Canada: A Corrupt Petrostate

The 2009 Munk Debate will be held tomorrow night. The Globe and Mail is having some kind of pre-debate show live streaming "chatty" type-a-thingy on it's website where you can send in questions. And you can sign up to watch the debate free on the web at the Munk Debate website.

This year's debate will see climate liars... er... "sceptics" Bjorn Lomborg and Nigel Lawson face Guardian science columnist, George Monbiot and Green Party leader, Elizabeth May.

Should be interesting.

I don't know much about Lawson, but Lomborg is one of these soft-in-the-middle climate deniers. He's not like, say, Christopher Monckton who scoffs at the idea that people are warming the planet. Lomborg accepts the scientific consensus on this (up to a point), he just figures that based on his cost/benefit analysis, we would do better to invest in things like ending poverty instead of making massive investments in reducing carbon emissions.

Oh, and he also thinks that we should stay away from international treaties because we've been trying that route for 20 years and look where it's gotten us.

Gee, Bjorn, the lack of action on climate change couldn't have anything to do with chaps like yourself sowing discord and discouraging action on the subject, could it? You're not really being on the up and up when you say a particular solution won't work if you're the guy fucking with it?

As for the "feeding the poor instead of fixing climate change" thing.... it's a false dichotomy. We're not making such massive investments in solving the climate change problem that it's taking aid away from developing nations. In fact, all this line of reasoning he's been trotting out for the past decade has accomplished is to give developed nations (like ours) a good, compassionate-sounding rationale to not invest in reducing carbon emissions. Of course, we don't ever seem to make any corresponding investments in helping the developing world, either.

Still, Lomborg's style of scepticism is a tough one to debate as he'll be doing an end run around the moral highground. (I can almost hear him trilling, "All you care about is carbon. I care about people.") Plus, I think Lomborg's one of these guys who got into the denial game out of a desire to be thought clever and be loved. In a debate I could see him moderating his position just to stay on the audience's good side and to diffuse Monbiot and May's position.

Which brings me to Monbiot... Love his column. Can't say much more except that he has some choice things to say about Canada -- that, as the title of this post suggests, we're turning into a corrupt petrostate. And, I hasten to add, I agree with him.

And May... well... she sure would make a fine PM.


Canada Guy said...

Canada is the climate change bad guy. We have ignored our Kyoto commitments, have poor emissions targets for Copenhagen, and we are actively trying to disrupt climate meetings. But we still have a chance to change and lead.


Paul Dechene said...

@CanadaGuy: "But we still have a chance to change and lead."

I admire your optimism but can't share it. Harper's gang are closet climate change deniers to a man. I can't see them taking the steps necessary to put Canada on the right side of this issue and I can't see them getting voted out any time soon.

And even if we did manage to turf them tomorrow, I suspect the Liberals, currently flirting with the western provinces, won't be too eager to curtail tarsands expansion.

And the NDP? Don't get me started on the NDP....

Canada Guy said...

Paul, I think you are probably right. The only hope I can see is if the other parties put forward a Copenhagen ultimatum and threaten to topple the government if they don't commit to some realistic targets.

But, as you say, the Liberals probably won't do this, and they never did anything about Kyoto anyway. :(