Prime Minister Harper once announced that the greatest threat to global security was terrorism. That was nonsense of course—every year, malaria kills approximately 660,000 people, mostly children, and AIDS 1,700,000 people. Terrorism is a trivial threat compared to the big killers.
And the biggest of all, if we don't act preemptively with sufficient vigour, will almost certainly be climate change. And here PM Harper, if he wants to see threats to global security, might look in the mirror. It appears that his government has formed a new axis—an axis of evil to borrow a phrase—aimed at undermining efforts to deal with climate change.
His partner is Tony Abbott's new government of Australia. Abbott has abolished a leading environmental agency, slashed funding for renewable energy, and introduced legislation to scrap the country's carbon tax. All this will sound familiar to Canadians, and all this has been applauded by our government which is encouraging other nations to follow Australia's example.
The axis countries have quite appropriately been referred to as climate pariahs and Abbott as a climate criminal by Australia's Green Party. The Climate Action Network, an umbrella group of environmental NGOs, deemed Australia this year's Colossal Fossil while offering Canada a Lifetime Unachievement Fossil Award for its long-standing efforts to obstruct the achievement of an effective global
climate treaty. Canada had previously been awarded the “Fossil of the Year” award five straight times.
How big a threat to global security the axis will be depends on how seriously it is taken. Perhaps it will simply be ignored, in which case it will be no threat at all. It's the job of responsible Canadians and Australians to see that it is.