Premier Campbell, Hansen, Schellenhuber and Copenhagen
By Bill Henderson
14 December 2009

What can we do as the politicos seal a bad deal at Copenhagen? Make an example of one of them, punish one of them either at Copenhagen or after to help clear the way to the real deal we urgently need. My example is a minor Canadian premier but as  Monbiot pointed out Canuck politicos (but not our activists) are big problems at Copenhagen.

Premier Campbell was on CBC Radio's The House talking climate change before he leaves for Copenhagen. The host didn't ask any hard questions - How about some hard questions for our Premier at Copenhagen?

Why? Because Campbell is a delayer limiting emission reduction to only what is possible within the present economics and politics, the epitome of the political leaders that will 'negotiate' a bad deal at Copenhagen even though they know the science and should know better. "The latest scientific research on climate change is extremely disturbing. We have a real emergency. Yet the gap between science and policy keeps widening, as does the gap between the negotiations and the urgency of the issue.

"Science indicates that the global temperature increase should be limited to 1 or 2 degrees Celsius. World leaders endorsed this view at the G-8 meeting in Italy in July. Even with that limit, major destruction, including the disappearance of most of the world’s coral reefs, is likely. "Yet policy compromises agreed to by negotiators involved in the Copenhagen talks virtually guarantee a temperature increase of around 4 degrees Celsius well into the catastrophic risk range." GORBACHEV

Consider this emission reduction graph: The graph is from Schellnhuber's worth-your-time slide show here:

2C trajectories Schellnhuber.jpg (38452 bytes)

We (Canada, US, Aus, global 'middle class') need to reduce our emissions by nearly 100% by before 2020 in order to have only a good probability (67%) of not exceeding 2C.

You can read the full WBGU report explaining the math it's basically in agreement with all of the research papers that have come out in the past year on a carbon budget needed to escape dangerous climate change, most notably: Meinshausen et al and Allen et al.

Over the past two years since the introduction of BC's emission reduction policies the cutting edge science also includes James Hansen's melting Arctic as tipping point to dangerous climate change hypothesis [pdf] with his call for new targets based not on 2C - 450 ppm but less than 1C 0 350 ppm.

Has Premier Campbell changed, deepened the emission reduction targets in line with the new science? No. In fact the Climate Secretariat and mitigation policy and implementation have been shuffled out of the priority level in Campbell's government. Has Campbell lead in making the public and other leaders aware of this new science and the need for deeper targets? Resoundingly no - in fact, it looks suspiciously like he has lost interest in climate change.

What happened? "(H)ow do you assess a premier who defines climate change as an enormous threat to mankind, then loses interest within 24 months?" Paul Willcocks

Some would paint Premier Campbell as a serial enthusiast for issues that interest him who then moves on, but I think the more reasonable portrait is of a skilled politician who recognizes potential politically dangerous issues and then proactively acts to neutralize the possible political danger by embracing the issue with effective containment. Campbell is an example of politicians stick handling climate change, and now he is an example of our supposed leaders heading for Copenhagen to get in the way of needed change.

David Spratt, an Australian climate activist and co-author of Climate Code Red, blames apathy on "a systemic political under-estimation of the seriousness of the problem … Because governments are not honest with themselves about the size and urgency of the problem, they necessarily transmit a shallow view of the problem to the electorate, who follow suit in seeing climate as an incremental problem. Voters are sold a show-bag of dinky policy actions on climate as 'solving the problem', and they reasonably conclude the problem can't be all that serious. Much of the climate advocacy lobby is guilty of the same incapacity."
This is our Premier Campbell and since climate change is so deadly serious yet so marginalized by our business controlled governments most Canadians remain profoundly mis-educated and we do less than nothing at great expense to future generations.

Check out my take on Campbell (Climate Change and the 21010 Olympics) and then you tell me I'm wrong and then consider what we can do about it.


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