Harper: Carbon Pimp to the World

TarSands

The Alberta Tar Sands Show Harper’s Environmental Policy

Global Warming is Real

Across the world, people and environments are feeling the impacts of Global Warming – with increased flooding, storms and droughts. In 3 years (2011 & 2014), Manitoba has been hit by 2 floods, each described as once in 300 year events. The Arctic ice cover is shrinking. The Central Valley of California, which produces much of North America’s fresh fruit and vegetables, is in a 3 year drought. The list goes on.

The world’s scientists, in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), state that “We live in an era of man-made climate change. In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face”. The threats include food shortages, increase in diseases, wars and permanent flooding of low-lying land.

Harper’s Conservatives Increase Carbon Releases

Canada is the 5th largest carbon exporter in the world. Instead of acting to tackle global warming, the Harper government is pushing to increase dramatically Canada’s export of fossil fuels. With the support of many provincial governments, the Conservatives nationally are increasing the production of the open-pit mined coal, fracked natural gas and Tar Sands’ bitumen. All of these are among the most environmentally damaging ways to extract fossil fuels. And when burned, they all add to global warming.

Harper is pushing desperately to get a pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands, the worst environmental disaster on the planet, to anywhere – through BC to the Pacific, across most of Canada to the Atlantic or down to the Gulf of Mexico. Pipelines leak and boats spill oil – it is inevitable. In BC, there are plans for 18 new coal mines and investment of more than $400 million to upgrade five coal terminals. BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are all making a dash for fracked gas – ignoring the serious environmental harm from water waste and contamination, to an increase in earthquakes.

There is a Choice

These problems can seem huge and depressing as politicians and businesses refuse to act on what is probably the worst global crisis that humanity has faced. In fact they are making things worse. Most Canadians care about the environment, yet the federal and provincial governments are doing little or nothing to protect the environment. Instead they give billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industries. Harper has gutted environmental protection laws to help his energy friends.

The biggest barrier to change is the world economic system which relies on a huge and enormously wasteful use of energy and puts short-term profits before the long-term needs of people or the planet.

Yet, there exist well-proven solutions. All of humanity’s energy needs could be met from renewable energy. Buildings can be so well insulated and designed they require little or no space heating. Public transit systems can sharply reduce CO2 releases as well as cutting pollution, saving land and reducing accidents.

The proposed Enbridge pipeline from the Tar Sands to the Pacific coast will cost over $5 billion, but provide less than 250 permanent jobs. This ignores all the jobs lost when the oil spills. If that same money was used for renewable energy, upgrading buildings, transit, etc, it would provide several thousand jobs. The only barrier is that the money is controlled by Enbridge, who only care about their profits not the public’s good or the environment. That is why we need to take the energy industry into public democratic ownership.

Instead of exporting dirty energy, Canada should be investing in clean renewable energy, public transit and insulating buildings. This would create jobs, reduce climate change, save people money and have wide social and environmental benefits.

System Change not Climate Change

After decades of wasted time, the environment is in a worse mess than ever. Big business and their friendly governments have refused to act. We cannot rely on failed politicians, we need to campaign for action.

The biggest barrier to environmental action is capitalism, as the system makes its profits for the 1% by exploiting people and the planet. We pay for their profits in pollution, climate change, loss of bio-diversity, ill health, unemployment and poverty.

Socialist Alternative calls for:

  • Massive public investment in clean renewable energy, building insulation and retrofitting, and energy saving to quickly move to a clean energy system.
  • No to Tar Sands pipelines. Phase out the Tar Sands and nuclear power.
  • Guaranteed jobs and re-training for all workers displaced from fossil fuel and nuclear energy.
  • Invest in public transport to provide comprehensive, low fare, high-speed, and accessible mass transit. Invest in high quality freight and rapid inter-city rail.
  • Take the profit out of energy. Public ownership of the top energy companies to protect jobs and convert them to clean energy.
  • Green jobs to be unionized and well-paid.
  • Capitalism produces poverty, inequality, environmental destruction and war. End Corporate Domination. For people and the planet, not profits.
  • A democratic socialist plan of the economy based on the interests of the overwhelming majority of people and the environment.