The calls of environmental scientists and activist groups have been unanimous: Steven Harper's government must take immediate action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. More than 50 environmental groups united in a letter sent to Harper demanding regulation of big-industry emitters by 2008 and re-commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Harper's response? More talk and little action.
The talk itself sounds great. While promoting new legislation, Harper claimed that "Canada's Clean Air Act will allow us to move industry from voluntary compliance to strict regulation. It will replace the current ad-hoc patchwork system with clear, consistent and comprehensive national standards." So why are the environmentalists still not happy?
The problem is that Harper's new Clean Air Act is just a stalling tactic. The federal government already has the power under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to enact strong regulations on industry that would force them to immediately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. By bringing in new legislation, Harper has guaranteed inaction on the climate change issue until the legislation is fully enacted, which can take years. In the meantime, industry gets to keep their profits up by not investing in new, cleaner technology and proper pollution control and reduction. Steven Harper and the previous Liberal governments have put the short term interests of polluting corporations ahead of dealing with what is now undeniably the single greatest crisis facing humanity as a whole.