The big battle over climate change is just starting

In the House of Commons’ emergency debate on climate change, Elizabeth May  laid out the dangers of inaction and the promise of a Green economy in a remarkable, impassioned speech HERE. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Photo: Wayne Polk/Flickr

On Wednesday, May 15, the federal NDP will use an opposition day in the House of Commons to focus like a laser on climate change. Jagmeet Singh’s party will make some sweeping and bold policy proposals.

That is only one sign that the war of words over global warming is getting hotter. In that war, the who-cares-about-climate-change side seems to have gotten the jump on the pro-environment side.

The Doug Ford government of Ontario will soon be airing blatantly one-sided ads with a simple and simplistic message: carbon taxes make everything more expensive.

The ads devote a few seconds to say there are better ways than taxation to deal with climate change. But their list of those better ways is bizarre: hold the biggest polluters accountable, reduce trash, and keep Ontario’s lakes clean. The first way is part of the current federal government’s carbon emission reduction plan, while the latter two would no doubt be salutary, if they were to happen. The ads do not explain, however, what, if anything, they have to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s time to call climate change what it is — an emergency — and act accordingly.” -deposed Ontario environment commissioner Dianne Saxe

During Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s time, the Ontario auditor general criticized government ads that looked and sounded too politically partisan. She advocated that her office should have the power to vet all government advertising for accuracy and context.

The Ford Conservatives, then in opposition, promised to heed that advice. Doug Ford did not wait even a full year before he brazenly broke that promise.While Ford and his allies, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, take an axe to efforts to combat climate change — in the courts, in their legislatures and in their propaganda — sympathetic right-of-centre pundits are working overtime to provide something resembling an ideology for their movement.

In the pages of the National Post, former oil sands executive Gwyn Morgan engages in a sophisticated form of climate-change denial. He argues that the disastrous floods we have been experiencing in parts of Canada are the result of a long and cold winter, with record high snowfalls. “Isn’t climate change supposed to be about global warming?” he asks rhetorically.

The answer is yes — with a big qualification. Climate change is, indeed, producing far higher temperatures, overall, than in the past. But what does this warming trend do? It melts glaciers, raises sea levels and adds moisture to the air. All of these effects drive erratic, fluctuating and often violent weather events. MORE


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