Friday, December 11, 2009

Copenhagen Two: Canada - Sweden Comparison

I think making spurious comparisons between Canada and Sweden lacks integrity or worse, common sense, worse still, risks insulting the intelligence of our audience. We cannot expect people to be sophisticated enough to understand the climate change model and its factors and yet fall for the Canada - Sweden comparaison. (quoted below at the bottom)

1) Canada, en masse, as a cultural unit did not endorse tarsands development. A few corporations with enormous capital resources and unprecedented influence acquired by determination and hard work have developed tarsands. The millions of voters who did not endorse tarsands should not (forgive me) be tarred with the same brush.

The nature of Sweden's economy and industrial base is significantly different from Canada's resource based economy. A "9 % reduction" there is like saying "Heidi KLum lost 3 lbs over Christmas and looks fabulous, why can't you look like her?" A spurious comparison.

2) Sweden cut it's oil consumption by 50% in the last 30 years.
Relatively easy when 40% of your population lives in 5% of your country area (the Oresund region) and 85% live in urban areas overall. But the most dominant characteristic is the sheer size of Canada. Victoria to St Johns is 6,327 kms. Malmo to the border of Finland is only 800kms.

Significantly, when all our food is distributed by diesel truck and when Greyhound cut its diesel consumption hugely this year, but only by cutting service to distant communities, you realize that you can't do that with food distribution. But Sweden can achieve a 50% reduction merely by putting in a decent commuter bus/train system, which it did.

3) Sweden has a carbon tax and a vision for an oil free economy by 2020;
This is aspirational and therefore spurious. BC has a carbon tax too, and a vision, so what?

4) Canada has no plan for meeting its breathtakingly irrelevant targets.
Sweden's government is 400 years old. Canada's is 144 yrs old.

Sweden's government is such that plans can be implemented without much opposition. In concert with their physical geography, merely having a a plan is a lot easier than in Canada's case. The challenges faced by a young nation like Canada rich in resource wealth but sparsely populated is greater than an e-mail can cover.
Notwithstanding that, even publishing targets in a democratic nation like ours or the USA is political suicide. The media is owned by corporate interests with cronies ion the energy sector. The opposition, rightly champions the labour sector, making "relevant" targets unpopular.

This Climate Change challenge requires a huge leap forward in educational terms.
Sending out mis-information and ridiculious comparisons like the one below will only weaken our position with PM Harper et al.

The G20 can't go non-fossil overnight. Western Canada remains one of th eworld's largest repositories of energy resources: oil, gas, coal, hydro. That makes it an easy target, but Western Canada is not the problem. The 6.2 BILLION people in the world are the problem.

The Canada - Sweden Comparison e-mail:
(1) It's true!
Sweden has managed to reduce it's emissions 9 percent below 1990 levels; Canada's emissions are approximately 25 percent above 1990 levels!
Sweden has cut it's use of oil by nearly 50 percent since the early 1980's; Canada has made promoting dirty oil from the tar sands its raison d'ĂȘtre.
Sweden has a carbon tax and a vision for an oil free economy by 2020; Canada has no plan for meeting its breathtakingly irrelevant targets.

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