We hope you found this article interesting, enough to read to the bottom. Help us publish more in 2022.

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

We’re on a mission to add 650 new monthly supporters to our ranks to help us have another year of impactful journalism – will you join us?

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We’re looking for 650 new monthly supporters to fund our newsroom – are you one of them?

Small independent news media are having a moment – we’re gaining supporters, winning awards, and publishing more impactful journalism than ever. We’re starting to see glimmers of a hopeful future for independent journalism in Canada.

The Tyee works for our readers, because we are funded by you. We don’t lock our articles behind a paywall, and we focus all of our energy into publishing original, in-depth journalism that you won’t read anywhere else. It’s our full-time job because readers pay us to do it.

Over the last two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and publish more than ever. We’re gearing up for another year and we need to know how much we are working with. Thousands of Tyee readers have signed up to support our independent newsroom through our Tyee Builders program, and we’re inviting you to join.

From now until Dec. 31, we’re aiming to bring aboard 650 new monthly supporters to The Tyee to help us do even more in 2022.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
BC Election 2019 Category
Opinion
  |  
Election 2019
  |  
Politics
  |  
Environment

Quit Chastising Brazil, Canada. You’re a Climate Killer, Too

Some want global intervention against ‘rogue’ climate states. That may not end so well for us.

By Mitchell Anderson 30 Aug 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Mitchell Anderson is a freelance writer based in Vancouver and a frequent contributor to The Tyee.

This week, former Liberal cabinet ministers Allan Rock and Lloyd Axworthy wrote an op-ed calling for international intervention to save the Amazon rainforest, now in flames due largely to the reckless policies of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

The two both ask and answer their own question in the Globe and Mail piece.

“Is it acceptable that a single government can unilaterally adopt environmental policies that put millions at risk?” they write. “It is urgent that the international community find ways to influence rogue states whose irresponsible policies accelerate global warming and undermine the collective effort to address the existential threat posed by climate change.”

It’s a comfortably sanctimonious argument, especially from inside the glass house of Canadian climate policy.

Admittedly Bolsonaro is an ogre whose popularity among Brazilians has plummeted since he was elected last year.

But Axworthy and Rock should be careful what they wish for — if the world really was empowered to intervene when rogue states ignore the climate crisis, would we get off easily?

Canada was recently ranked last of the G7 economies in terms of meaningful climate action — tied with the U.S. under Donald Trump. Of all the G20 countries, Canadians produce the most greenhouse gases per capita.

While the Justin Trudeau government touted its pledge of $15 million to fight Amazon wildfires on behalf of the planet, this represents only 0.5 per cent of the $3.3 billion in taxpayer subsidies that Canada shovels at the fossil fuel sector each year.

Didn’t Trudeau promise to end such climate-killing giveaways? The last election seemed so long ago, but voters will soon have another chance to judge his sincerity, or lack thereof.

Local Canadian governance is even more of a climate embarrassment. Ontario Premier Doug Ford just announced the province will appeal its legal loss challenging the constitutionality of federal carbon pricing to the Supreme Court of Canada. The government is well on the way to spending all of the $30 million earmarked for this effort. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are likewise entwined in the same expensive and useless political theatre, tying up scarce court resources in the process.

And $30 million is also the price tag of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s so-called “war room” dedicated to hectoring the many critics of the oil sands and its massive climate footprint.

Will this spin doctoring do anything to staunch the loss of oil sands jobs? No, because the companies, acknowledging the collapsing demand for the world’s most expensive oil, have told their shareholders they’re committed to an ever-tighter embrace of job shedding automation.

Bitumen extraction now employs only 0.1 per cent of the Canadian workforce — fewer people than green energy — produces 11 per cent of national carbon emissions and some years results in less provincial revenue than booze and gambling.

Canada remains on track to miss yet another international climate commitment. Under the Paris Agreement we pledged to cut emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Instead, they are likely to exceed that target by about 40 per cent.

While the Liberals have shockingly little climate progress to show, the political alternative is even worse. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who may well become an accidental prime minister due to the ineptitude of Justin Trudeau, has a climate plan so vague it will result in even more inaction.

Smaller parties that are serious about the issue remained sidelined by our antiquated first-past-the-post voting system. (Didn’t Trudeau promise to fix that too?)

The Green Party is giddy it may elect six members of Parliament while drawing over 10 per cent of progressive voters. The NDP likewise has a solid climate platform but could lose every seat in Quebec. Why? Because its leader has a dark complexion and wears a turban in a province where two-thirds of voters support the provincial ban on religious symbols worn by public servants.

There always seems something more politically pressing than saving the planet — carbon tax theatre in Ontario, Ottawa-bashing in Alberta, outright racism in Quebec. Elsewhere in the world, Bolsonaro insults the attractiveness of the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron and demands an apology before accepting international aid to fight Amazonian fires originating from his policies. Trump claims that windmills cause cancer.

Meanwhile the Amazon burns and Greenland loses 55 billion tons of ice in five days. Nothing to see here, keep moving along.

They say that all politics is local, but our problems are increasingly global. The jarring disconnect between so-called world leaders and what is happening the real world is almost comical.

Bolsonaro, Ford and Trump are egged on by their entourage of political bean counters (or the voices in their heads) pontificating on tactical advantage over their opponents, as if that was the most important thing.

Politics continues to utterly fail in meeting the existential threat of a destabilized climate. Our exploding human agency leaves us philosophically unprepared for the present, let alone the future.

For all the Liberal party posturing on the eve of a federal election, Canada remains one of the worst global climate offenders. Blaming others in an effort to distract voters from your own inaction is the opposite of leadership.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities

Do:

  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll