Friday, October 12, 2018

Politics And Climate Change

Sad to say, climate change and politics in the worst possible sense are inextricably linked. Even as we face the defining crisis of human existence, the question remains one of optics. The Star's Susan Delacourt wonders whether ordinary Canadians can be sold on climate change.

On the one hand are people like Stephen Harper who, in his new book,
warns that standing up for the environment makes for bad politics, especially in a populist age when parties are looking for the votes of “ordinary” people.

“Political parties, including mine, have won elections just by opposing a carbon tax,” the former prime minister writes in the newly released “Right Here, Right Now.” “The reason is simple. It is ordinary voters who pay carbon taxes.”
On the opposite polarity is Green Party Leader Elizabeth May:
In a speech to her party’s convention in Vancouver last month, May said ordinary Canadian voters are more than ready to hear the truth about the climate crisis in the 2019 campaign.

“We really do need to level with Canadians,” May said. “If the one issue is survival, it’s kind of the issue.” She intends to build her campaign around the idea that Canadians are ready, even eager, to have politicians telling the truth to them, and climate change is a perfect entry into that discussion.
Given the latest doom-laden but all-too-real Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, May says the time is right:
“We’re no longer talking about future generations,” May said in an interview yesterday. “We’re talking about the life span of our own children, who are alive right now.”

May wonders why the IPCC report cannot become the Dunkirk of the current generation — a call for citizens and government to work together for a common aim. In the “darkest hour” of the Second World War, she said, people came together to fight a common enemy. May believes that citizens are ready to hear the same message when it comes to saving the planet within the next dozen years.
May's historical allusion is a good one, but it ignores something vital: with Dunkirk, a sense of national purpose was instilled by a strong leader, Winston Churchill, in response to an immediate threat, a threat that was all too real to the British people.

So far, we haven't sufficiently personalized the threat posed by climate change. Will it take a series of Canadian catastrophes similar to what is happening in the United States and other parts of the world before our leaders, and our people, find that sense of purpose? Were the Western forest fires this past summer, the 2016 Fort McMurray conflagration and last month's tornadic destruction in the Ottawa area not sufficient foretaste?

If we are waiting for more dramatic destruction on our home soil to move us, it will, in all likelihood, be far, far too late, and the earth will continue on its current course of ridding itself of a good portion of its greatest affliction - the human species.


  1. The evidence is everywhere, Lorne. If we refuse to see it -- and act accordingly -- we deserve the doom that awaits us.

    1. I feel no end of distress over our willingness to sacrifice life at the altar of convenience and willful ignorance, Owen.

  2. We need to mobilize support for the Greens in 2019. That begins by recognizing that, when it comes to the gravest threat facing Canadians, both the Liberals and the Conservatives are on the side of the fossil fuel industries. They're focus is on ramping up the bitumen resource and flooding the markets with as much high-carbon bitumen as possible. Those are parties that have no interest in talking about any "induced implosion" of the carbon economy. Think of them as "Team R.J. Reynolds."

    This is what you get from these pathetic 'false majority' governments that wield power on a mandate of a minority of those who turn out to the polls.

    For their support of an expanding petro-economy and their craven opposition to electoral reform it's time to treat both major parties for what they are, inimical to the welfare of the country and our children.

    I'm convinced we need minority governments with Greens holding a sufficient balance of power that they can knock them down, one election after another, until responsible government can be restored.

    The deadline that has been set for major carbon emission cuts is 2030. In our context that's three election cycles. We will need all three of those parliaments to achieve anything meaningful by way of climate change mitigation and adaptation, both of which remain moribund.

    The Greens are the future, if we're to have a future. We cannot trust the other two with these false majorities. We don't have the time for that.

    1. For a number of reasons, including some of the above that you articulate, Mound, I have come to the same decision as you; strategic voting no longer holds any allure for me, given the very poor offerings and hypocritical, platitudinous utterances of the the other parties. The Greens have my support going into 2019.