Sunday, August 27, 2006

Elizabeth May! Hooray!

OK - I'm paraphrasing from my 22 month old daughter, who's been adding the word 'hooray' after many things lately (as in, Oatmeal! Hooray!, etc.) - but I really was excited to see Elizabeth May win the leadership of the Green Party this weekend.

In particular, I'm hoping that she can kick-start a serious national discussion of how to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and do our part to slow global warming. Following her victory on Saturday, she said

We must stand up to the big lie that Canada cannot meet its Kyoto targets.(From the Globe and Mail)

Those are fighting words! According to May, she'll be "holding policy sessions across the country and calling on experts to put together a comprehensive platform with new ideas." I can't wait to see the results.

As a party, the Liberals seem to be hamstrung by the idea that anything serious they put forward will be labeled the National Energy Program Mark II by the Tories. However, Stephane Dion, and Michael Ignatieff both have interesting things to say.

In an excellent column in the Montreal Gazette, Henry Aubin writes:
Meanwhile, two Liberal leadership contenders have pulled away from the pack as far as this issue goes - Dion, with his call for mandatory controls, and Michael Ignatieff, with his candid talk of a carbon tax.

And I'm sure we're all eagerly anticipating the Tories' "Green Plan II"! Aubin says in his column:

Will it ruffle Alberta's feathers? If it doesn't, the plan won't be serious. Harper's home province, with the second-largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, is the heart of the problem. The plan will demonstrate whether the prime minister - a la Nixon goes to China - can sell mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions to his power base or whether, true to form, he mollycoddles it with voluntary measures.

The NDP also has quite a detailed plan on dealing with climate change and other environmental issues. They just need to do a better job getting the word out on it.

It seems that we have lots of good ideas out there. Unfortunately, according to David Suzuki, many people still don't understand the problem, or what we should do about it. The Suzuki Foundation conducted a focus group on global warming. Suzuki says:
Apparently, according to the average Joe, global warming is happening because we've created a hole in the ozone layer, allowing the sun's rays to enter the atmosphere and heat up the earth - or something like that. The cause of the problem is cars, or airplanes, or aerosol cans. No one really knows for sure.

We desperately need to increase the visibility and level of debate on this topic. I'm hoping that by adding Elizabeth May to the mix of voices on our national stage, the Greens will do just that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Canadian vs. UK government messages on climate change

Here's our government's climate change web site (screen shot taken August 17, 2006, 10:00pm):

Here's the UK government's climate change web site (screen shot taken August 17, 2006, 10:00 pm):

This is a very nice site. They also have a very effective (short) video.

Plus they have a great primer on how to effectively communicate about climate change.

Thanks to deSmogBlog for pointing out both links.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Better never than late!

Finally a 'response' from Ms. Ambrose to my email asking what the Tories intend to do about climate change. With such a late, meaningless reply, it would have been better to have sent me nothing at all! Anyway, if you care to read it, here it is. (I'm not sure what all the question marks were for - some strange formatting thing, or is she really that unsure of her own numbers?)

Ms. Neumann:

Thank you for your e-mail of April 14, regarding Canada?s intentions on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

I assure you that the Government is committed to addressing this important environmental issue. To do that, we need a new approach to reducing pollution and GHG emissions that is effective and realistic for Canada. We will develop solutions that involve all Canadians?the provinces and territories, stakeholders, the private sector and individuals.

In Budget 2006, the Government announced the first steps for a Made?in?Canada approach. A 15.5?percent tax credit for the purchase of monthly transit passes will start July 1. Up to $1.3 billion will be provided to support public transit capital investments. I am also leading the development of options for implementing a 5?percent average renewable content in Canadian motor fuels. Our government is consulting with the provinces and territories on how to move forward with this commitment.

To build on these initiatives, I will be working with my Cabinet colleagues to develop a plan that will have many benefits for Canadians, including: cleaner air and water to protect the health of families and their communities; opportunities to build a competitive and sustainable Canadian economy; energy security; development and use of new technologies; actions at the local level; and greater accountability to Canadians. Budget 2006 allocates $2 billion over the next five years to the Made?in?Canada approach to reducing pollution and GHG emissions.

I appreciate your taking the time to share your views, and hope that I can count on your support as we tackle this important work.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Rona Ambrose