The deadly bromide: “Growing the economy while protecting the environment.”
Many years ago, I was once counselled by a climate justice activist: “Never vote against yourself.” Words matter. Now, at a time of unprecedented climate emergency ask, “Does this proposed growth support life or destroy it?”
Fossil fuel expansion does ‘grow’ the Canadian economy, but it always leads us further away from sustainability, climate justice, and a liveable future for our children. In an unprecedented global climate emergency, support for fossil fuel expansion is knowingly criminal: a Crime Against Humanity.
There is no way to sugar-coat this: these politicians are climate criminals. They are not protecting your family and friends. They are destroying our children’s future. It really doesn’t matter whether they are motivated by some sincerely held but perverse economic myth. They either know or ought to know that in an unprecedented climate emergency you cannot keep dumping greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere: this is criminal behaviour
Growing the economy by promoting, subsidizing, and expanding climate-killing greenhouse gasses is not protecting the environment. Even though we are awash in oil and fracked gas, our major political parties tell us we must expand production to protect jobs and to finance our way to a green future. This argument is pure sophistry.
To fuel a green economy, Canada has several near-zero energy sources; existing nuclear energy, hydro, solar, geothermal, ocean energy, and onshore and offshore wind. The cost of energy is plummeting. At the same time, by electrifying everything, every sector of the Canadian economy is promising to become more sustainable. These developments are not occurring because of extractive industry subsidization, but in spite of it. The massive subsidies to promote and expand fossil energy is money not invested in renewables and our green future. It is money not invested in a just transition for workers, trapped in the extractivism morass.But most important of all, climate criminals are increasing the time delay in mitigating global weirding.
Because time is of the essence. Climate scientists warn that we have only till 2030 to reduce emissions to 1.5 degrees C, the point where we will have a 50% chance to avoid climate Armageddon. Canada’s per capita emissions, among the highest in the world, continue to rise.
Climate scientists tell us we are in a global climate emergency; that without immediate action, we face omnicide. Climate scientists say we have to leave carbon stored safely in the ground. Climate scientists tell us that our permafrost is starting to melt; that irreversible feedback loops are now a real possibility. Climate scientists tell us we cannot ‘negotiate’ with science. After all, reality is reality.
It’s up to us to take every opportunity to expose climate criminals. It is up to us to use every means at our disposal to demand climate action now. But above all, it is up to us to only support politicians who support life.