Wake-up call for boreal alarmism – by Peter Foster (National Post – January 18, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Greenpeace’s latest stunt shows it has no interest in responsible development

This week, Greenpeace issued a report, Boreal Alarm: A Wake-up Call for Action in Canada’s Endangered Forests. The radical NGO thus continues its leading role as a fount of boreal alarmism. However, there are encouraging signs that a previously too-pliable forest industry may at last be waking up to the idea that appeasing such organizations is a slippery slope.

Three years ago, when the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement — which ostensibly sanitized a 29-million-hectare swath of Canadian forest from development — was signed, I suggested in this space that it was a dark day for Canada. The agreement, between members of the Forest Products Association of Canada and a group of nine environmental NGOs including Greenpeace and ForestEthics, came after a campaign of hysterical misinformation and “Do Not Buy” campaigns. The U.S.-based Pew Foundation had not merely “brokered” the deal, it had also supported the NGO campaign, a flagrant case of being both player and referee.

The deal confirmed that intimidation worked, and set a terrible precedent of corporate appeasement. It created the impression that environmental laws were non-existent or severely lacking, and that without their feet being held to the proverbial fire, forest companies would devastate Canada’s natural heritage willy-nilly. In fact, neither the boreal forest nor the caribou — the campaign’s “charismatic megafauna” — were, or are, under any realistic threat.

All logged land is reforested, vast areas are off limits from development, and the great majority of the boreal is economically inaccessible in any case. If radical NGOs were really concerned about deforestation, North America would be their last concern, but then that’s where the fundraising potential lies. Meanwhile, federal and provincial governments were mere bystanders to the CBFA. Indeed, then federal environment minister Jim Prentice “welcomed” it.

The CBFA, I suggested, would merely whet NGO appetites and free up resources to mount a concerted attack on the Canadian oil sands, which is exactly what happened. Moreover, the “truce” was bound not to last. Sure enough, the agreement came under public attack recently when Greenpeace left claiming that one of its corporate signatories, Resolute Forest Products, had reneged on its commitments. Earlier last year, Greenpeace and two other NGO signatories — ForestEthics and Canopy — had already started grumbling about alleged lack of progress.

In fact, Greenpeace had started kicking against the spirit of the agreement as soon as it was signed, continuing disinformation campaigns and preventing the CBFA partners from issuing anything that looked like good news. Finally, early in December, Greenpeace made its break, along with its slew of allegations against Resolute. Resolute’s president and CEO, Richard Garneau, quickly wrote to customers pointing out that Greenpeace’s allegations were trumped up.

For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/01/17/peter-foster-wake-up-call-for-boreal-alarmism/

 

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