George Monbiot, a regular environmental columnist with the Guardian, has savaged Canada's stand on climate change. Much as I, too, regret our government's position, I find Monbiot's article even more regrettable. His hyperbolic, intemperate language serves no-one well. Certainly it will not persuade Mr. Harper to change course.
For the record, let it be noted that Mr. Monbiot's attack on the oil sands is overstated. He asserts, for example, that "Alberta's tar sands operation is the world's biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions." Not true. Emissions from American coal-fired electricity plants far outstrip the sands (see the map in my earlier post, CCS Sticker Shock). Much of the rest of his diatribe also suffers from exaggeration.
Of course, correcting the record is a futile exercise when attempting to blunt the impact of an article like this one. It's the journalistic equivalent of an attack ad. We all know how effective they are, don't we?
Posted On Dec 01 11:42AM
Frankly, the communications staff at the AB government and the Fed government should have seen this coming more than a year ago and should have headed these assaults off at the pass. Monbiot's attack won't be the last.
Activists (journalistic or otherwise) have long learned finding a single entity or bogie man to target is much more efficacious from a communications perspective than trying to wage the war on several fronts at once.
That's not to say the attack isn't at all warranted: we've got to face the music for not taking responsibility for our own carbon footprint in Canada. But, as you say, the egregious inaccuracies of fact don't help anyone.
So: come on Ed Stelmach and Stephen Harper -- let's get your communciations people on point and start communicating accurate information.
But more importantly, as you've said elsewhere, Senator, let's get a real plan for Canada underway to tackle climate change. That's the only way out of this one! It is hard to combat Monbiot -- accurate or not -- otherwise!
Posted On Dec 01 11:35AM
Good heavens. Vitriolic is not too strong a word to describe this article. Did you notice Monbiot claims that a "concerted campaign has now begun to expel Canada from the Commonwealth"? I wonder if there's any truth to that assertion either.