasoning.

    lol. Spoken like someone without a job or a family to feed. It's not 'economical reasoning'...it's rational realistic reasoning. You sound like someone giving advice to a burning person: "It's all in your mind, you aren't really feeling any pain at all".

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    15 Dec 2009, 5:03PM

    It becomes reasonable only if you stop using economic reasoning for reasoning.

    Maybe China can stop using economic reasoning as a reason....after all they're supposed to be the communist ones.

  • yahoo01 yahoo01

    16 Dec 2009, 11:51AM

    @ Canadian Killjoy and the other non-believers (wow you guys really get angry)

    Funny you think we've all fallen into the trap of listening to propaganda and not forming our own opinions or thoughts on issues. Sounds like you've fallen into the same hole, just on the other side of the universe. I'm quite aware of both sides of the argument (I'm from BC but live in Europe now) and it seems to me even if we do live in the fairy tale that you think we're in - that we'll all just be ok if we continue doing things as we are - tell me, what exactly is the negative side of taking better care of the environment?? I'm not just talking about stopping the work on the tar sands - I'm talking about the things every day people can be doing to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. How is that a bad thing?

    The negative side of doing NOTHING - potentially disasterous to this generation and all future generations with mass disease, death, famine, war, food scarcity and continual pollution of our seas, land, waterways and air.

    The negative side of doing SOMETHING - change makes people uncomfortable, Some in this generation may have to find jobs in other industries (which will be there - even green energy needs people to run it!)>

    The positive side of doing NOTHING - It's easy and if you're a lazy person, that makes you happy for the moment. For the people who like to live in the "now" this is a great option. No immediate discomfort

    The positive side of doing SOMETHING - We create new industries, we future-proof our economies, we become more self-reliant, we have cleaner air, we have cleaner seas, we have less habitat destruction, the future looks bright. There is less chance of mass war, famine. We don't need to be thinking of who we'll invade next to secure our fuel, food, water, resources.

    When most of the rest of the world already agrees on this - including the most developed and forward thinking countries - do you not think you may be missing something?

  • yahoo01 yahoo01

    16 Dec 2009, 11:52AM

    @ Canadian Killjoy
    Funny you think we've all fallen into the trap of listening to propaganda and not forming our own opinions or thoughts on issues. Sounds like you've fallen into the same hole, just on the other side of the universe. I'm quite aware of both sides of the argument (I'm from BC but live in Europe now) and it seems to me even if we do live in the fairy tale that you think we're in - that we'll all just be ok if we continue doing things as we are - tell me, what exactly is the negative side of taking better care of the environment?? I'm not just talking about stopping the work on the tar sands - I'm talking about the things every day people can be doing to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. How is that a bad thing?

    The negative side of doing NOTHING - potentially disasterous to this generation and all future generations with mass disease, death, famine, war, food scarcity and continual pollution of our seas, land, waterways and air.

    The negative side of doing SOMETHING - change makes people uncomfortable, Some in this generation may have to find jobs in other industries (which will be there - even green energy needs people to run it!)>

    The positive side of doing NOTHING - It's easy and if you're a lazy person, that makes you happy for the moment. For the people who like to live in the "now" this is a great option. No immediate discomfort

    The positive side of doing SOMETHING - We create new industries, we future-proof our economies, we become more self-reliant, we have cleaner air, we have cleaner seas, we have less habitat destruction, the future looks bright. There is less chance of mass war, famine. We don't need to be thinking of who we'll invade next to secure our fuel, food, water, resources.

    When most of the rest of the world already agrees on this - including the most developed and forward thinking countries - do you not think you may be missing something?

  • realcanadian realcanadian

    16 Dec 2009, 12:50PM

    @canadiankilljoy

    You should call yourself ALBERTAN killjoy
    Don't forget that representatives from 4 canadian provinces with 80% of Canada's population are in Copenhagen to oppose the minority federal government's position (which, incidently, is also opposed by all the opposition parties).
    The provinces are of course BC (on the west coast), Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec. Only Alberta and neighbouring Saskatchewan support the federal position.

    As for the Athabasca tar sands, you can call it oil sands if you wish, but it is a mixture of tar (also called bitumen) and sand, which is refined to produce oil.

    If the Alberta gov't would decide to be environmentally correct, it would restrict production in the oil sands (raising royalties to compensate for reduced production), and insist on lower pollution levels. This would have the advantage of giving breathing space to the overheated Albertan economy, and prolong the life of a resource which will be more valuable in the future. An excellent investment. But of course, the Alberta-based federal prime minister Harper the pseudo-economist -- who has never practiced as such -- and his provincial allies, wouldn't understand. It's just too simple.
    So even if greenhouse gas warming is exagerated (very doubtful), there are net benefits to the restrictions proposed at Kyoto and Copenhagen -- even for Alberta.

    As well, for those in Alberta (and Saskatchewan) not tied to the petrolium industry, and for those in the rest of the country, there would be the advantages of a cleaner environment, a somewhat lower dollar to favour exports, for more jobs, especially in "green" industries.
    Of course if the Alberta and Saskatchewan gov'ts don't cooperate, eventually the federal gov't must, in the interest of all canadians. The Harper tories seem bent on another 20 or more years in opposition.

    I suspect you live around Calgary, some 400 km south of the pollution of Athabasca. I wonder if you would have the same attitude if you lived in Athabasca.

    By the way, you seem to think that everyone opposed to the Canadian federal gov'ts stance is either from central Canada or Europe. You might note that BC, Alberta's western neighbour just the other side of the rockies, is firmly opposed to Harper's view.
    BC is, by the way, the birthplace of Greenpeace.

    So we collectively have a choice.
    Rapidly ravage the planet's energy resources and (mostly) ignore the resulting pollution for the next few decades, or support initiatives such as Kyoto and Copenhagen for a cleaner planet.
    If you are 20 years old, the first is a non-starter.
    Or if you care about the legacy you leave your grandchildren.
    If you are an old fat cat in the petrolium industry, maybe the second choice is attractive.
    It's up to you.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 3:01PM

    @yahoo01

    @ Canadian Killjoy and the other non-believers (wow you guys really get angry)

    First off I''m not a 'non-believer' (in global warming) but your vernacular gives away the fact that obviously this is a religion of sorts for you so rationality and clearheaded observation is obviously not going to be your forte.

    I'm not just talking about stopping the work on the tar sands - I'm talking about the things every day people can be doing to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. How is that a bad thing?

    Okay? So what? It's not a bad thing? Try this: try not projecting what you THINK I think and instead just listen/read.

    The negative side of doing NOTHING - potentially disasterous to this generation and all future generations with mass disease, death, famine, war, food scarcity and continual pollution of our seas, land, waterways and air.

    The negative side of doing SOMETHING - change makes people uncomfortable, Some in this generation may have to find jobs in other industries (which will be there - even green energy needs people to run it!)>

    First off that's the POTENTIAL side of doing nothing and doing nothing is exactly what most of Canada has been doing ever since the Liberals signed Kyoto. The rest of Canada's emissions have risen 25% while in Alberta we saw the writing on the wall and besides all the other things we do (we lead the country in recycling bud) we reduced the CO2 per barrel of oil by 26%.

    Sure it's all fine and dandy when it's not YOUR job. When it IS your job all of a sudden you're wondering why you're the only one making sacrifices. Ontario won't shut down it's auto plants - (they produce as much CO2) because that's THEIR JOBS. No closer to the truth it's just a lot easier to pick on Alberta because everyone does business with China and the only one really doing business with Alberta is the US.

    It's strange that since reducing CO2 seems to be the goal that the latest offer from this conference is to KEEP pumping the oil sands and instead pay out $100's of billions to Africa to finance it's pumping of oil. Why would they do that? Let us keep pumping the CO2 in the air so long as we pay Africa to do the same? Does that sound like a conference interested in reducing CO2 emissions world wide? No it doesn't.

    Global warming may not be a sham but this conference definitely is.

    Here you are wrong:

    When most of the rest of the world already agrees on this - including the most developed and forward thinking countries - do you not think you may be missing something?

    No. The only ones interested in agreeing with this are the ones who aren't losing money or have the prospect of making money.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 3:15PM

    @realcanadian

    You should call yourself ALBERTAN killjoy

    Your Eastern bigotry is given away in your first sentence when you assume I'm supposed to be ashamed of being Albertan. I'm not. We work to reduce our CO2 emissions and we work hard. The rest of Canada sat on their arses for the past 7 years.

    Don't forget that representatives from 4 canadian provinces with 80% of Canada's population are in Copenhagen to oppose the minority federal government's position (which, incidently, is also opposed by all the opposition parties).
    The provinces are of course BC (on the west coast), Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec. Only Alberta and neighbouring Saskatchewan support the federal position.

    BC is actually sympathetic to us and the rest of the provinces you note not only have done NOTHING to reduce their CO2 emissions since signing Kyoto but have actually increased their emissions 25%. Meanwhile Alberta has been working hard to lower emissions and as a result a barrel of oil sands oil now emits 26% less CO2.

    Yeah the provinces who have done nothing and have nothing to lose (except a chance to hit Alberta because of their bigotted rivalry) are in favor of the agreement -- even if they don't know what the agreement is. Their attitude is "does it affect us? Are we going to shut down Ontario manufacturing and lose jobs? No? Okay we're all for it"

    As for the Athabasca tar sands, you can call it oil sands if you wish, but it is a mixture of tar (also called bitumen) and sand, which is refined to produce oil.

    I know what it is fool. We call it oil sands. Deal with it. Meanwhile you are unaware obviously that the ground is returned and recultivated . Bison have returned to areas previously extracted.

    If the Alberta gov't would decide to be environmentally correct, it would restrict production in the oil sands (raising royalties to compensate for reduced production), and insist on lower pollution levels.

    Sir we have done EXACTLY that, while the rest of Canada has hardly done anything. Try picking up a book.

    I suspect you live around Calgary, some 400 km south of the pollution of Athabasca. I wonder if you would have the same attitude if you lived in Athabasca.

    Yes well you're long on assumptions and short on facts arentcha?

    You might note that BC, Alberta's western neighbour just the other side of the rockies, is firmly opposed to Harper's view.

    I know where it is fool. You'd be surprised at how many in BC sympathize with us. Secondly they have no grounds to speak on since they can't wait to cut down any tree standing (which cleans the air btw -- boreal forest...largest in the world).

    Here's something else to stick in your pipe: You say Canada is 'opposed ot the oil sands'. Too bad every leader we get in to the house looks at the numbers and decides, "Nope. we're not shutting down that income. no way." The Liberals signed Kyoto and encouraged oil sands production while doing nothing themselves. The NDP wont shut down the oil sands either. Heck even the GREEN party, if they got in would not shut down the oil sands.

    Better to shut down Ontarios failing auto industry - which pumps out as much co2 but doesn't make a dime.

    The rest of your post - actually the whole thing - doesnt' really say much. Sorry. I'll leave you with this:
    t's strange that since reducing CO2 seems to be the goal that the latest offer from this conference is to KEEP pumping the oil sands and instead pay out $100's of billions to Africa to finance it's pumping of oil. Why would they do that? Let us keep pumping the CO2 in the air so long as we pay Africa to do the same? Does that sound like a conference interested in reducing CO2 emissions world wide? No it doesn't.

    Global warming may not be a sham but this conference definitely is.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 3:48PM

    Better perspective of the oil sands, Ontarios' delusions and arrogance:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/15/rudyard-griffiths-central-canada-s-capacity-for-self-delusion.aspx

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 3:49PM

    What has me ticked off isn't just the boundless capacity of fellow Torontonians to ignore basic facts about the oil sands. That they are responsible for only 5% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. That the C02 released per barrel extracted from the oil sands has fallen by a third since 1990. And, that fourth-fifths of the emissions caused by each of these barrels comes out of tailpipes -- driving on Highway 401, for instance.

    What leads me to despair about central Canadians is our wilful blindness to how the fundamentals of our own economy have caused the country's C02 emissions to soar in recent years, and will make any new reductions we pledge in Copenhagen extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

    Consider: In much the same way that the oil sands fuel economic growth in Alberta, immigration drives the Ontario economy. The 150,000-plus newcomers who arrive in my province each year sustain our booming housing market, buoy consumer spending and fuel our service sector.

    Immigration, or more precisely rapid population growth, has become a significant factor in Canada's surging C02 emissions. On a per-capita basis, we welcome more newcomers than any other nation -- on average, 300,000 each year. Part of the rite of passage for each new arrival is to embrace the Canadian-born's super-sized energy lifestyle, and emit, on a per capita basis, somewhere in the order of 18 metric tonnes of carbon annually.

    Given that Canada's population grew by a whopping six million people since 1990, almost all through immigration, it is no surprise that we failed miserably to meet our Kyoto Protocol obligations. Indeed, population growth alone is easily responsible for half of the 30% increase in Canada's annual C02 emissions today as compared to 1990 levels.

    The fact is that rapid population growth in central Canada is a far greater challenge to meeting the kinds of future C02 reductions Canada will commit to in Copenhagen than emissions resulting from oil sands exploitation.

    Consider that if Canada formally adopts the pledge it has floated to cut emissions by 20% over 2006 levels by 2020, we will need to take some 125-million metric tonnes of C02 out of "circulation." Yet, between now and the end of the next decade, Canada's population will grow by 4 million people -- again, almost all through immigration. Even if we achieve a 20% per capita reduction in carbon emissions, these folks will still be producing 14.4 metric tonnes of C02 each, or 58 million metric tonnes of additional emissions over the 2006 levels.

    To make matters worse for planet Earth, the vast majority of the newcomers who will settle in Canada over the next decade come from countries with very low per capita emissions. Our top three source countries for new arrivals have average per capita C02 emissions of only 2.2 metric tonnes.

    These facts bear repeating if only to point out the hypocrisy of much of central Canada's climate change-borne assault on the oil sands. One could only imagine the braying on Bay Street and among the construction unions if big cuts in immigration levels became part of a national C02 reduction plan.

    Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/15/rudyard-griffiths-central-canada-s-capacity-for-self-delusion.aspx#ixzz0ZrpnM4Tx
    The National Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/15/rudyard-griffiths-central-canada-s-capacity-for-self-delusion.aspx

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 3:49PM

    "What has me ticked off isn't just the boundless capacity of fellow Torontonians to ignore basic facts about the oil sands. That they are responsible for only 5% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. That the C02 released per barrel extracted from the oil sands has fallen by a third since 1990. And, that fourth-fifths of the emissions caused by each of these barrels comes out of tailpipes -- driving on Highway 401, for instance.

    What leads me to despair about central Canadians is our wilful blindness to how the fundamentals of our own economy have caused the country's C02 emissions to soar in recent years, and will make any new reductions we pledge in Copenhagen extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

    Consider: In much the same way that the oil sands fuel economic growth in Alberta, immigration drives the Ontario economy. The 150,000-plus newcomers who arrive in my province each year sustain our booming housing market, buoy consumer spending and fuel our service sector.

    Immigration, or more precisely rapid population growth, has become a significant factor in Canada's surging C02 emissions. On a per-capita basis, we welcome more newcomers than any other nation -- on average, 300,000 each year. Part of the rite of passage for each new arrival is to embrace the Canadian-born's super-sized energy lifestyle, and emit, on a per capita basis, somewhere in the order of 18 metric tonnes of carbon annually.

    Given that Canada's population grew by a whopping six million people since 1990, almost all through immigration, it is no surprise that we failed miserably to meet our Kyoto Protocol obligations. Indeed, population growth alone is easily responsible for half of the 30% increase in Canada's annual C02 emissions today as compared to 1990 levels.

    The fact is that rapid population growth in central Canada is a far greater challenge to meeting the kinds of future C02 reductions Canada will commit to in Copenhagen than emissions resulting from oil sands exploitation.

    Consider that if Canada formally adopts the pledge it has floated to cut emissions by 20% over 2006 levels by 2020, we will need to take some 125-million metric tonnes of C02 out of "circulation." Yet, between now and the end of the next decade, Canada's population will grow by 4 million people -- again, almost all through immigration. Even if we achieve a 20% per capita reduction in carbon emissions, these folks will still be producing 14.4 metric tonnes of C02 each, or 58 million metric tonnes of additional emissions over the 2006 levels.

    To make matters worse for planet Earth, the vast majority of the newcomers who will settle in Canada over the next decade come from countries with very low per capita emissions. Our top three source countries for new arrivals have average per capita C02 emissions of only 2.2 metric tonnes.

    These facts bear repeating if only to point out the hypocrisy of much of central Canada's climate change-borne assault on the oil sands. One could only imagine the braying on Bay Street and among the construction unions if big cuts in immigration levels became part of a national C02 reduction plan."

  • yahoo01 yahoo01

    16 Dec 2009, 3:56PM

    @ Canadian Killjoy

    Certainly not a religion for me - the non-believer comment comes from your comments indicating it's nor yours nor Alberta's problem - it's Ontarios, or Chinas, or maybe it's the Inuit - they're the ones cutting holes in the ice to catch fish and letting all that heat out!.

    I think I know why you're so angry though, it's that large Alberta sized chip on your shoulder. Poor you guys.

  • CanadianKilljoy CanadianKilljoy

    16 Dec 2009, 4:05PM

    I think I know why you're so angry though, it's that large Alberta sized chip on your shoulder. Poor you guys.

    Yes that's all you have. I have facts. Like Ontario has done nothing and we've done plenty. I've presented much much more than you ever knew about the oil sands and I've asked you a very basic question: if copenhagen is about reducing CO2 then why are they willing to let Alberta keep pumping so long as we finance Africa so they can pump out more CO2.

    You can dismiss me as 'angry' all you want. You've said absolutely nothing in the way of solid arguments whereas i've presented a rational and thorough argument....which you can't answer so you'll simply dismiss me as 'angry'. Okay. I'll dsimiss you as a know-nothing bigot who hasn't the foggiest notion of the very thing he insists on vilifying.

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