CBCradio

April 25, 2008

Pt 1: Statistics Canada Looks At Cars - According Statistics Canada, Canadians are among the worst polluters in the world. In a study released in late April 2008, Statscan found that every year we produce an average of 23 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person. That makes us the third worst per capita emitter in the world behind Australia and the United States.

Read more here

Pt 2: Subsidizing Energy - By April 25, 2008, national gas prices are averaging about $1.20 a litre and the price of oil was hitting record levels and was projected to go higher. Suncor -- one of the biggest companies in the Alberta tar sands -- just reported first-quarter profits of $708 million. And, as we discussed earlier in this show, our fondness for driving has helped make Canada one of the worst per capita polluters in the world.

Read more here

Pt 3: Modern-Day Slavery - It's been nearly two centuries since the Atlantic Slave Trade was outlawed. It took several more decades to ban slavery in the Americas altogether. But here in the 21st Century, most people believe that the practice has been safely relegated to the pages of history.

Read more here

It's Friday, April 25th.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada will update its list of species at risk today. Past lists have focussed attention on the plight of the Polar Bear, the Spotted Owl, the Western Chorus Frog and the Vancouver Island Marmot.

Currently, this year, all eyes are on Stephane Dion.

This is The Current.


Statistics Canada Looks At Cars

According Statistics Canada, Canadians are among the worst polluters in the world. In a study released in late April 2008, Statscan found that every year we produce an average of 23 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person. That makes us the third worst per capita emitter in the world behind Australia and the United States.

According to the report, one reason for our less than stellar ranking is the amount of time we spend behind the wheel. Heather Dewar is one of the authors of the study and told us about its findings.

That study has many environmentalists looking for ways to get Canadians to drive less, and Jason Bordoff thinks he has an answer for them. He's with the Brookings Institution and he's co-authored a report about Pay As You Drive Auto Insurance. He joined us from Washington.


Pay-As-You-Drive Car Insurance (Clips)

The idea of pay-as-you-drive insurance is relatively unknown in Canada, so The Current took to the streets of Toronto to find out if commuters there were receptive to it.


Listen to Part One:

 

Subsidizing Energy

By April 25, 2008, national gas prices are averaging about $1.20 a litre and the price of oil was hitting record levels and was projected to go higher. Suncor -- one of the biggest companies in the Alberta tar sands -- just reported first-quarter profits of $708 million. And, as we discussed earlier in this show, our fondness for driving has helped make Canada one of the worst per capita polluters in the world.

So you wouldn't think that oil production is the kind of thing the federal government would be rushing to subsidize right now. But according to a report [NOTE: link leads to .pdf file] released last week by KAIROS, an ecumenical group that focusses on social justice issues, the tar sands are getting more than their fair share of generous federal support.

John Dillon is the Program Coordinator of Global Economic Justice with KAIROS. He's also the lead author of the report, "Pumped Up" and he joined us in Toronto.


Subsidizing Energy

In addition to oil and gas, federal and provincial governments have shown a willingness to support biofuels. But a lot of people who work with renewable energy sources feel like they haven't been invited to the party. Guy Dauncey is the President of the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association and offered us some thoughts about the situation.

But a number of Canadian renewable energy companies have found warmer welcomes, bigger markets and fatter funding outside of Canada. Arise Technologies is a solar energy company based in Waterloo, Ontario. It was aggressively wooed by the rapidly expanding solar industry in Germany and the company is now building a plant there. Ian McLelland is Arise Technologies' Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper likes to say that Canada is an energy superpower. But will it stay that way?

For his thoughts, we were joined from Fergus, Ontario by Thomas Homer-Dixon, the author of The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Modern-Day Slavery

It's been nearly two centuries since the Atlantic Slave Trade was outlawed. It took several more decades to ban slavery in the Americas altogether. But here in the 21st Century, most people believe that the practice has been safely relegated to the pages of history. But according to Benjamin Skinner, that's simply not the case. Worse yet, he says slavery has not only persisted, it's thriving. Benjamin Skinner is the author of the new book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face With Modern Day Slavery and he spoke to us from New York City. We were also joined from Washington by Kevin Bales, director of Free the Slaves, a non-governmental advocacy group.


Last Word - Slavery

We closed this episode with one more thought about slavery. Over the years, many musicians have turned their attention to the damage done by centuries of institutionalized slavery, including the reggae band Burning Spear. This is Slavery Days from their 1975 album, Marcus Garvey.


Listen to Part Three:

Bookmark and Share
  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.