Monday, August 14, 2006

On sketchy interpretations

Both CanWest and the Star cover Canada's mediocre-to-poor rankings in the latest assessment by the Centre for Global Development. But it doesn't take a particularly close look to see which of the two sources is going out of its way to give PMS a boost in the process.

The Star covers Canada's poor environmental ranking (17th out of 21 wealthy countries) in the following passage:
Canada also fared poorly in the environment category, which looks at what rich countries are doing to reduce their disproportionate use of global resources.

High per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, relatively low gasoline taxes and generous fishing subsidies outweighed the country's main strength — that it imports hardly any wood from endangered tropical forests.
In sum, a relatively neutral assessment which doesn't seek to spin the results or draw conclusions which aren't rationally based in the report. Which unfortunately is in stark contrast to CanWest:
Canada is ranked as one of the least environmentally friendly countries, placing 17th in a new survey of 21 of the world's richest nations...

Canada's high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and its inability to implement policies to reduce them helped drag down its overall ranking.

The survey data also appears to lend credence to claims made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that inaction by the former Liberal governments has made it impossible to live up to its climate change commitments under the Kyoto protocol, a treaty that Canada has ratified.
Now, take a moment to review both articles (and for that matter the Centre for Global Development's Canada results page) to see if there's a single word to the effect that it's impossible for Canada to live up to its Kyoto commitments. (As an added bonus, check to see if there's anything in the survey to suggest that Canada has suffered from an "inability" to implement better policy rather than an "unwillingness".)

It shouldn't take long to see that the survey says nothing about whether it's possible for Canada to make progress on greenhouse gases. What it instead says is that Canada hasn't yet taken the readily available measures which could bring it in line with its Kyoto commitments, resulting in an embarrassing lack of results to date.

If anything, Canada's rankings of 17th on the environment generally and 19th with respect to greenhouse gases should lead to a recognition that Canada can do more for a relatively low cost compared to other countries who are ahead of us - not be used as an excuse to do even less. But CanWest appears to have once again decided that where logic runs contrary to the end of boosting PMS, it won't hesitate to side with the latter.

No comments:

Post a Comment