Windy thoughts on Kyoto and the Pope

Sitting here in a minor wind storm, thinking about Calgary’s more-than-minor wind storm last weekend, lead me to think about this year’s record number of tornadoes—and devastation—in America’s mid-west, the massive fires in Texas and New Mexico, the record flood’s in Pakistan, now in Thailand, and the drought in East Africa, not to mention Russia’s heat wave that killed 15,000 last year—and so growing uncomfortable listening to the wind outside, not that there’s anything unusual with our wind today other than its nagging presence—well, I just had to reassure myself that these weather ‘events’ were all isolated occurrences—unconnected to any warming, and unrelated to any changes in climate, and simply get my head beyond any oppressive idea of communal responsibility or worse, the need to think about these things and maybe change my behaviour… Fortunately I found this short film that relieved me of all that burden.

So yes, it’s a good thing Peter Kent and Stephen Harper are steering us out of Kyoto, which I suppose didn’t matter anyway as Canada is the only country within the Kyoto Protocol to have cast off our legally binding obligations. Besides I just trust Peter Kent’s face when he says: Kyoto is a failure and Canada can control greenhouse gases through another, non-Kyoto approach.

And finally, just on the off chance that there’s something to our exhaling great quantities of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons, and hexafluoride into the air, and the crazy weather, Pope Benedict’s Sunday message for delegates attending this week’s U.N. climate change conference will have brought everyone into harmony:  "I hope that all members of the international community agree on a responsible and credible response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, taking into account the needs of the poorest and future generations." Clearly this should give us all assurance, especially the poor.


  1. Oh the comfort of having our economy in good hands! The planet may die, as will we, but we can draw our last breath with the assurance that the economy is strong. “Blessed Assurance”!

    Thanks for sharing the McKibben video.

  2. Any possibility that the wind and global warming are directly related to all the politicians and pseudo scientists talking about it?

  3. I like your thought here Graham. Flannery O’Connor would like it too. History has sped up and is threatening to overtake us, the earth is groaning, the line between natural disasters and human violence–our seeming perpetual state of war–has blurred and our choices are now becoming increasingly clear. Unless we all adopt the behaviour modelled by Jesus, we are destined for apocalypse. Yet, the narrowing of choices, the enforced clarity of the apocalyptic spectre may be our hope. But this is not a popular notion. Not among fundamentalist Christians who believe it is God bringing the violence, nor among “human progress” secularists.

  4. Stephen,
    Is it worse for a country to sign the KP and then cast off the legal obligations or to never have ratified/signed it at all like the U.S.? Not sure.

    There are many faith-based initiatives aligning either with the concept of stewardship of God’s creation and/or climate justice issues that are beginning to speak out in meaningful ways about climate change and the need for policy that protects nature and doesn’t neglect the poor and marginalized. And in other circles, recognition that the earliest victims of climate change being not only the poor and least capable of adapting, but also the ones who have made relatively little contribution to the problem and who have minimal (if any) voice at the international negotiations table has been growing. Here in Durban, much attention has been given to these themes – at side events (educational sessions) and in clear messages to the negotiators from the Party delegations.

    Will the negotiators pay attention? Or if they do, is there multilateral policy that can actually be drafted and widely agreed upon that will make a difference or is it too late or too complex?

    Don’t know if you saw the parable in one of my recent blog posts about COP17

    My son and I took a game drive through one of the national parks here yesterday. It was stunningly beautiful country in terms of landscape and rich biodiversity and was a nice reprive from the discussions of doom and gloom. Unfortunately, one has to drive through some areas that show the horrific impacts of coal mining and coal burning to get there.

  5. “But a representative of African nations said all major developed economies must work harder to deliver new commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, equivalent to about a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years.”

    Read more:

    That’s a high figure in a short time. And most developing countries are in no position to lecture the developed world on environmental stewardship, human rights & democracy.

  6. Diane, (re: Canada and USA) it pretty much adds up to the same thing…

    Thanks for the note and update. Pleased to hear some of the initiatives. And yes, appreciated the parable cited in your blog post.

    Continued good wishes for you in Durban. Good that you’re able to find time to sink into the landscape, at least the better parts of it.

  7. Ian, Interesting links. Thank you. Regarding the huricane, apparently there is no discernable increase of frequency, globally, However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990. The intensity of these storms is also increasing.

    And an intriguing article about global warming precipitating a “little ice-age.” Best quote, “…climate science is devilishly complex.”

    I agree that 40% reduction in five years appears high, and as a result will be dismissed by “developed” countries. Whether or not developing countries have a moral right to lecture developed countries on human rights, democracy and environmental stewardship is a consideration. Developed countries have certainly lectured developing ones, often hypocritically, on human rights and democracy, and have assumed the lead on these issues. Now it’s time for have countries to take the lead on climate care and justice.

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