Sunday, November 25, 2007

Harper from Kampala, "Smoke 'em While You Got 'em"

In the wake of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's principled (his principles, not mine) stand to prevent action on climate change initiatives at the Kampala conference of Commonwealth states, the good readers of the Globe & Mail hold forth in some profusion. The discussion, in excess of 600 comments, runs the gamut from, 'I am ashamed of the PM's stance and his representation of Canada' to 'Hurray! The PM saved Canada's economy from the ravages of the eco-liberal fascists'.

On the one hand, there are the folks that either accept the reports of impending climate crises or are at least willing to hedge their bets and adapt rather than face the potential consequence. Then there are those who are unwilling to adapt for any reason at all and especially if someone else doesn't suffer equally for their inconvenience. Some of the arguments are utterly bizarre,

"John McMortimer-Boyles from An Undisclosed Underground Location Safe From Nuclear Attack, Canada writes: The problem with an agreement that has binding targets for some countries and no binding targets for others is that it doesn't solve a global problem.

Say we reduce our own emissions by 300,000,000 metric tonnes, at the same time India increases its emissions by 300,000,000 metric tonnes. Are we as a planet really any further ahead? Sure, the problem hasn't gotten any worse, but it hasn't gotten any better either.

The ideal solution would be one where we cut our emissions by 300,000,000 metric tonnes while India increased theirs by 0 metric tonnes, but we would still be further ahead if India's increased by only 100,000,000 metric tonnes.

The only deal that is a good deal is one that recognizes that a solution has to be global with a global reduction to emissions with all countries pulling their weight."

Now can anyone else spot the problem with this conservative-quality appraisal? Let's review the dear lad's math shall we...okay, should we agree to a reduction goal, we reduce our emissions by 300,000 tonnes. Check. India increases by the same amount. Check. Therefore we are right back where we started from, right? Well, only if you're using the Con guide to maths. Refusing to make an agreement to any reduction in the first place means that we don't get that initial advantage. Let's face it, if the government won't demand a reduction, no reduction will be made. So we WON'T voluntarily reduce 300,000 tonnes of emissions, India still increase by the same amount and voila, Harper's solution. Fuck it! We're making petrodollars.

What this embarrassing schmozzle equates to is the doughy PM-load standing aroundl with 53 other leaders, all emptying their bladders into the village well. Some smart-arsed, book larning type pushes the specs up her snoot and blinks a few times then says, "If we don't stop pissing in the well, well, soon we'll all be sipping pee." The rest of the leaders make like they might think about zipping up. Without a thought, chunky Steve turns, stream unchecked and piddles on the feet of the pesky, bookish beeyotch, proclaiming that unless everyone everywhere stops peeing in wells at the same time, then he sure ain't gonna stop pissing. Because of so there, commie. After all, it costs money to dig a latrine that's down stream from the well.

Now maybe I'm crazy but if this is an all or nothing game, nothing is what we're going to get. I'm starting to think that "global warming" and other such complex notions are a detriment to the greater effort. What the Pillsbury Prime Minister is advocating is unchecked pollution, in this instance in the form of green house gases. Why? For the sake of profit and convenience and the foolish, short sighted love of the status quo. This isn't about global warming or green house gas, it is about pollution, plain and simple.

Some folks might think it is unkind to pick on the barkingly stupid, I consider it a public service. Take this benighted doink from the big city,

"Opinion in Toronto from Toronto, Canada writes: Good for Harpur. Kyoto is pure left-wing ideology run rampant. No country should sign Kyoto without understanding the true cost on ordinary citizens. In Canada, signing Kyoto would mean restrictive car usage (say 50 Km per week per vehicle), higher unemployment, higher taxes, collapse of housing prices in suburbs, and a vastly reduced lifestyle. This may be welcomed by some. For many, however, it would represent an extreme hardship, especially for those who do not live within walking distance of their work or who depend upon salary income for living."

Okay, the fifth letter in the PM's name is a vowel and there are at least five to choose from, we'll let it slide. "The cost on (sic) ordinary citizens" oh good grief. Anyway, literacy failures aside, allow me to suggest that "restrictive car usage" is a noble goal. But let's just go with better design to start with. I say that as someone who turned 46 on Friday and who has never had a driver's licence. I have managed to live quite well without. I take public transit routinely. That has saved me countless thousands of dollars. As for those that don't live within walking distance, for about eight years I commuted to Toronto for work in films. How ever did I manage? Well, we arranged car pools when there was more than one from my agency in the cast and on other occasions I'd hop a bus from K-W and then the TTC. When I had very early calls, I'd arrange to head in to the big city the night before and stay at a friend's.

Was my lifestyle reduced? Fuck no, I've followed my dreams and had a total blast along the way. Have I experienced hardship? No more than any artist that has chosen to accept the consequences of an unpredictable profession. Inconvenience, sure, that just meant I had to think ahead, innovate and problem solve for myself. As for the collapse of housing prices in the suburbs, well, here in southern Ontario, that would be a blessing. The insane desire to burn up some of the best farmland in the world with shitty, mini-mansions defies all logic. I don't begrudge anyone a home but if people are foolish enough to covet thousands of impractical square feet of unsustainable, badly built monstrosities, forgive me my lack of sympathy. Your enormous mortgages and unsustainable properties are your own fault. The rest of us should not suffer for your short sighted, greedy ignorance.

For some reason, be it laziness, lack of imagination or ambition, the majority of Harper's praise team are terrified of anything that smacks of adjustment, let alone change, to their precious gluttonous ways. As befits their penchant for trouser dampening fear, they ring the bell of a ruined economy and slobber with Pavlovian uniformity. They seem to have not the first concept of an adaptable economy. Nothing but the continued and persistent status quo could possibly be acceptable to them. They believe they'll either pilot their F-350s to the corner store or they live in caves. I wonder what the folks that depended on the carriage industry must have thought at the turn of the last century as the automobile appeared on their horizon. I suppose they all just died. After all humans are incapable of adaptation in the modern world.

Some of these wailing whingers insist we offer solutions to their night terrors. What can we do? How can these horrifying demands to reduce gorging on finite resources be made? Impossible! It can't be done.

"Richard Soley from Cochrane, writes: Have any of you pro kyoto posters thought about your position? How will you heat you home, keep delivery trucks running, travel, work, or just plain survive in winter? Climate change will happen and will not be reversed in our lifetime so let's go about this with some intelligence and find the solutions not just knee jerk reactions. Canada must have the rest of the world's countries on board or we face the prospect of freeze, starve, or move south. Think about it before wailing the kyoto song and dance mantra!"

Well actually Richard, I have thought about it. I've given a lot of thought to heating homes and such like. And my pants are cozy and dry. Consider, one of Canada's most outrageous producers of green house gases are the Alberta tar sand projects. They are slated to increase in scale by a factor of three in the next few years. A large number of Canadians heat their homes with natural gas. Yet, how will these moist lapped bozons feel as that commodity climbs in cost as a result of the greed for oil?

"The mining-extraction process requires about 750 cubic feet of natural gas for every barrel of bitumen, according to the non-governmental Pembina Institute report "Oil Sands Fever". The "in situ" process that pumps super-hot steam 1,000 metres underground requires 1,500 cubic feet of natural gas to produce a single barrel of oil.

Currently, about 0.6 billion cubic feet of gas is used every day in the oil sands region -- enough to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes, the report says."

How long will natural gas reserves last? When it starts becoming more scarce, who do these fools think will get priority, them and their 4,500 square foot ranch homes or the gigantic industrial beasts? Solutions, we need solutions. I'm no scientist but even an artsie-fartsie like me can suss out an opportunity when it presents itself. First, retrofitting existing homes to make them more efficient. Much of the vast renovation industry has been based around the purely cosmetic but a home going on the market with upgraded insulation and a high efficiency furnace will have an enhanced value to a wise consumer. But more than that, what about getting off the pipe?

At a depth of six to eight feet, the earth has a constant temperature of 60 to 65 degrees. Geothermal energy is available everywhere. It requires no shipping. It is why your basement only varies a few degrees in temperature all year. The technology exists to exchange the gas pipe for a safer, permanently renewable source of heat. Some smart cookies will be busy developing the technology, installation methods and advertising to create an entirely new growth sector of the economy. There are literally billions to be made in that area alone. Shame that Harper and his special kids are so frightened of innovation and change. Any clever liberal minded types care to start a consortium? Drop me a line.

I am astonished that all of the dunderheads lapping up Harper's widdle and declaring it gravy can't get this very simple notion through their heads, don't shit where you eat. If we continue to pollute we will live with the effects of pollution. They cry about their quality of life, then they wonder why their kids are sickly and suffering from allergies. Eventually that much stupid must be fatal, shame their ignorance will take the lot of us down with 'em.


mikmik said...

It is unfortunate that you have to go to such in depth explanations for the doltmeisters.
Aks them if one of their expenditures, gas or heating, for instance, is beyond their control, so why then should they try to save money at all? If all the debts are not controlled, why bother with any of them?

Red Tory said...

Well put, but of course you're largely preaching to the choir here.

The Left has to stop allowing reactionaries like Harper to dictate the terms of the debate. I quoted a little something over at my place from David Cameron (British Conservative leader) that nicely captures the right sort of approach that doesn't accept the doom and gloom, hardship and sacrifice paradigm that our Conservatives tell us is the only option to the sham they're offering to deal with the issue of AGW.

Happy belated birthday, btw.