Monday, February 12, 2007


Mr. Willcocks,
Two questions. What is the point of cutting our per capital energy consumption in half if we turn around and double our population? What is the point of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 20% but grow the economy by another 20% so that all of things that emit gases exist in greater numbers?
In 1996 Tony Blair introduced a bold plan to slash greenhouse emissions by 20% over ten years. The result? Greenhouse gas emissions actually increased 3% over that 10 year period. Why? Individual cars and individual factories, thanks to his tough regulations, were spewing less noxious gases alright, but thanks to economic growth and the population growth that fuels it, the NUMBER of cars and factories increased during that period to erase any gains his stringent standards made. As a result, 80 British MPs signed a document to the effect that the only way that we could combat climate change was to abandon the paradigm of Economic Growth.
The social democrats in Victoria and Ottawa believe that they are on the cutting edge of change. But they are committed to Economic Growth. Case in point. The environment critic for the BC NDP, Shane Simpson, has the environmental literacy of a car salesman. He has no concept of biodiversity services, limiting factors or carrying capacity. He is an urbanite who has never hiked a mountain trail or been on a marsh and wouldn't know a red-winged black-bird from a barn-owl. His line is "managed growth". Growth for him is never something you limit, or stop. It's something you steer, deflect or "manage". He boasts of his environmentalist credentials but in fact he was the director of communications for "SmartGrowthBC", in other words, he is a developer with a green hat. For him, and for the NDP, oxymorons like "managed growth", "sustainable growth” and "smart growth" suffice to explain irreconcilable conflicts. "Smart growth"? What's next? "Smart pollution"? "Smart urban sprawl"?, "Smart extinctions"?.
Mr. Willcocks my point is that you cannot graft a green agenda onto a political party committed to economic growth. The window dressing may look impressive, but it does not disguise the fact that this party, like all the others, is leading down the wrong direction. And I say that as a man who has been an NDP member for 39 years

PS Climate change is the flavour of the month. Global warming is sexy. It's the one environmental issue that's finally grabbed everyone's attention. But why doesn't anyone talk about biodiversity loss and how lethal that will prove to humanity? That's been underway for some time now and the consequences will hit us sooner.(Talk to biologist Neil Dawe of the Qualicum Institute). Then there is Peak Oil and Natural Gas depletion. Look out for that. Its like we are driving down a highway cut by three canyons. Fifty miles down is the full impact of global warming. But twenty miles down is total habitat loss and the loss of biodiversity services. Then, maybe, just a few miles away we may run into devastating Oil and Natural Gas depletion---a disaster for us but maybe a respite for the environment. Our politicians haven't even the slightest grasp of the dire nature of our predicament. No wonder people on the Internet have given up on them and are talking survivalism---building bunkers and provisioning them with food and munitions in remote areas. That's not a sensible option for me. I can only vent my frustrations to people like you and send emails to the folks in the legislature and parliament who routinely ignore me.

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