An eminent visitor

As he headed upstairs for lunch in the private dining room at Massey College today, I was able to hand a short letter about climate change to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He accepted it very graciously and suggested we pose for a photo. I also gave a copy of the letter to Master Fraser, who was accompanying him.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

13 thoughts on “An eminent visitor”

  1. I am so glad that you were able to give him the letter and hope that he will think carefully about what you had to say. Keep up your good work.

  2. In the letter, Milan is referring to Mr. Harper as a father and a Canadian.

    Really well written Milan. Firm, clear, and not demonizing.

  3. Well, that is an item to put in your photography collection. Did you get a response to your letter?

  4. “Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to be a man in denial. He and his government ministers say that they are committed to dealing with the climate crisis, but their policies are creating an oil economy that threatens the stability of the global climate. Harper is not alone in his cognitive dissonance—most world leaders have not yet come to terms with the reality that most of the known fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if we are to begin to deal with the climate; but here is where Harper separates himself from the rest: most world leaders do not control an estimated 170 billion barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil and will do seemingly anything to get it to market.”

  5. Meanwhile, oil as a staple has intensified the obsession with space to the neglect of time. Trade spreads globally and, in corporate talk, gives us the grand new age of globalization the better to give a good face to the mad corporate drive to intrude everywhere. Power lies with the corporation which, in the oil business, tends to have considerable longevity. It exercises remarkable foresight in planning its own bottom line while blithely ignoring the long-term public interest – though the very recent decision of a number of large American corporations, including Exxon/Mobil, to build a carbon tax imposed by government into its planning of future costs is good news. Still, Big Oil counts its known reserves as an asset on its balance sheet, and keeps trying to find more, though if they are in fact fully used up global warming could pass all tolerable levels. The reality is a spreading ecological footprint, unambiguously adding to carbon emissions and thereby to catastrophic climate change. The market, the holy grail of orthodoxy, destabilizes nature – drilling on the bottom of oceans, ‘fracking” – and when the known externality of global warming causes ice to melt to then, in a spiralling positive feedback, step up drilling in the Arctic with more global warming . For the Harper government, the possibility that it might be compelled to do something about climate change in the future becomes the occasion to press for more rapid exploitation, to sell off our oil before that happens. We are in the world of the absurd, the insane.

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