04 January 2007

Climate Change: Ice Rinks & Ice Shelves Up North, Time for Change, eh?

I played hockey pretty much year-round through the second decade of my life, and nothing was more irksome than sloppy ice. I remember some warm winters (not as many as in recent years)when the surface ice melted and we'd practically be playing pond hockey. Or summer hockey where, during a break in the game, each team would pile onto the ice and skate around to get the fog to lift. In a word, it sucked.

Well, perhaps Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is tired of his home ice slopping around for, in a move that comes fast on news confirming the breaking off of the Ayles ice shelf -- one of Canada's great northern natural features -- Harper has announced his government will "do more to combat climate change after he moved his environment minister out of her portfolio amid growing concern about global warming," according to AP.
"We've clearly determined that we need to do more on the environment," Harper said after removing Rona Ambrose as environment minister. "We recognize that, particularly when it comes to clean air and climate change, that Canadians expect a lot more."

Harper's Conservative government -- which draws most of its support from oil-rich Alberta and other western provinces -- has been criticized for effectively pulling out of the Kyoto protocol, which requires 35 industrialized countries to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases that act like a greenhouse trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Under the Kyoto accord, Canada pledged to cut its emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. But the country's emissions are now more than 30 percent above 1990 levels.

The Conservative government unveiled its own plan to combat climate change last year, but it was criticized because it had greenhouse-gas reduction targets as far ahead in the future as 2050.

According to the AP story, Treasury Board President John Baird was sworn in Thursday as the new Environment Minister. Ambrose is now Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. Harper also made other changes to his cabinet as he looked ahead to the likely election.

Last September, Mr. Baird spoke about the environment, curiously in Ambrose's stead, following the release of a report by the commissioner of the environment, Johanne Galinas.

An article in the CBC suggested that the report was critical of the Canadian Liberal government for "failing to adequately address the issue during their 13 years in power, and called on the current government to adopt aggressive new policies to cope with climate change."

In the press conference Harper strongly suggested the Liberals had wasted Canadians' time on the environment, when he said "the Tories inherited an environmental portfolio left in a 'shocking mess,' which required months of work to clean up."

And, in a brilliant salvo, offered that "The Liberal record is great for events planners and travel agents," he said. "It did nothing to improve the lives of Canadians." Lets see if Harper and Baird can do more than just blow hot air and crack witty quips. Will it be a pad save for the environment?

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Photograph attributed to James Ballantyne/Library and Archives Canada/PA-133406. Copyright - nil

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The previous Liberal government did indeed do very little, but it did introduce some programs that were achieving results. The new Conservative government cancelled most of them, and replaced them with a 50-year wishlist.