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Drive Only Enough

The politics surrounding climate change have caused some political turmoil in these parts over the past few days. Garth Turner, a Conservative Party Member of Pariliament, has been booted from the party for repeatedly writing opinions on his blog that don’t gel with the party line. One of those opinions is a strong support of action related to climate change, along with the sin of speaking positively about the new leader of the Canadian Green Party, Elizabeth May.

As I have stated, climate change is a defining issue, and this is a landmark time for a generational government. Either we will rise to the challenge, or we will not.

These words are not particularly earth shattering, unless you are familiar with the environmental record of the current Canadian government thus far. This is definitely not the party line. Let’s see if Mr. Turner decides to join another party where his political experience and views on this issue will be more appreciated.

Less heartening are the slew of climate change skeptics slathering Turner’s blog entry with the same tired, long-disproven arguments. Those arguments only work when you have a cursory understanding of historical climate patterns and the true intensity of the changes we are now seeing, and will soon experience. Wanting something to be baloney doesn’t make it so.

Meanwhile, Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, is never one to remain silent for long. He’s attacking the new Conservative Party Clean Air Act for “letting polluters off the hook”. Considering the plan will not take effect until 2010, and seems to only vaguely promise to look into the “feasiblity” of cutting greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2050, I pretty much have to agree with Layton’s assessment.

It’s simply way too little, too late. We cannot afford to wait 4 years before we do anything, never mind 44 years before we accomplish anything significant. Anyone with an understanding of the problems we face can see that this is ridiculous. Even as the house burns down around us we are discussing whether we should purchase a fire extinguisher next month, or continue saving for a big screen television. I find this infuriating.

As our elected government dithers on the biggest issue we will face in a century, even the CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) is urging Canadians to drive less, in part to slow climate change. If an organization with such a vested interest in supporting our auto-centric culture can admit there is a problem, and even go so far as to recommend “a change of behavior and mindset,” perhaps there is hope for the rest of our society as well.

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