Thursday, December 17, 2009

1 more day of fasting for the Copenhagen climate summit

World leaders arrived en mass at the Copenhagen climate summit earlier today. Our PM Harper was among them, but he mostly tried to dodge the spotlight and even deferred to Jim Prentice when it was time to give a speech on behalf of Canada. Mostly the talks have been blocked with rich countries like Canada and the USA unwilling to make serious cuts in emissions, developing countries unwilling to cap their rapidly growing emissions and poor countries unwilling to commit unless they receive assistance for coping with climate change and future development. There have been some positive gestures, like when Hilary Clinton promised to commit US dollars to a $100 billion dollar fund for developing nations, but this progress was slowed when China refused to allow external monitoring and verification of their stated CO2 emissions. And now headlines report that several prominent leaders are working through the night in hopes of finding a way to salvage some form of agreement.

Overall, it's seems highly unlikely that any kind of meaningful deal will emerge from Copenhagen and many people are breathing a huge sigh of relief. I'm sure that Harper, Prentice and Ed Stelmach are part of this large demographic. They successfully protected "Alberta's" money and freedom to exploit the tarsands from Ottawa or some massive socialist plot to form a new world order headed by the UN, Al Gore, the CRU, the green industry and David Suzuki.

Unfortunately for me, - a 3rd generation Albertan with a 30 year career as a research geoscientist in the oil and gas industry - I can’t shake a feeling of profound sadness. My personal research has left me with the conclusion that we are probably facing a serious long-term threat from climate change and I’m even more certain that we will be in economic and social crisis caused by declining world-wide oil and gas production long before that.

All we can do now is sit back and wait to see who is right. It could easily take 10 years to find out. In the meantime, I hope they enjoy their wealth, their freedom and luxurious lifestyle and I will continue to appreciate all the unexpected benefits of my recent change to a low-stress, low-carbon lifestyle.

For sake of our children and grandchildren, I honestly hope they are right. Otherwise, there will be lots of explaining to do.

On a positive note, there was a mass movement formed during the past few months, especially among the youth, that has done tremendous work in raising awareness about the climate change issue. I truly believe that this Copenhagen meeting is a defining moment where we are choosing our future and they have the most at stake. Whatever the outcome, the world of the future will be created in our image - and at this moment it looks greedy, selfish, intolerant, and filled with hate and fear.

In the end I don't have any answers, but I am praying for a miracle. If we want a future of hope, joy, justice and love it will take something more than our collective political will. This is the reason why I chose to fast one more day and I am sincerely praying that this mighty miracle will occur. After all, it's that time of year.

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