There are so many reasons to be occupying MP’s offices these days, I am so proud of those individuals who decide to take action to change the eco-cidal trajectory of this society.
The actions of our current government internationally at the APEC summit, in India and in regards to attendance at Copenhagen are distressing and enormously counterproductive to addressing global environmental and political issues. Harper has just agreed to a deal with the Indian Prime minister in which“Canada will supply nuclear technology and uranium fuel to India, along with technical know-how to construct nuclear plants and related facilities.”This sets a horrible precedent for Canada’s tactics going into Copenhagen as well as essentially exporting the potential for a huge environmental disaster.
India’s original nuclear development was largely aided by a similar Canadian deal. But “Canada angrily suspended nuclear co-operation in 1974, after India used Canadian technology and nuclear materiel to make its first nuclear bomb.” These nuclear bombs almost wrought a massive environmental catastrophe many times as tensions between India and Pakistan heightened. Could you imagine the consequences of an irradiation of glaciers in the Himalayas? I recognize that the risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan is low right now but as Gwynne Dyer wrote in his book Climate Wars (cbc podcast), security issues that fall across environmental issues(like Kashmir and the reduction in water supply by Himalayan glaciers) will cause an increase in tensions and possibilities of violence. Even as the talk between Canada and India were commencing there was serious security threats to Indian nuclear facilities by terrorist, the consequences of such a disaster would be immense.
Not making the same mistake twice is one thing but are many other reasons we should not be exporting power. Nuclear power is not the ecological energy solution that many try desperately to green wash it as. Leapfrogging is the tactic we should be pursuing with developing countries as we go into a new age of international relations defined by Copenhagen and the economic recovery. Leapfrogging entails aiding in the development of countries by putting them ahead of the technology curve rather than locking them into the development path of western industrialized countries. Developing countries need solutions, in partnership with the international community, that lift them out of debt, strengthen institutions and empower communities by making them resilient to a future of climate change. Nuclear power does not do this. It locks countries into relationships of debt with corporations while simply externalizing the environmental effects onto future generations.
Unfortunately though Canada is really lacking in anything substantive to offer the international community along these lines. I fear that Canada is going to advocate some nuclear renaissance line of reasoning towards its approach at Copenhagen. This would be very counter productive but on par with the government’s approach to date. Canada needs to start supporting its eco- entrapranuers and environmental research endeavours. There is bountiful potential brewing here in Canada that has a lot to give in making the world a more ecological place but it needs domestic support and international advocation and right now it’s getting not enough or none at all.