Friday, December 18, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

As I write this letter we are on the eve of an economic disaster as the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Cop15 Copenhagen) is within hours of concluding. Most agree there is a need to be responsible toward our planet’s environment. Yes, climate change is taking place as it has for billions of years. Many believe we humans are partly the cause of climate change as it regards the so-called greenhouse gas emissions we emit from our individual carbon footprints. Well, that may or may not be the case as environmentalists and scientists from around the world continue to hold conflicting conclusions over the issue. The western, capitalist, developed nations like Canada and the United States are claimed to be at the root of the problem. One thing is sure, the vast majority of people in the developed nations of the world like Canada are not prepared to surrender their lifestyle to save planet earth, assuming that is even possible.

Cop 15 has been a disaster. Finger pointing, name-calling and over the top demonstrations have been the highlights to this point. It is a highly charged political event that will produce no long term, meaningful solution to address matters regarding climate change. I am fearful those world leaders, many of whom have little regard for anything other than their vested interests and many whom hate the west and capitalism, will end up costing the developed nations billions of dollars. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, announced the US will try to mobilize a $100 billion a year fund for climate aid for poor countries by the year 2020. The Canadian government is likely to commit funds as well since it has been targeted as a sort of rogue nation regarding climate change. These are the early signs of what may come out of Cop15 and it will likely get worse.

The cost to individuals in countries like Canada and the US will be staggering reaching thousands of dollars for each person over the next few short years. Productivity will be affected and jobs may be lost. The tar sands and conventional oil may be dramatically changed and our economy may stagnate as we send money to poor countries from our reduced energy revenues. We will be further burdened in an attempt to real in our emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. It has always been this way. Only the rich can help the poor, but when it makes the rich poor as well, then all is lost. The potential for an environmental problem to create an economic disaster is a real and imminent danger.

Keep this in mind; a barrel of oil emits nothing into the atmosphere. The reality is that four fifths of a barrel of oil is emitted into the atmosphere when you pump it through the exhaust pipe of your vehicle. Further, there are more human carbon footprints as the population increases. Even breathing is a harmful emission into our atmosphere. So are you prepared to drive a small economic vehicle and commit to fewer children as holding your breath strikes me as an extreme solution? Canada is apparently committed to reducing our emissions by 20% by the year 2020. It won’t happen. Immigrants to Canada will hamper the 20% target over the next ten years. Are you prepared to close our borders to immigrants? Well, maybe you could at least sell off your investments in energy that partly fuels the energy sector in western Canada.
Good will hunting Canadian politicians attending this conference will be held partially responsible if Cop15 Copenhagen becomes an economic disaster for all of Canada. This is one time I would like to be wrong in my assessment of an issue. Who knows, maybe I am!