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Canadians can lobby Obama to not exempt tarsands from environmental regulations

I saw this link mentioned by a prominent left-wing columnist at Facebook, and was very interested in it.

This is a picture of a proposed ad Avaaz.org wishes to run in the Wednesday version of the Washington Post a day before Obama is scheduled to visit Canada (to prevent eye injury from squinting, click on ad to enlarge and read in full):

Their mission statement on this ad reads as follows:

When Barack Obama visits Canada on Thursday, Harper will desperately try to push him to agree to exempt dirty tar sands oil from global regulation – effectively undermining the global deal we need to stop catastrophic climate change. […]

Out of touch on the environment file (but being forced to deal with it).

If you’re Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, you should be able to figure out you’re starting to become rather isolated in the world on the climate change issue when Obama is about to bring in a hard target cap-and trade system, and when even certain Republicans are calling for controls on GHG emissions, and horror of horrors, they’re advocating doing it in a way that sounds like its almost an exact carbon copy (no pun intended) of Stephane Dion’s proposed Green Shift:

Obama has also said that he intends to implement a cap-and-trade system that would include hard caps and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent […]

Reading between the lines: Did Obama brush aside Harper’s environmental proposal?

An interesting diary over at Talking Points Memo on this topic attempts such an analysis from reading the quotes of Harper in the media over the last week before and after talking to Obama:

Interestingly, on their conversation regarding climate change Harper said: “The new president has expressed a desire to participate fully in global efforts to fix the problems of greenhouse gases.” I stress “global” since it appears to be a subtle shift from statements made by the Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon earlier in the week that indicated the Canadian desire to pursue a “North American” approach. My initial concern was that Harper would use some regional scheme to try and rope Obama into following the obstructionist stance he pursued at last year’s UN meetings in Bali. Is Harper’s characterization of Obama’s commitment to “global efforts” an indication that he was cool to the Prime Minister’s position?

That’s a very good question. We probably won’t really know until President-elect Obama is sworn in on January, though as I said, his picks for the EPA and whether or not he decides to add Al Gore in an environmental role in his administration will be telling hints whether he thinks Harper is trying to play games with the environment. Under no circumstances does Harper want Big Oil losing a bit of their multi-billion dollar profits to, you know, actually having to do something substantial to cut down on GHG gases, and have Canada commit to fighting something that is a question still whether Harper actually believes is a problem or not (“so-called Greenhouse Gases”, as he has said).

Personally, I hope Obama and whoever he puts in there – be it Kennedy and/or Gore or others – tells Harper to stick it, and get back to them when you have a real climate change fighting plan, rather then the “complete and utter fraud” of one (quoting Al Gore) that he has put in place now.

[email protected] 4:28pm: Good point from my comment section about what Obama is proposing at his change.gov site for the environment:

You might want to take a look at President Elect Obama’a new web site..If Harper has he’s probably having conniption fits already. Not only does Obama’s plan propose a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits in order to give American families tax rebates, he also wants to enact serious cap and trade measures, end American reliance on imported oil (particularly “dirty oil”) and invest in green technologies. The program reads very much like the Green Shift

Those cap and trade measures are calling for GHG emissions to be reduced by 80% when 2050 rolls around. Those aren’t using “intensity targets”, I can tell you. Those are hard caps. I think Harper is going to have a pretty tough time convincing Obama and his administration to exclude the Tarsands from any new US tough climate change laws – when its responsible for a lot of the GHG emitted up here.

Spot the differences between Obama and Harper’s reaction to the economic crisis.

Barack Obama said this today at his first news conference as the President-elect said this about more grim figures for the US economy:

Obama said that, if the lame-duck Congress fails to pass a stimulus package before he takes office January 20, passing such a package will be his first move…He said the country must deal with several immediate challenges. Obama said a fiscal stimulus plan to jump-start economic growth is “long overdue.”…The president-elect also said he would make it a high priority to work on additional policy options to help the struggling auto industry.

Note the key phrases; stimulus package, assistance to the auto industry.

It we look at […]

Canada sucks at protecting the environment, study shows.

No surprise here, particularly under Harper’s do-nothing approach, that we’re one of the world’s biggest ‘slouches’ when it comes to protecting the environment:

Canada’s environmental record is among the worst in the industrialized world, due in part to its poor performance fighting global warming, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada on Monday. Canada placed 15th among 17 peers, beating only Australia and the United States. Greenhouse gas emissions, high garbage production, and rampant overuse of fresh water were its biggest environmental problems.

Note that this isn’t some world study berating us, but the Conference Board of Canada. Last I looked, it wasn’t being run by any […]

The Arctic ecosystem continues to degrade.

Arctic Report Card:

Fall temperatures in the Arctic are at record highs, the Arctic Ocean is warming and desalinating as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported yesterday..For example, fall air temperatures in the Arctic are at a record 5C above normal. The report noted 2007 was the warmest year on record in the Arctic, leading to a record loss of sea ice. This year’s sea ice melt was second only to 2007.

A plurality of Canadians are going to have to realize that the environment and the economy are linked – not adversarial, as Harper painted it this past election. Inaction on the […]

Avaaz.ca lays the smackdown on John Baird’s campaign

This is an amusing story and typical of how John Baird operates (like a clown). Avaaz.ca officially launched their campaign today taking on the Harper government’s inactivity on climate change. Avaaz falls under third-party status during an Canadian election whereby a third party is allowed to spend a maximum of 150 grand on a national scale during the election period.

The news conference itself was rather ho-hum according to Kady O’Malley, at least until one of John Baird’s staffers – the Environment Minister and one of the Conservative MP’s that Avaaz is going to be targeting in their ad campaign – showed up with some literature:

…a stack of freshly printed press releases bearing the fabulously evocative headline: “SHADOWY FOREIGN ORGANIZATION ATTEMPTING TO INFLUENCE CANADIAN ELECTION” – which would be awesome enough all on its own, but the subhead made it even better: Apparently – their words, not mine – a “Wall Street Billionaire” is “bankrolling [the] campaign”. What Wall Street Billionaire might that be? Oh, my ears and whiskers, you’ll never guess — the man whose very existence can spark six American C/conservative conspiracy theories before breakfast: George Soros.

Baird’s campaign charged that Avaaz was a “foreign organization” and filed an official complaint with Elections Canada trying to bar them from launching their ad campaign. Problem for them was, as Kady O’Malley explains in a later update – the Avaaz folks already had their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed, and Elections Canada didn’t think they were shadowy OR foreign and perfectly legal within Canadian election laws:

In fact, the Avaaz campaign is exclusively run and funded by Canadians, and has been fully reviewed and registered as a legitimate third party by Elections Canada and is listed on its website. Avaaz pro actively initiated full consultations with Elections Canada lawyers, who approved the application. “Our campaign is of, by, and for Canadians, and strictly Canadian money is being used, that’s verified by an auditor registered with Elections Canada”, said Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel. “We have been very careful about this, to even go beyond normal procedure to discuss our campaign with Elections Canada lawyers, and we are 100% in compliance with Canadian law.”

Furthermore, they talked to Baird’s staff about their complaints and encouraged them to ask Elections Canada, but they didn’t bother, and decide to distribute their press releases anyhow.

Cue the Conservative outrage and whining again about how Elections Canada is “biased” against the Conservatives, or how they’re now involved in a conspiracy with a bunch of shadowy foreigners from Avaaz (who happen to have, by the way, an office in Ottawa). You can see this coming a mile away, can’t you?

Liberal Ad #2 Released today – Liberal Leadership

Well, straight on the heels of the prior post talking about the newest Liberal ad, I noticed the Liberals had released a 2nd ad today and so here it is:

You might remember this ad from somewhere else. This was released a couple of years ago after the initial Conservative attack ads on Dion after he won the leadership. The Liberals have decided to re-release this to emphasize what they feel is “real leadership” – which in this case is real results on the world stage to do with the environment. It’s not a bad idea to remind people of this either.

[…]

Keeping it simple will work for Dion.

The more Dion does this, the better it will be for his campaign:

At a rally in Napanee, Ont., Mr. Dion said that some people have called the plan complicated. “It’s very simple. I will give you the Liberal plan in six words, you will see: Cut income taxes, shift to pollution.” He then challenged Conservative leader Stephen Harper to explain his environmental plan in six words. “Okay, okay 10 words. Thirty words? No, no I will help him. In two words: No plan.”

As I have said before, I like the Liberal TV Ads on the Green Shift, and I like this approach of explaining it in the simplest terms as possible. Far from “running away” from the policy as Harper claimed he would do, Dion has been bringing it up on a rather consistent basis. This new “keep it simple” approach will help him greatly in selling the plan to Canadians in his stump speeches and reminding them that Harper does not have any credible plan of his own. Harper has more or less admitted this by advocating policies that will not only increase GHG but sap the nation’s finances further – A “Brown-Grey Shift”.

By the way, while Harper and his Conservatives may not have anything directly to do with this -another oil spill in Alberta that has killed over 500 birds; mostly ducks and swallows – it’s a rather tragic symbol in my opinion of how the Conservatives view the environment – which is a rather dim one.

The Conservatives announce the “Brown/Grey Shift”

Ok, that’s my title, but it might as well be the Conservatives name for it, and it’s voter-pandering at its worst. Here is Stephen Harper’s announcement of dropping the excise tax on diesel fuel by half, as described by economist Stephen Gordon:

In one stroke, it takes two serious and pressing problems – the deteriorating fiscal situation and greenhouse gas emissions – and makes them both worse..The election is still five weeks away, and I’m already running out of synonyms for ‘stupid’

Harper can try to to claim how “practical” this is.. but in reality, this is another example of how dirty and gray and brown – NOT Green – […]

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