Justin Trudeau says no relief for you unless your company commits publicly to his climate goals, thus using the threat of withholding emergency coronavirus relief funds to extort political support. Which the CBC applauds, naturally, as Mao might if he were still around. Elsewhere politicians are going into survival mode over their past wacky green views. Not our PM. Lockdown? What lockdown? Hike the carbon tax. Tie green strings to relief money. It's the perfect time to transition to a wealth-generation-free green economy since we’re already nearly half-way there.
Most politicians capable of surviving for any length of time have the capacity to cast a narcolepsy-inducing spell on anyone within range. The victim’s eyes remain open and they think they’re listening, thinking and reacting but in fact they have lost the power to process or react to what is being said. And this time-dishonoured technique is being used to back away from ambitious climate plans in a great many countries.
For instance Germany, where Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU parliamentary group just put out a paper that opposed increasing the EU climate target to 55% over 1990 GHG levels by 2030. Naturally her adversaries pounced. But her colleagues didn’t do anything so stark, accountable and foolish as to contradict what she had said on the basis that what she had said was already impossible. Instead they and she summoned the power of Morpheus.
Here’s Merkel’s own explanation to the Bundestag and, à la Dilbert, you might want to strap a pillow to your forehead just in case your head drops suddenly forward onto your desk here. “For me it is obvious that we need to have new negotiations about effort sharing…. It would be tactically unwise to say we’ll contribute what we’ve always done without asking the others and even before having a proposal by the European Commission.” Got that? No? Good.
Her colleagues’ position paper did note that COVID-19 has “fundamentally changed the situation for political action”. Which sounds semi-true and in plain English might read “The economy is reeling and it’s no time to clobber it again”. But in another sense it’s entirely untrue, since the premise of radical climate action waaaaaaay back in February 2020 was that it would be good for the economy. Remember? Green energy was meant to be more efficient than oil.
So you admit you were lying? No, of course not. We simply note that in taking into account present circumstances, and without wavering from the principles that have always animated us and will ever continue to do so, we must prudently assess the complex ramifications of the situation and convene an interdepartmental committee to balance the requirements of current eventualities with those of future concrete particular possibilities for the general enhancement of those things we hold most dear.
Justin Trudeau, by contrast, is not backing down. He’s having fun handing out a half billion dollars a day to anyone who’s hurting while his finance minister mocks the very concept of worrying about debt. (Actually, let’s be fair; some days it’s $2 billion.) But when it comes to fossil fuels, well, if you don’t have a plan to stop emitting carbon you can just starve in a ditch. If Elizabeth May is wrong that oil is dead, Trudeau is trying hard to make her right.