Thursday, December 11, 2008

Coalition Gave Hope to Global Climate Change Negotiators: Elizabeth May

Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May, writes in an email:
"I write you from Poznan, Poland where I am attending the United Nations climate talks. The mood here is grim. Canada has been blocking agreements and trying to obtain special exemptions from future agreements – claiming we need special consideration because the tar sands are so polluting. The delegates here make no secret that there was great hope for Canada when they heard we might have a change of government to a coalition."
From the blog post to which she links above:
"We are in a race against time and it has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with atmospheric chemistry. If we fail to reduce emissions quite sharply and soon, we could trigger a runaway global warming disaster. The atmosphere is not the last bit interested in negotiating with humanity."
Here's hoping that Ignatieff looks at more than just short-term budget numbers when deciding on whether to vote no confidence in January 2009. The Earth needs the Coalition's help at least as much as the Canadian economy -- probably more.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Two "Good News" Canadian Stories on Climate Change

Thank you CBC for pointing to practical solutions to help combat the coming climate crisis.

The Tipping Point - Canadian Documentary on Arctic Meltdown

Despite the economic and political turmoil, some Canadians still remember the coming climate crisis. A person at a holiday party last night tipped me off to this important-sounding documentary: The Tipping Point - Passionate Eye Monday | CBC Newsworld
From the promo page:
Scientists say that by 2013, there will be no sea ice left in the Arctic, causing a tipping point for climate change throughout the world. "The tipping point is where you've pushed a system into a state where, with no further pushing, it will rapidly change", explains Dr Ted Scambos. "It seems as though the Arctic simply can't recover". Polar bears, who are at the top of the Arctic food chain, are feeling the heat. As the sea ice shrinks, so does their world.


Melting permafrost could soon be a worldwide disaster, as it locks in carbon dioxide, which is released as the ice melts. "The amount of carbon which is sequestered in permafrost is at least the same as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere", says an expert in permafrost. "Thawing permafrost will release this methane and it is like a bomb will explode".

"The Arctic will export change to the rest of the world", warns Robie MacDonald. "Melting sea ice will intensify the extreme weather caused by climate change, bringing violent storms and cyclones." Very quickly the world's food and water supplies will begin to run short. "To put it in context, the Arctic Ocean has not been clear of ice for a couple of million years at least. This is extraordinary."

In the video preview, one expert also mentions the risk of war over arctic resourses, especially with the opening of the Northwest Passage (which I had discussed independently here).

I'd really like to see the full documentary, so I hope that they re-run it soon.

[Important Notice]

Sunday, December 07, 2008

$100B for Green Jobs in Obama Plan

While the Harper Conservative Government in Canada wastes time on partisan manoeuvres and even shuts down Parliament, the N.Y. Times reports that

President-elect Barack Obama promised Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the inception of the interstate highway system a half century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.


Mr. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions. “We need action — and action now,” Mr. Obama said in an address broadcast Saturday morning on radio and YouTube.


The green jobs would include various categories, including jobs dedicated to creating alternative fuels, windmills and solar panels; building energy efficient appliances, or installing fuel-efficient heating or cooling systems.


“We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make,” Mr. Obama said, “and the results we achieve by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

The green jobs portion of the economic package could run as high as $100 billion over two years, according to an aide familiar with the discussions.

A blueprint for such spending can be found in a study financed by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts and the Center for American Progress, a Washington research organization founded by John D. Podesta, who is a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.

Daniel J. Weiss, an environmental analyst at Mr. Podesta’s center, said Washington should invest more money in existing programs that create work while cutting energy use, like home weatherization programs that have been chronically underfinanced.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Coalition = Real Greenhouse Gas Cuts = Hope for Planet!

The bottom line on why we support the Liberal-NDP coalition:

"The opposition coalition poised to topple the Harper government is promising steep cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions and a continental cap-and-trade system.


"'Knowing what we know . . . it still adds up to being a... joint platform that is leagues ahead of the Conservative party platform,' said Jean Langlois of the Sierra Club.

"'On climate change, it’s really day and night.'"

Source: Canadian Press via

[Important Notice]

Monday, December 01, 2008

Coalition, Stimulus and a "Green New Deal" - Open Letter to Liberal and NDP Leaders

Here is the email that I sent to the Liberal and NDP leaders via (h/t Dave for this link). As you will see, I modified the suggested email text to include the need to integrate economics and ecology in the coalition's stimulus package. I also pared down some of the political verbiage to focus on the critical need for a "Green New Deal".

Français suit

An Urgent Message to Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton: Only a Coalition Government Can Provide the Leadership Canada Needs

Dear Leaders,

At this critical moment, a coalition government would be the most capable of delivering the kind of stewardship the economy AND ECOLOGY needs, and the least likely to put partisan interests ahead of responsible government.

The stimulus package must be the start of a New Green Deal, as recommended by the U.N. Environment Program: see and

In the medium and long term, not making Canada's economy sustainable can lead to results that are at least as devastating as the current crisis.

Thank You


Message urgent à Stéphane Dion et Jack Layton : seul un gouvernement de coalition peut offrir le leadership dont le Canada a besoin

Chers dirigeants,

En ce moment critique, le mieux placé pour offrir le genre d’intendance dont a besoin l’économie ET L'ÉCOLOGIE, et pour faire passer la responsabilité gouvernementale avant les intérêts partisans… serait un gouvernement de coalition.

La stimulation doit être le début d'un « new deal écologique mondial », tel que recommandé par le Programme des Nations Unies pour l’environnement: voir et

À moyen et à long terme, ne pas construire l'économie durable au Canada peut conduire à des résultats qui sont au moins dévastateurs que la crise actuelle.