Why being an environmentalist isn't enough. Also in this week's
Maclean's: "Butchers and Monsters:" What we must never forget about
Communist China. For more information on these and other stories turn to
TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - Time to shed some light on the fluorescent bulb
myth: If every home in the U.S. put in one compact fluorescent light bulb, the
savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be wiped out by fewer than two
medium-sized coal plants - the kind of plant that is being built in China at a
rate of one a week. Countless green ideas promoted in Canada and other Western
nations to help people reduce their so-called carbon footprint would
contribute just a fraction of the overall reduction needed to cut global
emissions 50 per cent by 2050 - a minimum target scientists widely agree we
The problem is that, for too long, global warming has been looked at as a
kind of pollution problem that can be regulated away in a relatively cheap way
using existing technologies. Yet efforts have run aground on a sharp reality:
fossil fuels are an integral part of every major economy in the world. Rich
nations refuse to give them up and, more importantly, poor - and more populous
- ones are relying on them to lift them from poverty. Fixing global warming
requires nothing short of remapping energy infrastructures and economies all
around the world. Instead, what we're doing is reducing ecological footprints
with light bulbs, awareness campaigns and carbon offsets for the environmental
sins of buying books and putting up Christmas lights.
Things we can never forget about China
Why does China overreact so badly? Why does the government care so much
about such small and insignificant groups? Why does China never get it, never
seem to understand what our inevitable reaction in the West will be? And the
answer, too, is always the same, or at least it will be so long as the Chinese
Communist party controls the country: China overreacts, cares so much, and
never "gets it" because it can't do anything else.
"Over there, it's different," reports Maclean's contributor John Fraser.
"Tibetan monks, unchecked, could replace party cadres as moral leaders in at
least three major areas of China." And, against such a threat, the bleatings
of the West are merely ripples in an ocean. Because it lacks the confidence of
its own people, the party's endurance is based on never underestimating the
power of small but dedicated protest groups. Because the party knows from its
own successful experience 60 years ago that a small but dedicated protest
group can take over and control an entire country, it can never let its guard
down. Not once. Not ever.
For more on why Communist China will never change, turn to this week's
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