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Frank Denial From A Leading Global Statesman

By Bill Henderson

11 June, 2014

"No country is going to undertake actions on climate change, no matter what they say … that is going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country.

“We are just a little more frank about that, but that is the approach that every country is seeking.”

Prime Minister Harper speaking at a news conference with Australia PM Tony Abbott.

There is no question that human caused warming is happening or that climate change threatens future generations. Canada, along with almost all of the world's nations, has agreed to limit emissions so as to stay below a 2C rise in temperature, but we are currently on a path to at least 4C by century's end. But growth and jobs remain by far the most important consideration.

"It's not that we don't seek to deal with climate change. But we seek to deal with it in a way that will protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth, not destroy jobs and growth in our countries. And frankly, every single country in the world, this is their position," Harper said.

“The choice is stark,” Mr. Oliver said Monday during a speech to the International Economic Forum of the Americas. “Head down the path of economic decline, higher unemployment, limited funds for social programs like health care, continuing deficits and growing debt, or achieve prosperity and security now and for future generations through the responsible development of our resources.” Canada will be condemned to a future of debt and economic decline if the country can’t get its landlocked oil to world markets.

Growth and jobs based upon expanding fossil fuel production is by far the most important consideration. Pricing carbon or any other restraint upon economic growth is therefor not allowed.

But if warming is happening and present use of fossil fuels is putting us on a path that we know promises civilization even humanity threatening disruption; if we've already agreed to limit emissions to stay under a 2C precautionary ceiling and then wasted at least two decades so that now action to stay under 2C must mean major systemic change (leaving the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground, urgently cutting emissions) which must impact 'growth' and present employment - isn't it madness to affirm the importance of growth and jobs BAU when questioned about climate change?

Isn't our PM's response a criminal, cynical reaffirmation that the most important thing to Harper is his immediate self-interest: growth and jobs leading up to the next election, a 'healthy' economy for Canadians? Isn't his 'frankness' monumental stupidity and acute myopia? Won't these incredibly stupid quotes come back to haunt him his entire life?

I once called Harper a monster - not a political jibe because of some minor government bill, but because our PM stands out as a global leader against effective action that is urgently needed on climate change and because of the scale of suffering and destruction that his 'leadership' will cause. "No one person on the planet today is doing so much right now to endanger future generations and all we know and love. Harper - like other neolib governors globally - is scared to death about our economic future, and raw commodity export, especially bitumen from the tarsands, must be accelerated for jobs and economic activity to keep Canada's economy's head above water."

The choice is indeed stark. Most of you know what we should do, what would be the right thing to do, what would be responsible. But we are in denial, implicatory denial; it is madness, but our PM does speak for Canadians. The choice is indeed stark but instead we are going to pretend that we take climate change seriously while doing everything in our power to grow the economy by ramping up the production of fossil fuels.

Bill Henderson is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents on Climate Change . He can be reached at
bill (at) pacificfringe.net


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