Last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood at the podium with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott to announce that dealing with climate change will not come at the expense of crippling the economy.
Harper told the press that he and Abbott would be calling on the leaders of India, United Kingdom and New Zealand to follow in their footsteps and join their fight (to do nothing).
Harper told the press that he and Abbott were just being honest and that no leader really wanted to take action on climate change if it meant the loss of jobs or a hit to their economy.
The U.K. prime minister's office was quick to distance themselves from the Harper/Abbott proposal issuing a statement within hours saying they wanted nothing to do with such a proposed anti-climate alliance. New Zealand did the same.
In what may just be coincidental timing, China and the U.K. have announced today that not only are the two countries committed to action on climate change, but that they want to "redouble" efforts to fight what they call one of the "greatest global challenges we face."
Couple this with United States President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing game-changing new regulations on climate emissions from coal plants in the United States (that country's single largest source of greenhouse gas) and you can start to see just how out of step Stephen Harper is with the rest of the world.
This fall, the head of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, will be holding a summit on climate change in New York, which precedes a series of talks by global leaders that will culminate in a summit next year in Paris, where we could see a new global pact to tackle climate change.
All signs show that this global agreement will be different. With extreme weather events becoming "the new normal" there is a sense of urgency beginning to emerge among big global players like China.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that he is just being honest when he says that no leader wants to take action on climate change if it means an economic hit. It appears that his theory is not bearing out in reality.
The costs of extreme weather brought on by inaction on climate change far outweigh the benefits of ignoring the issue. The solutions in the form of renewable energy technology are also a lucrative industry, so while Stephen Harper may be being honest, he is surely being short-sighted.
And this short-sightedness is quickly eroding Canada's place on the world stage as a convener and moderate voice on global issues.
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Amid the snow and cold temperatures last month Boris Johnson joined the climate change debate, firmly planting his skeptic staff in the ice. "I see from the BBC website that there are scientists who say that "global warming" is indeed the cause of the cold and snowy winters we seem to be having. A team of Americans and Chinese experts have postulated that the melting of the Arctic ice means that the whole North Atlantic is being chilled as the floes start to break off — like a Martini refrigerated by ice cubes "I merely observe that there are at least some other reputable scientists who say that it is complete tosh, or at least that there is no evidence to support it."
Founder of The Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lord Lawson, who memorably referred to Al Gore as "obviously just a propagandist", called reports that the floods were influenced by global warming as "absurd" and previously stated: "Global warming is a new religion and blasphemy against that religion is not a laughing matter," "While satellite observations do indeed confirm that the extent of arctic sea ice has been declining over the past 30 years, the same satellite observations show that, overall, Antarctic sea ice has been expanding over the same period."
While the Prime Minister has unequivocally acknowledged the presence of climate change, the Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs, Owen Paterson, appears to still need convincing… "People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries “It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas. “The temperature has not changed in the last seventeen years"
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, who describes himself as a “global lukewarmist”, surprisingly sits on the government’s Energy and Climate Change Committee – here are his views in a nutshell: "The simple fact is that, since the beginning of this century, the average global temperature has flatlined; indeed, over the past 18 months it has fallen back, and according to the satellite measurements of temperature, it is now basically back at the level it was in 1979, when such measurements started to be taken."
Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis is another of the Conservative party to emit climate change skepticism, and once denounced wind farms as looking "like props from War of the Worlds". Davis claimed that temperatures are in fact cooling not warming and that scientists were "conspiring to rig the figures to support their theories".
Douglas Carswell, once a staunch supporter of climate change has now gone cold on the issue. The Clacton MP said backing the Climate Change Act in 2008 was his “biggest regret”. “I once shared the view that mankind was involved in changing the climate. I’m much more skeptical about that now, “When I was a member of Friends of the Earth, I did believe human CO2 emissions were responsible for global warming. It's just that the facts seem to have changed. And so I've changed my mind.”
Ok he's probably not a climate sceptic, but Osborne certainly hasn't done much to push his green credentials. Ahead of the Tory Party Conference, the Chancellor revealed a crack in his Climate Change support, when he stated "I want to provide for the country the cheapest energy possible, consistent with having it reliable, in other words as a steady supply." Osborne has previously stated: "We're not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let's at the very least resolve that we're going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe."
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