Good Sunday Morning – January 23

Thanks to so many regular readers of GSM who replied to last week’s message that they were getting in comments to Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault. I will report once I know how much we may have boosted the level of public participation in the last week.  I am really pleased with the Green Party of Canada submission.

In 15 pages, we set out the flaws in the current government fixation on “net zero by 2050” as though achieving the 2050 target will meet our Paris commitment to holding to as far below 2 degrees C global average temperature increase as possible, and preferably to no more than 1.5 degrees C.  It will not.  We also elaborate on strategies to hold to 1.5 degrees.  We do not sugar coat the message.  We close by urging the minister to “look up.”

Our letter calls out as close to fraudulent the technology of carbon capture and storage – or increasingly referred to as “CCUS” – carbon capture utilization and storage.   A group of more than four hundred experts and scientists wrote the government on January 19 to oppose proposed tax incentives for this failed technology.  Their letter points out that CCUS will perpetuate the oil and gas sector, as well as being used as an excuse to blow past our carbon budget with the false promise of sucking back carbon later.

Their strongly worded, well-researched letter confirms the Green Party’s rejection of promoting this technology with ever more federal subsidies: “Put simply, rather than replacing fossil fuels, carbon capture prolongs our dependence on them at a time when preventing catastrophic climate change requires winding down fossil fuel use. Relying on CCUS preserves status quo fossil fuel development, which must be curtailed to meet global climate commitments. Introducing a tax credit for CCUS for the energy sector will lock-in continued dependence on Canada’s largest and most rapidly growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, numerous modelling studies show that Canada is not on track to meet its climate change targets and this is in part due to Canada’s current approach of leaning too much on short-term solutions that promote more efficient use of fossil fuels.”

If you need more inspiration, watch this brilliant short youtube with George Monbiot – and, yes clips from “Don’t Look Up.”

Please share on social media. Please focus on the hopeful message at the end. We need to strike up conversations. We need to shift society with positive change – hitting the human tipping point where we save ourselves.

All of these points, and the consultation itself, provide good grist to the mill for letters to the editor of papers across Canada. Let’s stir things up and increase pressure for Canada to ramp up our commitment to avoiding the more catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. We DO have time to avert disaster. Just look up!

Meanwhile, the world’s attention is increasingly turned to the threat of military action along the border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  There seems to be a gathering media assumption that something really bad is about to happen.  (Reminding me of the media assumption that everyone will get omicron, and that somehow it is not a big deal.) The UK and the US are sending defensive military aid to Ukraine.

Our foreign affairs minister Melanie Joly was in Ukraine this week as pressure mounts for Canada to send military aid. I hope we do not. All efforts should be focused on diplomatic solutions.

Few voices seem to question to assumption that (as our prime minister put it) Putin is looking for an excuse to invade. One of those voices is UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who began his second term focusing on the pandemic and on the climate crisis.  He also expressed his opinion that Russia would not invade.

At the end of 2021, another sceptical voice was that of Gwynne Dyer who compared the alarming rhetoric of imminent invasion with a reference to the Hollywood dark comedy, “Wag the dog.”

My dear friend and great Green MP, Paul Manly, brought this article to my attention.

It provides a welcome context for the current crisis.  We need to remember the extent of US intervention in what was essentially a coup in Ukraine in 2014.  I raised it in the House at the time and received very harsh push-back, but the intercepted conversations from the White House made it very clear. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape. As this story relates: “She can be heard on an intercepted call telling the American ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, that Arseniy Yatsenyuk is America’s choice to replace Yanukovych (and he did). Most importantly, Pyatt refers to the West needing to ‘midwife this thing,’ a metaphorical admission of America’s role in leading the coup.”

Certainly, the voices for diplomacy could be wrong.  Putin could be bent on invasion. It is really easy to assume the worst of Putin. He is awful. But this is dangerous escalation in rhetoric. Does Russia really want to invade? And why are we so silent about the worrying trends in Ukraine, the glorification of Nazis and the growth of right-wing ultra-nationalism?   We as Greens need to hold to our core values, including the commitment to peace and non-violence. It will be where I stand when the House resumes on January 31.

Speaking of which, yesterday, January 22, was the first anniversary of the coming into force of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  We must continue to press our government to sign and ratify the treaty. See the ICAN website for details:

Thank you again to everyone who attended yesterday’s SGI Green Party AGM! It was great!  Especially thanks to special guests – President Lorraine Rekmans and MP Mike Morrice.  I hope to have the links to the tape of the whole AGM to share it next week for those who missed it!

With much love to you all. Stay well and be safe!


Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens