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Negative Energy

Lezlie Lowe travels by bicycle, foot or oxen.

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So long Monte, we hardly knew ya.

Monte Solberg – newly minted Harper cabinet minister and long time Reform Alliance Conservative MP — is ditching his blog at www.montesolberg.com after a paltry year and four days in the blogospheric fray.

Solberg’s a zippy writer; he spent 17 years as a broadcaster. His blog was a spot where the Medicine Hat MP could dis the Liberals and occasionally the NDP, and play kick the can on a number of political issues, including the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That’s Kyoto to you.

A confluence of media attention on climate change that hinged on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Kyoto Protocol February 16 brought to light comments Solberg made in his blog about the “insane” Kyoto targets Canada has signed on to meet. A UN spokesperson told the Canadian Press that Canada is legally obliged to meet its commitments.

In the February 15 story, CP writer Dennis Bueckert references Solberg’s blog: “If we decide to ban all planes, trains and automobiles in Canada and entirely abandon all manufacturing, stop all construction and shut every mine we would still fall short of our Kyoto target…we will have to get to work by bicycle, foot or oxen. Excuse me, I’ve got an appointment downtown. When does the next express oxen come by?”

In the same story, Sierra Club member John Bennett blasted Solberg: “You only come to those conclusions if you don’t understand how the whole thing is supposed to work.”

Solberg’s boss, Stephen Harper, hasn’t cast off Kyoto yet, but he promised to do so in a speech in Halifax on January 13. So while Harper sets up less stringent targets that will replace Kyoto, Canadians are left to chew on the smug opinions of Monte Solberg and I’m stuck asking myself: Why the hell did I buy those shit-for-light energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs anyway?

I did it because the One Tonne Challenge Guide (which I ordered from climatechange.gc.ca) told me to. And I ordered the guide because Rick Mercer said to do it. And I do everything Rick Mercer says. Besides, I care about energy and resource conservation. But Solberg and Harper and the rest of the Reform Alliance Conservative cabinet are making me feel like I’m the only one. I’m defeated. And poorly lit, at that.

It’s hard not to feel defeated anyway with the news that Greenland’s glaciers are sliding into the ocean faster than ever before and that polar ice is melting at a yearly rate equal to the volume of Lake Superior; there’s nothing we can do about it apart from calculating how high above sea level our houses are and how long it’ll take for the whole place to go under. Environmental activists took their concerns to the front of the Spring Garden Road Library last Thursday where they staged a Save Hockey, Stop Climate Change protest shinny match, complete with song.

But let’s face it: Rick Mercer, a handful of hockey enthusiasts and my hateful fluorescent bulbs are nothing against climate change defeatist Stephen Harper and supercilious cabinet members like Monte Solberg. No wonder an inquisitively titled BBC News story appeared in January pondering: “Will Kyoto die at Canadian hands?”

So long Canadian Arctic Shelf. We hardly knew ya.

Still fighting the good environmental fight? Send words of encouragement to: lezliel@thecoast.ca

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