Monday, July 10, 2006

Climate Change - Business Leads, Government Fails

A host of prominent Canadian corporations have been quietly moving ahead with their own plans for cutting CO2 emissions, despite no discernible leadership from Ottawa. It is easy to villainize industry and business, but in this case environmentalists should be proving their relevance in the public debate by seeking out these allies from the business sector and joining with them to push Ottawa for a coherent national plan on climate change.

Seeing the ultimate need and political necessity of addressing climate change, Alberta's TransAlta power, aerospace leader Bombardier, Shell Canada and aluminum giant Alcan are demonstrating foresight that has been absent in this country by committing to reducing their own CO2 emissions....for the simple reason that it makes business sense.

So how is it that a company that operates coal fired power plants, an airplane manufacturer, an oil company and an energy intensive aluminum producer - four business sectors that have the most to lose from any firm CO2 reduction targets - are capable of proactively moving forward to address climate change while our elected governments with a mandate from the people are paralyzed into inaction? Because they understand something that too many fat, lazy and spoilt industries do not - that their profitability and economic success requires robust and adaptive leadership in the face of change, and that the companies that fall short will ultimately be left behind in the wheels of progress.

It is time for our governments to start placing faith in the innovators and the true business and economic leaders of the country by working with them to create stability for both our climate and economy, rather than spoon feeding the corporate obese with perverse subsidies and pocket filling tax breaks.

"..the environment is real. You can smell it. In parts of Houston, you can grab hunks of it with your hands and use it to lube your car! And if there is a single face you might want to use to personify this evil, he was in the news this week: the retiring and handsomely-compensated chairman of Exxon Mobil, Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond."

- Bill Maher, from Real Time Apr 21, 2006

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