Thursday, May 10, 2007

(Rant) - We're All Gonna Die

If the world's environmental scientists are correct that the world faces disaster if we don't avert global warming, then we're all going to die.

We are doing nothing. Less than nothing - we're dicking around with irrelevant policies, having arguments, getting into partisan bickering matches - while greenhouse gas emissions continue to go up, up, up.

We pat ourselves on the back for having hybrid car technology while the average fuel efficiency of new cars purchased in North America continues to fall. That's right: year on year, average mileage continues to get worse.

New housing is built with insufficient eaves or attic venting so that air conditioning is required. The widespread use of home air conditioning in Canada is crazy, and yet it grows.

Subdivisions proliferate that make efficient public transit impossible. Zoning allows store placement to require long car trips.

We blame China for pollution, even though Chinese pollution is only high in absolute terms, not per capita terms, and much of the pollution is generated from manufacturing - China is producing all the cheap disposable consumer crap that we cycle through our lives at increasing speed. It is North American consumers who are responsible for pollution caused by Chinese manufacturing.

The only way we're going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by raising fuel prices. But there is absolutely no public support for raising fuel prices. Just the opposite - citizens all over North America are hopping mad about "sky-high gas prices" and demanding government action to reduce them.

Everyone's blaming Jean Chretien for not doing more to meet our Kyoto targets, but he governed at a time when voters didn't want environmental action. Now voters are starting to panic and they want something to be done, but they still have their eye on that shiny new SUV and they still want to commute 100 kilometers a day.

Europe has done its part and led the way. It is North America that seems hell-bent on destroying the world.


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