Kevin Grandia's blog

A Mythbusting Guide to the Paris Climate Agreement

Climate Nexus has published a helpful mythbusting page correcting the misinformation that is already being spread about the Paris Climate Agreement. It is rewritten here with permission.

Myths and Facts about COP21, the Paris Climate Agreement

MYTH: “Paris is not legally binding; it won’t change anything. China and India will still emit so much CO2 as to make all US reductions pointless.”

FACT: Paris does have legally binding aspects, and other nations are already taking action.

Agreement in Paris Paves Road For The End of Fossil Fuels

paris climate conference cop21

History was made tonight in Paris as the leaders of 195 nations agreed to an ambitious, science-based pact to move the world away from the fossil fuels that are to blame for the rapid increase in global temperatures.

After two weeks of negotiations here in the airport hangars of Le Bourget, 195 parties have signed a global pact that will curb global warming pollution and rapidly escalate the growth of the clean energy solutions the world needs.

The consensus here is that the Paris deal on the table is a good one. Could it be better? Of course. But this deal is about as good as it is going to get from a consensus process involving 195 countries.

A Primer on Trudeau's $2.65 Billion Green Climate Fund Announcement

Earlier today at a meeting of Commonwealth nations in Malta, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that his government would increase its Green Climate Fund commitment to $2.65 billion.

Here's a quick rundown what that actually means.

The Green Climate Fund was set up as part of the United Nations climate negotiation process, with a goal of raising $100 billion from both the public and private sector by 2020. The wealthiest countries at the negotiating table have been under pressure to contribute more money to the Green Climate Fund. 

The idea behind the Green Climate Fund is to overcome a major sticking point in the UN climate treaty process, which is that developing nations are being asked to invest in renewable energy technology and take measures to reduce the impacts of climate change, but do not have nearly the money needed to do so. 

How We Can Pop Ottawa's Lobby Bubble

“The lobbyist” and “the lobby” are terms we often hear in political discourse and in the media.

I don't know how many times I have listened to, or been involved in, a conversation around a hot-button issue that has ended in something like: “Well, it all doesn't really matter because the lobbyists will just end up getting what they want anyways.”

This floating, nondescript spectre of “The Lobbyist” has served the lobby industry well, because the last thing a lobbyist wants is to have their name public. Better to remain an unknowable entity than, as Donald Rumsfeld put it, be a “known-known.”

But once you realize a lobbyist is just another person out there in the world trying to make a paycheck, the abstract idea of lobbying becomes more understandable and relatable. 

It also becomes much more easy to keep in check.

Take for instance this lobbyist for TransCanada pipelines, Phil von Finckenstein of PVF Consulting

Beware the Lobby Bubble, Mr. Trudeau

In Ottawa there has always been a level of disconnect between the issues that really matter to Canadians and the issues that seem important to Canadian politicians working on Parliament Hill.  

In the United States this phenomenon is called “beltway politics” where the issues being debated by politicians within the boundaries of Highway 495, which forms a beltway around Washington, D.C., have relatively little importance to anybody outside the beltway.

Spend too long in the beltway and strange things can happen. For instance, a president can speak passionately on the issue of climate change, but hem and haw over whether to approve an oil pipeline that will lock in massive amounts of new greenhouse gas emissions. 

Nobody knows more about this inside political game than the lobbyists. Lobbyists are the people paid by corporations, and to a much lesser extent non-profit organizations, to ensure government policies and decisions by politicians are of the most benefit to those paying them. Lobbyists (at least the good ones) know that their most powerful strategy is to control the flow of information politicians receive on important issues. 

If you control the information, you control the questions that are raised and debated and ultimately you have good odds of controlling the final outcome.

Conservative Party Candidate Says Oil is Natural, Spills Just Absorbed by Land

Sabrina Zuniga, the Conservative party candidate running in the riding of Spadina-Fort York in Ontario, was caught on tape claiming that “oil is a natural substance… so spilling into the environment, the land will absorb it because that's what oil is.”

Zuniga's riding is in close proximity to the route of the Enbridge Line 9B pipeline, which may soon be carrying diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands through the Greater Toronto Area.

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