Have the Greens really been good for the environment?

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Erik Redburn
Have the Greens really been good for the environment?

 

Erik Redburn

I heard Elizabeth May on CBC AM the other day saying how happy she was with the BC government's commitment to combatting climate change. She then topped it off by telling us that whoever wins the next American election -Republican or Democrat- will be a big improvement on the issue. Progress. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Now, coming in the wake of the once-proud Sierra Club giving the BC "Liberals" good marks on the environment, and the noticeable decline in environmental activism since they've come to power, I really have to ask....what are they really up to now and [i]have they really been good for the environment[/i]? Do tell.

[ 15 March 2008: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Erik Redburn

[url=http://tinyurl.com/3cavbc]http://tinyurl.com/3cavbc[/url]

"Budget 2008 Meets Key Tests on Climate Commitments

Major BC environmental groups today welcomed the 2008 budget that will put BC firmly on the path to achieve bold commitments set out in the 2007 Throne Speech
Victoria Feb 19, 2008

Major BC environmental groups today welcomed the 2008 budget that will put BC firmly on the path to achieve bold commitments set out in the 2007 Throne Speech Of the key areas in which environmentalists were looking for clear action (see below), three were given strong grades. The remaining climate-related area--cross-budget consistency-- remains a concern, with ongoing subsidies to the carbon-emitting oil and gas sector and massive capital investments in new highways. Also of concern is the lack of new funds for biodiversity preservation and management.
Carbon Pricing - A

The carbon tax is designed to make BC a North American leader in using carbon pricing to encourage innovation, climate-friendly behaviour change and a transition to a low-carbon economy. Government chose to make the tax fully revenue-neutral, recycling the revenues through lump sum payments and tax breaks for individuals, with a focus on low-income families and tax breaks to businesses."

[url=http://tinyurl.com/32pf6s]http://tinyurl.com/32pf6s[/url]

Erik Redburn

[url=http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3149]http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3...

"National support for the Green Party has surged above the NDP's support for the first time ever.

The survey by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail/CTV shows the Green Party at 13% across Canada ahead of the NDP at 12%. The study was released on November 12.

Feb 2008 Update
Since this first poll in Nov 2007 many other polling companies have confirmed this trend. So it's no longer a one off occurence it's a persistent trend.

For instance in January a Harris Decima Poll put the Green Party ahead of the NDP for the first time ever in Ontario. That blog entitled Greens Surpass NDP in Ontario for 1st time ever is at [url=http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3615]http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3...

Then a poll commissioned by the Globe and Mail and CTV by Strategic Council released on February 20 put the Green Party as the third national party at 12% tied with the NDP at 12%. See post [url=http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3944]http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3...

Ipsos Reid poll in February put the Green Party at the highest level ever with respect to the NDP -- in an Ipsos poll. The two parties were within the margin of error. See [url=http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3931]http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3...

Of course in regional polls the Green Party has been ahead of the NDP -- in Alberta, Quebec, the 905 area in Toronto, at different times -- and there are a number of blogs dealing with this. For Alberta see [url=http://www.greenparty.ca/en/node/3633#comment-3561]http://www.greenparty...

Back to the Original Blog Now
In the West the Greens are at 18% -- two per cent ahead of the NDP. In Quebec the Greens are at 10% ahead of the NDP at 7% and in Ontario the Greens and the NDP are tied at 12%. So the Green Party is ahead of the NDP in every region -- except Ontario where it's a tie.

So the GPC is, for the moment, the third national party -- ahead of the Bloc and ahead of the NDP"

But:

[url=http://main.greenparty.ca/announcement27.html]http://main.greenparty.ca/...

[url=http://main.greenparty.ca/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_...

Erik Redburn

BC Greens don't seem quite so happy with the budget. But why is that...?

Victoria (February 19, 2008)– "BC's 2008 Budget, released today, is pointed in the right direction, but failed to deliver", says Jane Sterk, Leader of BC's Green Party.

Billed as a Climate Action Budget, "the Liberals missed a chance to think and act differently [i]about taxes."[/i] Sterk points out that there are other tools besides tax incentives and reductions to bring about the changes we need to see."

BC Greens support a revenue neutral carbon tax as part of an effective climate change strategy. [i]"This new tax has failed our major industries because it provides no incentives to truly innovate and adapt" continued Sterk, "Any tax on carbon has to be re-invested to allow industry to improve their competitive position[/i] while reducing their carbon emissions."

Added Taxation and Economic Policy Chair, Peter McKiernan "The [i]belief that this tax is revenue neutral is laudable.[/i] The direct [i]benefit to business is not evident in this tax shift.[/i] Minor tax cuts will not make up for the added costs of doing business.""

[url=http://tinyurl.com/3dqkd4]http://tinyurl.com/3dqkd4[/url]

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Elizabeth May isn't so much the "leader" of the "Green Party" as she is the prolocutor of a wholly owned subsidiary of the Liberal Party.

skarredmunkey

In fairness to Elizabeth May, this might be taken a little out of context.

quote:

Originally posted by Erik Redburn:
[b]She then topped it off by telling us that whoever wins the next American election -Republican or Democrat- will be a big improvement on the issue.[/b]

I heard this a few times actually. She of course meant compared to Bush, which is plausible since even John McCain has [i]some[/i] environmental credentials. There is also something on the Green Party website commenting on how whoever wins in the U.S. in November will likely have more of a commitment to the environment than Stephen Harper. Just as plausible.

quote:

Now, coming in the wake of the once-proud Sierra Club giving the BC "Liberals" good marks on the environment...

Is that what she did? Without being too much of an apologist, I think a carbon tax in any form is momentum.

West Coast Greeny

I like the Green approach of commending progress when its made, even if its incremental. It makes the party look post-partisan and reasonably credible, and creates a sort of carrot-and-stick mechanism for big parties to follow WRT environmental policy.

DonnyBGood

If you examine the essential appeal of the Green Party it is very simple. Everyone loves nature, clean air, water, and doesn't like pollution. Simple. People also do not like cold war dialectics or the ideological baggage of the class struggle.

Do I really care how rich my neighbour is as long as I can eat good healthy food, breath clean air and drink clean water?

The idea of the Green Party is really to forgo class politics and focus on the bigger issue of the common good.

Now considering all those very wealthy GM unionists who voted for Mike Harris you can see that the populist base for the NDP is not really in the labour movement. Labour organizations do support the NDP but the rank and file do not simply play follow the leader.

The Greens are the next new thing and their popularity simply reveals the fact that people want a new approach. The NDP popular support growth is now being transferred to the Greens.

I expect that they will continue to grow. Their program however, is more a threat to the mainline parties if they wish to actually elect people and become a force to be reckoned with.

Replacing the NDP with the Greens would be pointless. Perhaps they should consider a unification.

Put together they would have 25% of the votes and pose a real threat to the establishment.

But I think the Greens would not want this because it would be too "real politic". But I could be wrong. Their leaders seem very committed to the cause.

I don't think they are that far ahead of the curve at all and because of this they are essentially a serve a reactionary purpose by diverting NDP support even though the NDP is far ahead of the Greens on almost all of the environmental issues.

[ 16 March 2008: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ]

janfromthebruce

quote:


Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
[b]Do I really care how rich my neighbour is as long as I can eat good healthy food, breath clean air and drink clean water?
Yes, it has to do with economic justice and exploitation of ones work. You might ask that same question in underdeveloped countries or just go to first nation reserves. Being able to buy healthy food and not live in cramped quarters, for instance, is a real plus for folks, or are you so Western that you didn't notice that most of world lives in "poverty."

The idea of the Green Party is really to forgo class politics and focus on the bigger issue of the common good.

I don't think they are that far ahead of the curve at all and because of this they are essentially a serve a reactionary purpose by diverting NDP support even though the NDP is far ahead of the Greens on almost all of the environmental issues.[ 16 March 2008: Message edited by: DonnyBGood ][/b]


I think how we enact green policies is where our differnces lie. Anyway, the Greens teamed up with the libs the last time I looked.

Erik Redburn

quote:


Originally posted by West Coast Greeny:
[b]I like the Green approach of commending progress when its made, even if its incremental. It makes the party look post-partisan and reasonably credible, and creates a sort of carrot-and-stick mechanism for big parties to
follow WRT environmental policy.[/b]

Unfortunately WCG it [i]is[/i] partisan when the praise always seems to go towards one party and not others which your party is directly competing against for votes. And it's not very good strategy, even for the Emay's old Sierra club friends, if there's no sign that the party being praised deserves it or has [i]any[/i] intention of following through on their promises of "change". (and the NDP's approach is incremental too, but that's not important here beyond the perceptions people have of them)

[url=http://www.wildernesscommitteevictoria.org/press_coverage.php?cat=2]http...

Press Coverage Archive

* New plan = more stumps + less jobs (Posted February 05, 2008)
* Minister marginalizes critics (Posted February 04, 2008)
* Rich Coleman’s generous gift to Western Forest Products (Posted
January 23, 2008)
* The world of Ken Wu (Posted January 23, 2008)
* Plenty of parks in B.C., forest minister says (Posted January 23,
2008)
* Protest on campus (Posted December 05, 2007)
* Alberni protesters: Forestry practices must change (Posted
December 01, 2007)
* Land protest Thursday at legislature (Posted November 29, 2007)
* B.C. A-G to probe forest land sale (Posted November 20, 2007)
* CRD turns over a new leaf (Posted November 16, 2007)
* WCWC plans next old growth battle (Posted November 14, 2007)
* Province needs old-growth plan (Posted November 14, 2007)
* Water, Fish, Old-Growth Top Forest Survey (Posted November 09, 2007)
* Saving Koksilah a vital priority (Posted November 06, 2007)
* Koksilah giants a step closer to park status (Posted November 06,
2007)
* Forest plan does nothing for Charlottes, nothing for north, says
(Posted November 06, 2007)
* Forest land deals betray the public trust (Posted November 05, 2007)
* Export tax fails to satisfy raw log ban fans (Posted November 05,
2007)
* Opposition Blasts Coastal Forestry Action Plan (Posted November
05, 2007)
* Forestry plan offers little action (Posted November 02, 2007)
* Wilderness Committee slams gov't (Posted October 31, 2007)
* Coastal forest plan panned, praised (Posted October 30, 2007)

Check some of these out from the more "preservationist" (and NDP friendly) WCWC, and try and keep in mind that most are dated before the last "report card" was put together.

I'm really not looking to start yet another "tories with composters" thread here, but I don't like the pattern I see emerging here either. I hope I'm just being slightly paranoid about this, but it's starting to look like more than the usual partisan jockying to me. Maybe someone could find something that counters some of this and post it -something more than feel-good words I hope.

[ 16 March 2008: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Erik Redburn

quote:


Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
[b]If you examine the essential appeal of the Green Party it is very simple. Everyone loves nature, clean air, water, and doesn't like pollution. Simple. People also do not like cold war dialectics or the ideological baggage of the class struggle. [/b]

Maybe that depends on how close these 'people' are to the front lines of an already long class war.

[b]
The idea of the Green Party is really to forgo class politics and focus on the bigger issue of the common good. [/b]

Denying a class war that's only become more accute in the last thirty years could also be another way of taking sides, and IMO it goes right to the heart of the 'common good'.

[b]
The Greens are the next new thing and their popularity simply reveals the fact that people want a new approach. [/b]

Their popularity reflects a brand name people associate with trees and positive media spin -when convenient (eMay was criticised herself for speaking against the Afghan war eg) --but I'm having a hard time finding any activism on their part regarding the Socreds -er Liberals - excellerated "war in the woods". It's still a war even if only one party is firing on all fronts.

[b]
Replacing the NDP with the Greens would be pointless. Perhaps they should consider a unification.

Put together they would have 25% of the votes and pose a real threat to the establishment.[/b]

That was rejected by leaders of both parties years ago, and its never been clear if they'd be more or less than the sum of their parts together. And I'm less certain than ever that the Greens represent anything but another establishment diversion, but that may reflect the present leadership more than members. I do share the resistence of some to hopelessly antiquated (and just plain hopeless) notions of controlling our whole economy top-down by fiat. As do eighty-ninety percent of NDPers now, probably. We still believe in democratic regulation though, international if need be.

I'm going to check the Old Sierra reports cards next, to see how far they've traditionally diverged from other enviro groups, or where perhaps they were before. Campbell's "carbon trading" promises maybe should have been weighed more realistically against the billions they're also investing to expand the same energy sector.

[ 16 March 2008: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Erik Redburn

[b] SM: "I heard this a few times actually. She of course meant compared to Bush, which is plausible since even John McCain has [i]some[/i] environmental credentials. There is also something on the Green Party website commenting on how whoever wins in the U.S. in November will likely have more of a commitment to the environment than Stephen Harper. Just as plausible." [/b]

Plausible deniability to some perhaps. EMay has gotten good at that, but unlike some lefties I don't take her so lightly anymore. McCain has zero 'environmental credentials' as far as I know, beyond consistently vowing to "win" the war over the MidEast oil fields. Maybe he's mentioned the "sustainable" word like Harper and Dion also do. As well as Bush.

[ 16 March 2008: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Erik Redburn

What, no glib denials yet, no routine reassurances, no comments about how ungrateful Dippers are to their trusted allies? I'm shocked.

Erik Redburn

Here another little shift in the wind. Our local Island Tides is one of the best alternative papers I've seen, and boasts several "Green" friendly writers I'd gladly trade a few NDPers I know for. Traditionally they're also quite even handed in allowing space for other left-of-right views. (note -left-of-)

Here too, however, there's been a detectable change lately, which coincidently comes with our overheated housing market. Page 8, David Seymour, "Urban Land Restrictions Lead to Higher House Prices," would have been seen as unthinkable not so long ago. (and of course is the kind of misleading bull we expect from rightwing "think"tanks)

[url=http://islandtides.com/assets/reprint/IslandTides_Feb21_08.pdf]http://is...

My particular little island now has more Green party supporters per capita than anywhere I know, yet the "selective" logging and subdivisions carries on with little or no comment. Excellerating even. Our [i]Islands Trust[/i] rules apparently don't cover "private property" at all, and noone apparently has bothered to suggest changing that rather large loophole, even in the slightest. Not since we "went Green" anyhow, and on-the-ground activism faded with the steep yet uncontrolled costs. Almost be funny if it'werent so sad.

[ 17 March 2008: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Doug

quote:


Originally posted by DonnyBGood:
[b]
Replacing the NDP with the Greens would be pointless. Perhaps they should consider a unification.

Put together they would have 25% of the votes and pose a real threat to the establishment.
[/b]


1+1 isn't 2 when this sort of merger happens. The Conservatives' results are proof of that. I'm not totally opposed to the idea, but one has to be realistic about the likely result.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

quote:


[b]Do I really care how rich my neighbour is as long as I can eat good healthy food, breath clean air and drink clean water?[/b]

Uh, that would be yes. In fact that would be "HELL YES". The fact is, accumulation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands has walked hand in hand with greater environmental despoilation. And greater accumulation of wealth and political power in the hands of fewer and fewer people threatens the very survival of democracy, creating an elite who will naturally strive to make the rest of us live solely at their mercy, and will always end up sacrificing environmental sustainability for their own short-term economic self-interest. You almost sound like you're paraphrasing Anatole France's observation that "the rich and the poor both have the right to sleep under bridges"(A comment Monsieur France didn't actually mean as an ENDORSEMENT of inequality, if this fact has somehow escaped you.)


quote:

[b]The idea of the Green Party is really to forgo class politics and focus on the bigger issue of the common good.[/b]

Nice idea to contemplate over one's unsweetened herb tea. In the world most of us live in, however, the rich always assume that what is good for them is always "the common good". The wealthy almost never put their own self-interest aside, though they sometimes give the ILLUSION of doing so when this illusion gives them good publicity, which of course in the end is still about their own self-interest.

If most Green Party people share your views, Donny, yours is a party that is devoted to telling working people and the poor to keep to their place.

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Accidental self-dupe. Deleted.
[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]