Canada Pulls out of Kyoto

This from the CBC and is a major world news headline:

So, before you go admiring Canada, before you marvel at how Canada can afford happiness and healthcare, how it’s economy can stay strong remember that Canada’s economy is strong on the back of US consumption of oil. Canada is strong because of this:

Because of the tar sands and Canada’s willingness to destroy huge tracts of boreal forest (forests which happen to be one of the greatest carbon sinks when left intact) and the livelihoods that rely on them. Canadians are vastly more comfortable and happy than almost any people on earth (in general). Canada has always been willing to extract resources at any cost to a landscape and the people, plants, and animals that live upon it in order to sustain its economic well-being. This is not much different than any other country and that’s just the point — this country isn’t special in any political way. Canada just happens to be the rich oil state of the western hemisphere and because it’s a “democracy” and its people look and talk (mostly) like us, we let the country off easy and wonder how it can be that conditions are so good up there while they are falling to pieces in the US. The answer is a steady supply of resource revenue that everyone in the country benefits from. So, next time you hear your friends comparing the US and Canada and praising Canadian social programs, niceness, fitness, wealth, whatever remember what the backstory is and maybe cut back on the glowing review. At least you can be proud that the Keystone pipeline has been delayed and you can work to keep it shelved forever.


2 thoughts on “Canada Pulls out of Kyoto

  1. It’s not that simple.

    Canada is also awesomer than than US because it’s less religious. That affects what we do with our social programmes.


    • I wouldn’t say people in Canada are less religious. I don’t know the stats, but I would bet that there are as many faithful in this country as in the US. But I would say that Canada and the US are diverging rapidly on how religion affects policy. See the republican primary and its race to prove which candidate is the most religious. Crap.

      I agree that there are a lot of reasons to love this country and it’s sad to me to see the conservative government make efforts to erode the more social programs. My rant was aimed at people who blindly love Canada without realizing that one of the reasons for the economic comfort that this country enjoys is the economic gain from resource extraction that results in destruction of the environment. It’s well hidden, but true. Not that the US hasn’t shit it’s own bed in a lot of ways too. But, I recall being appalled to hear that timber harvesters in BC are not required to and often don’t make efforts to reforest clear cuts following a policy from the dark ages of forestry whereas it’s been mandatory to reforest all timber lands in the US for decades. This is one example. I think there are a lot of ways that Canada could do better in terms of the environment, but a lot of people are blind to those.

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