Conserve, and the world will follow
Almost all big international issues have many sides, whether it’s the euro zone debt crisis, Iran’s nuclear aspirations or the Arab Spring.
Yet among world leaders and environmental pressure groups, we have something close to a consensus — climate change is the big environmental issue and it can only be approached from the top down with government leading the charge.
May I suggest, in the name of the environment, we reopen the debate?
Despite the consensus of the elites, their approach has been met with failure after failure. According to UBS, Europe’s cap-and-trade system has already cost $287 billion with no impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Europe’s goal of replacing 10% of their transportation fuel with renewable energy has encouraged developing countries to level rainforests to grow palm trees for oil which can then be turned into European bio diesel.
Big emitters like the United States, China and India have stayed out of any international agreements until now and Canada has been regularly savaged as a laggard.
The fragility of the world economy means countries are reluctant to take on emissions targets that could further delay economic recovery.
Meanwhile, some climate scientists in a very public way have been caught, let’s call it “exaggerating” information to support their position.
It’s no wonder the public is questioning the science, the approach, the cost and the stunning lack of results.
Instead, why not start with what the public already agrees with? The true public consensus is that we need to tackle pollution, protect endangered species and preserve wilderness. The public is frustrated with smog days, polluted water, fished-out oceans and drained wetlands. They are already onside with conservation. In fact, millions of people already belong to conservation organizations of one kind or another.
The happy coincidence is that if we do a better job of conserving, then we inevitably tackle greenhouse gas emissions as a byproduct of those efforts.
For instance, if we move to transportation fuels that reduce air pollution, we also cut GHGs, often dramatically.
During the Manitoba election, the severe flooding along the Red and Assiniboine rivers caused all three party leaders to muse about paying farmers to return farmland back to wetlands to mitigate flooding. Wetlands also provide habitat for all kinds of plants and animals as well as recreation for hunters, fishermen and hikers while cleaning the water and absorbing enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. Those so-called ecological services save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The EU spends $287 billion and has nothing to show for it, while every day local conservation groups make the world a better place a few thousand dollars at a time. Imagine if the EU billions went to reforesting the rainforests they’ve helped denude around the world.
The conservation message resonates with people of all political stripes.
In fact, it is often conservative-minded hunters, farmers, fishermen, campers and hikers who lead the charge in promoting conservation with their own time, money and property.
If world leaders made conservation the priority, they would gain millions of allies on their way to resolving our biggest environmental problems.http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/01/07/c ... ill-follow