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The Canary's Song Remains Unheard in Copenhagen

By       Message David Model       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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According to President Obama, the agreement reached at the Copenhagen Summit was an "unprecedented and meaningful breakthrough." Desperately seeking a political victory to restore faith in his presidency, his words were "full of sound and fury signifying nothing." The agreement was a sham in which developing countries were pressured into approving a set of terms which set a 2% target while many scientists are calling for a 1.5% target. The cutbacks have no legal force, and, in fact, will lead to at least to a 3% increase in greenhouse emissions.

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Climate change is one of three major global exigencies desperately exhorting leaders in North America and around the globe to agree to an efficacious viable solution. The other two are the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia; and the economic crisis which threatens to destabilize and cripple the global economy.

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A number of common threads run through the core of these crises. Most obvious is the egregious, nefarious power of major corporations that dominate policy decision-making almost to the point of securing a monopoly. There is no question that the coal and petroleum industries both in Canada and the United States have exerted a tremendous amount of energy to restrict government decisions to policies which avert any actions that might reduce their profits.

The triumph of fossil fuel industries over future generations is evident in the continued search for coal and oil. In the United States, coal companies are blowing the tops off mountains in the Appalachian range to mine for coal in order to expand the use of coal for generating power despite the fact that coal releases twice the greenhouse emissions as other fossil fuels. In addition, U.S. military interventions recently served the purpose of gaining control over oil and natural gas reserves to secure their availability for many years to come.

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Canada could win the prize for the nation least concerned about the use of fossil fuels by opening up the tar sands for the extraction of oil. Not only is this source of oil dirty and expensive, but as well, the tar sands should confer the dubious honor on Canada as number one in the world in oil reserves opening the way for the use of fossil fuels for generations. Canada's plethora of oil and natural gas is only exceeded by its generosity in sharing its riches with other countries, including the United States, of course, for a price.

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I have been a professor of political science at Seneca College in Toronto. I have published five books the last of which "Selling Out: Consuming Ourselves to Death" was released in May/08. As well, I have been featured in CounterPunch, Z (more...)

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