Canada to World: Plan On Us Failing on Climate

The whole world is looking for leadership on climate change. Canada is being very clear on this subject: it ain’t us.

Climate change laws years away: Prentice — Nov 17th, CBC

Harper will only go to climate conference if other leaders do: aides — Nov 15th, Canwest News

Canada can’t cut emissions in isolation from U.S.: Prentice — Nov 13th, Edmonton Journal

What Prentice and Harper have to say in the above articles is what every politician wants to be able to get away with saying: we don’t want to be the first ones to move. We want to wait and see how things shake out before we commit ourselves. Lately Canada has been impressively vocal about our insistence on being on the wait-and-see team.

If everyone plays the game that way there will be no sufficient action taken, ever. What is needed is for a few players to decide that since there must eventually be a collective response, they might as well just act as if it was happening, and do something brave with the confidence that they will eventually be backed up. To lead, as it were. Once some countries are out front, then those that have been waiting to see what will happen can fall in behind. Presumably that leading action is going to come from relatively democratic, uncorrupt nations whose policy is meant to reflect the long-term will of the populace, and who by-the-way bare the greatest physical responsibility for stripping everyone of a predictable climate.

In other words, Canada should be leading. I guess we get points for being transparent about our complete failure to step up to that position. At least other countries can plan ahead around our pending failure.


The second article – about Prentice addressing the Chamber of Commerce – left out the part we he says “as a practical matter, we should probably focus on adaptation.” But the whole speech is here, if you dare:

Suggesting that adapatation deserves a similar scale of effort as mitigation is a kind of climate leadership I suppose.

The fact that the article left that part out — even though it’s a similarly important message as “we’re not going first” — suggests that folks aren’t aware of the signficance of the mitigation/adaptation divide.

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