The CBC News recently reported that in late August, Prime Minister Harper sent President Barack Obama a letter offering to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in exchange for the Keystone XL approval. CBC News said that Harper is “willing to accept targets proposed by the United States for reducing the climate-changing emissions.” Think Progress later reported that Harper offered “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector.”
Harper is clearly ready to do anything to obtain the Keystone approval in order to keep his oil patch buddies happy. Canada has undertaken a massive ‘Go with Canada’ campaign in the U.S. to convince Americans that Keystone will not exacerbate the problem of carbon emissions and is necessary for both countries to achieve energy independence.
The ‘Go With Canada’ campaign which has been designed to influence the Obama administration to support Canadian Oil Sands development has done nothing to sway Obama in his much-awaited decision over Keystone XL. The same CBC article reports that “a decision by the president, once expected soon after the 2012 election, might not be made until 2014.”
So what is a Prime Minister to do?
When all else fails, why not resort to extortion and bribery in a letter sent directly to the President – clearly a desperate act by a Prime Minister who has run out of options. For him to hold emissions reduction hostage to a Keystone XL approval is preposterous. It is laughable. It is doubly laughable to do so in writing.
What will Harper do next? He needs to talk with the President. Why not a telephone call?
Hello Barack, this is Stephen calling…
Obama: Hi Stephen, I got your letter. You want me to do what?
Harper: Barack, if you approve Keystone XL, I will cut emissions.
Obama: Well Stephen, what is stopping you from reducing greenhouse gas emissions on your own? And how are those Kyoto and Copenhagen emission reduction commitments coming along? You know, reducing GHGs by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020.
Harper: We’re working on those targets Barack. We just need a little more time.
Obama: So Stephen, you’re telling me that you’re prepared to export more GHGs from your dirty oil to my country and you will cut emissions back in Canada. How the f*ck are you going to do that? And you want me to help you?
Harper: Yeah! And if I cut emissions, I need to be compensated. I will limit my GHGs only if I’m allowed to export my oil to you.
Obama: So let me get this straight Stephen. You will limit your GHGs by exporting more GHGs to America; is that what you’re saying Stephen?
Obama: Canada has been the recipient of the Fossil of the Year Award five years running. You must be so proud of that. I’m sure those trophies look good on your mantle.
Harper: I think the Russians won the last award.
Obama: Listen to me Stephen. You have little credibility in the U.S. We don’t trust you. Why should I believe you now? Your reasoning is illogical and frankly, insane. I’ve never heard of such a stupid argument. Don’t call me again.
So back to reality. The Keystone XL drums keep on beating on both sides of the pipeline debate. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was in Washington on Monday September 9 to continue discussions on the environmental management of the oil sands with U.S. representatives. The Canadian Press reports “that Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says Canada wants to collaborate with the United States on common emissions targets for oil-sands extraction, fracking and other non-conventional sources of oil and gas.”
For environmental activists, Keystone has become a critical symbol of the climate change wars. The Sierra Club’s recent report titled FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test, concluded that “Obama has no choice but to nix the project because of its potential impact to the environment.”
Harper’s letter is an act of desperation which is embarrassing for all Canadians. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a moral obligation for all of us, including the Prime Minister of Canada. This is the latest public relations gaff in a long list of political miscues that will surely lead to the well-deserved ousting of the Conservatives in the 2015 Federal Elections. Only 109 weeks to go.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org.
Rolly is also a registered Climate Leader (Climate Reality Leadership Corps) a blogger, an activist and a writer.
BoomerWarrior is for the socially aware and politically conscious; for the change-makers and thought-provokers; for the light and young at heart; for anyone willing and courageous enough to move forward.