Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Going a different shade of green

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Miro Certenig, Vancouver Sun

It now appears the premier is listening to business and will slow down the implementation of CO2 reduction targets.

Well, of course. Campbell depends on contributions from businesses to run in 2009. And the biggest emitters are the biggest contributors.

Some notably generous backers of the Liberals last year included Brookfield Asset Management ($50,000), Elk Valley Coal Corp. ($56,000), EnCana ($56,000), Goldcorp ($78,700), Teck Cominco Ltd. ($68,180), Teck Cominco Metals ($50,000) and Telus ($52,580).

It is much more important to Campbell that he get himself and his party re-elected than anything else. And he obviously feels he owes his paymasters much more attention than anything as trivial as doing something even remotely effective at tackling one of the biggest issues facing humanity. Climate change does not endanger the planet. That will still be here and will slowly adapt. That process of adaptation of course does not take account of our desires – including those of wealthy industrialists. It is not the planet that is under threat – it is us, humans.

Of course, sensible people – of all walks of life – noting change around them, also try to adapt. Most of what they are trying to do has been well ahead of the business community – and therefore ahead of the government too. And there is not usually much willingness to listen to their opinions. After all they only provide votes – and those can be manipulated by all sorts of methods. Mostly lying. One exception was their recent spirited defence of a provincial park. Would that there were more such examples.

And, it is also worth noticing, some businesses are also adapting. They are the leaders – and they will still be in business long after the enterprises that survive only because they are propped up by subsidies and tax breaks have gone to the wall. There is usually a competitive advantage in being among the first to adapt to changing market conditions. Toyota has now overtaken GM – and for good reason.

Of course when the Godfathers summon you, and start making their offers you cannot refuse, it is a bit dangerous to suggest their operating methods may need to adjust to reflect changing times. Corporations behave in antisocial ways. Behaviour like that among individuals would be regarded as psychotic. But politicians like Campbell have been loosening the restraints on businesses, claiming that is good for us. Of course it isn’t. And any sensible measure will show that we have regressed in recent decades. Wealth has been made, but concentrated into very few hands. The social and environmental cost of this shift has been huge – and is generally ignored by the politicians.

The economy is a subsidiary of the environment – not the other way round. Environmental impact is important – ask any salmon fisherman. The people who insist on business as usual may make money in the short run but they are condemning all of us to a faster demise. And a politician who has the courage to make that the central plank of the 2009 campaign is likely to do rather better than one who is clearly in the pockets of the polluters.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 21, 2008 at 7:39 am

Posted in Environment, politics

One Response

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  1. gordon ( the gargler) campbell is to be on the bill good show tommorrow( april 22) to discuss his provincial initiatives—I urge callers to ask tough questions ( providing bill good lets any tough calls through) —-generally campbell gets liberals to stack the phone lines, to praise and laud his ideas!—

    grant g

    April 21, 2008 at 12:08 pm

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