The Environment Ends in Etobicoke

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In a poverty-stricken analysis of federal climate change policy , the Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson announced on Tuesday that, for him at least, “the environment” stretches only as far as he can see, and certainly no farther than the suburbs surrounding Toronto.

Specifically, he said:

“Canada cannot meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases without spending billions of dollars on carbon credits from other countries, which would impoverish the treasury and do nothing to improve the environment.”

“Billions” on carbon credits is debatable, but it is impossibly narrow-minded that Ibbitson should so casually dismiss a policy intended to allow countries and companies to earn credit by investing in the lowest-cost climate remediation efforts in the world. More worrisome, however, is his inability to grasp that Canadians are destined to breath the exhaust fumes generated in India, China, Korea or any other rapidly developing country in the world. (And if Ibbitson can’t figure it out, who is going to explain it to Prime Minister Stephen Harper?)

 Most worrisome, though, is Ibbitson’s conclusion: that the purpose of the recent flurry of federal green announcements is to paint the environment as impossibly complex. The strategy, Ibbitson says, is to position the environment like health care: beyond the capacity of the government to fix and therefore safely ignored.

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