The Conservative Party pretends to be pro-life, yet their adherence to pro-death policies is unquestionable. Homelessness has grown dramatically under the Conservatives, and the health consequences of homelessness include a shorter life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. And Stephen Harper continues to ignore this problem, allowing homelessness to get worse from year to year.
The Harper government’s continued battle against InSite, a proven protector of the lives of addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, is another example of the Conservative government’s pro-death policies.
And if Harper had had his way, Canada would have participated in Bush’s war in Iraq, resulting in the deaths of Canadian soldiers and countless Iraqi citizens, all in the name of a secure supply of oil to feed North America’s oil-hungry industrial machine.
But the worst thing Harper has done, and continues to do, is in regard to the environment. Here his pro-death philosophy goes into overdrive.
A recent report from Australian economist Ross Garnaut says that the current goal set out in Kyoto and Bali to limit and slow worldwide carbon emissions — and cap carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million (ppm) — is unrealistic. He says a more attainable goal is 550 ppm.
What does 550 ppm mean in terms of climate change? According to what scientists believe now, such a proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will result in a global rise in temperature of 3 degrees Celsius. (450 ppm, the current goal, would lead to a rise of 2 degrees.)
Okay, so what does a rise of 3 degrees mean on a global scale? In 2003, Europe experienced one of the most disastrous heat waves ever recorded, and 30,000 people died, most of them elderly. If the global temperature rises three degrees, then such heat waves will become the norm in Europe, not the exception. Of course, nobody will be caught unprepared as they were in 2003, and after awhile the numbers of fragile elderly people will go down as a percentage of the population, (since the most fragile and helpless will already be dead) but it would be unrealistic to believe that such a situation will not result in continuing deaths, as well as wide-spread environmental destruction leading directly and indirectly to more death statistics.
But that’s not really the worst news. The earth at present has only warmed 0.8 of a degree, and already processes have been set in motion which are accelerating climate change: the warming of the oceans, the disappearance of the Arctic ice, the loss of glaciers from Greenland, the destruction of forests, and, most ominous of all, the melting of permafrost. (If the permafrost melts, then the organic matter contained in it will raise disastrously the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, rendering it almost impossible for human civilization to stop ever-accelerating climate change.) And really, this only a partial list.
But if this is what is happening with a rise in global temperature of merely 0.8 of a degree, then with a rise of 3 degrees the processes described will get unimaginably stronger and their consequences worse. Even a rise of 2 degrees, which is the upper limit we are presently attempting to create, would be a disaster all of its own — but hopefully, it will halt our civilization at the brink of apocalypse, rather than push us over into the hell our civilization is creating.
But let us be Pollyanna, let us be optimistic and say a global rise in temperature of 3 degrees will still be reversible by a concerted effort of world civilization, by that time chastened and properly frightened and willing to do anything necessary to untangle the mess we’ve left for them. Does such a scenario mean a happy ending for all?
Well, no, Pollyanna.
According to a recent report from Unicef, a global rise in temperature of 3 degrees would result in 40 to 160 thousand addition child deaths per year in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. And they estimate that because of environmental changes and destruction brought about by climate change, something like 550 million people worldwide will face hunger.
And what is the Harper government poised to do about this problem? Why, make it worse of course, in their true Conservative death-merchant fashion. Their present environmental policies are virtually non-existent, and their other policies are designed to increase Canada’s carbon footprint, not lessen it.
Add it up. 40 to 60 thousand additional child deaths. 550 million starving people. And a government with a policy to continue on the course which will result in these deaths, this starvation — and maybe the self-destruction of our whole civilization.
Only a damn fool could consider Stephen Harper and his Conservatives pro-life.
Read about economist Ross Garnaut here:
Hear what National Geographic thinks will happen with a 3 degree rise in temperature here:
Read the Unicef report here:
Or read a summary of the Unicef report here: