Innovative actions, not empty rhetoric needed to combat climate change

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Peter Jackson’s Dec. 30 column on climate change news and views prompted me to respond.

Yes, Ted Cruz, one of a field of oil-backed GOP presidential candidates recently said that “science does not support” man-made climate change. This Canadian citizen-renouncing, Texas senator is bold-facedly perpetuating the big lie in support of the fossil-fuel industry that caused the problem.

Related link:

The year in climate news and views

No surprise here. Cruz is but one of many deniers who take comfort in the false premise that their privilege and wealth will eventually shield them from any negative impacts of climate change.

No piece on climate change shysters is complete without reference to the oil giant Exxon, the fifth largest corporation (by revenue) in the world. Yes, it appears it had scientific evidence of this crisis decades ago, hid it and then peddled doubt but it continues to promote denial. It siphons multi millions of dollars to organizations like the Heartland Institute, a powerful club of climate change deniers.

One scientist with Heartland, S. Fred Singer, sold his scientific reputation and credentials to both the tobacco and oil industries. In the 1990s, he launched a publicity campaign for the tobacco giant Philip Morris to suggest that second-hand smoke is not a human carcinogen.

I loved it that Peter acknowledged the contribution of two locals in the big lie, Raggedy Andy and Ignoramus Rex.

Rex is not just a bionic mouth; it’s a mercenary one. He is paid handsomely by the oil sector for his “hollow rhetoric” at its black-tie dinners and conferences. He is an orator of distinction whose words have value, albeit, not measured in truth and wisdom, but in dollars and cents.

And then we have our very own Andy Wells. According to Andy, climate change is “a farce” and that the statistics given by scientists are “corrupt, erroneous and false.” Never mind that Well’s views place him opposite the likes of U.S. President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Al Gore, Desmond Tutu, David Suzuki, Bill Gates and 97 per cent of the world’s credible scientists, just to name a few.

Alarmingly, is that he is chairman of our energy regulator, the PUB, charged with applying a sound mind, keen intellect and unrelenting objectivity to such important matters as regulating petroleum prices and decisions regarding our energy infrastructure.

On the Paris summit, I do not share Peter’s positivity. While the Trudeau government brought a much-needed and more responsible position and attitude to the climate talks (compared to the climate change denier Harper), there was no binding agreement with binding targets and penalties.

As well, the so-called agreement lacked a commitment to adequate financing for mitigation, adaption and for loss and damage and no protection from transnational corporate lawsuits (i.e.: protection from investor-state provisions in trade deals).

Albert Einstein was said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

It seems to me that the COP21 agreement and the policies and actions of the governments of the developed economies are doing exactly what Einstein warned against. The predominant thinking in seeking solutions to climate change is to use the principles, values and levers of “the market” (carbon pricing as an example) which is the very thing that caused the problem in the first place.

Ken Kavanagh

Bell Island

St. John’s Chapter — Council of Canadians

Organizations: Exxon, Heartland Institute, Philip Morris

Geographic location: Texas, U.S., Paris

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Recent comments

  • Charles Kennedy
    January 19, 2016 - 22:26

    99.9% of scientists support the fact of climate change .Cheer on the Andy Wells and .1% if you wish but count me out.99.9% of scientists support the fact that the earth is round and revolves around the sun.See the following article----

  • david
    January 12, 2016 - 11:51

    The climate changes. Always has, always will. But enjoy the new Dark Age.

  • ASBO
    January 12, 2016 - 11:37

    Climate change is bunk.

  • Bob
    January 12, 2016 - 09:21

    When the people who are pushing the climate change doom and gloom actually start to live like it is a catastrophe then maybe, just maybe, I'll start to listen. Look at Gore's carbon footprint, Suzuki's half a dozen houses and 5 kids, DiCaprio's luxury yacht holidays, etc, etc, ad nauseam. We are being hoodwinked people.

    • The song remains the same.
      January 12, 2016 - 11:07

      No need for science -- go after Suzuki and Gore. Are you any more informed than they are? No. Are you more intelligent than the vast majority of scientists? Nope. By-the-way, is it 8 or 6 mansions Suzuki owns? What is your source? Get your lies straight.

    • Bob
      January 12, 2016 - 12:01

      This Toronto Sun article sums it up nicely.

    • Bob
      January 12, 2016 - 12:03

      And this Wall Street Journal article debunks the 97%. But by all means keep challenging.

    • The song remains the same
      January 12, 2016 - 13:34

      Seriously, you're citing a 2 year-old character assignation piece, that was completely discredited, from the Toronto Sun by EZRA LEVENT???! Seriously?! That right-wing libel artist? Are you having me on? You might as well cite Donald Trump.

  • Errol
    January 12, 2016 - 09:20

    Name calling (and dropping) aside Ken, all we have in COP21 is another grandiose UN declaration lacking the purpose of enforcement. No matter how much time, effort, and massive expense goes into the Conference, little in the way of results are produced, as there are no teeth to make it happen. These are getting more like huge international political correctness displays. Carbon pricing and the effect on wallets is probably the only thing we will understand. That will not do much in terms of affecting the masses, or emitters in China. About the only thing to prosper from COP21, except the Conference business itself, is the so called 'green' industry which simply feeds on the BS.

  • Beesknees
    January 12, 2016 - 08:44

    Albert Einstein also said..."If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth man would have no more than four years to live." Forget global warming, save the bees!!

  • Christopher Chafe
    January 12, 2016 - 07:51

    Ken, can you write anything without showing your orange partisan values shining through. Also if you want to include names to back up your theory, I suggest you leave out Gore who is one of the largest emitters of CO2 due to the size of his mansion he lives in, not to mention Canada's version of Al Gore with his 8 mansions.

    • leonard
      January 12, 2016 - 08:09

      Ah, the last refuge of a climate change denier: personally attack the messengers. Facts be damned!