Saturday, 27 August 2011

Cynical thoughts

Recently in the Guardian, it was reported that President Obama has approved the controversial 1,700 mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada to Texas.  With breathtaking cynicism, Kerri Ann Jones, the assistant Secretary of State stated:-

"The sense we have is that the oil sands would be developed and there is not going to be any change in greenhouse gas emissions with the pipeline or without the pipeline because these oil sands will be developed anyway,"

So the role of US demand for Tar Sands in this development is nicely brushed over.

With the difficulties and adverse publicity which the Canadian government has encountered in the EU (with regard to the EU Fuels Directive) which I mentioned in my last post, it is likely that they are breathing a sigh of relief over this decision.  

My cynicism around the issue of political will and the primacy of the national economic interest has been well documented on this blog. 

While I think that a personal carbon allowance as advocated in "contraction and convergence" by Audrey Meyer is a good mechanism for reducing global emissions, I feel that it is unlikely to be realised in time.  If such a mechanism was implemented, it would end much of the present social inequality, for this reason I think that it is unlikely.  I cannot see the privileged in our society, willingly giving up their ability to live their massively carbon heavy lifestyle and having to become just an equal member.  This also applies internationally.  It would most definitely change international politics!  

I honestly do not see us taking enough meaningful action within the window of opportunity which we have. 


  1. I am afraid I tend to agree. We all know that tar sands are useless anyway and that petrol extracted from them uses more power during said extraction than it will provide. I am not sure what the answer is but feel deeply pessimistic as to meaningful action and the window of opportunity which is rapidly closing. Moving to Shetland and hunking down seems the only option alas not opened to me right now.

  2. Obama's decision was cynical.

    However, regarding C&C the questions are: -

    [1] is climate changing?
    [2] if so, is it human emissions triggering it?
    [3] if so, is the UNFCCC a sensible response?
    [4] if so, is C&C a sensible way of organising compliance?
    [5] if so, are there alternatives?

    C&C is supported: -

    not so much because its 'fair' but because there aren't realistic alternatives.

    Keepa calm; keep going.