Rural climate skeptics are costing us time and money. Do we keep indulging them? Or are we really getting a return for our investment?
When we first conceived of this blog, in early 2015, we were pretty bullish on the prospect of a climate debate taking place in Canada. We were confident that the issues facing us on the margins of the debate were the issue of our time, not the issue of our fathers’ or ours. And, we believed, Canada was unique in having a climate debate that was taking place, and that it was taking place in a country where a significant proportion of the population could vote – which meant, in truth, that it was taking place.
On that view, even if there were a majority within the federal government who wanted to maintain fossil fuel in the economy, Canada faced opposition among a broader section of the population.
But it took us a while to find that majority.
In recent years, our view of what the country’s climate debate should look like has shifted.
While we were busy talking ourselves into believing that Canada was uniquely positioned for a climate debate at a moment when other nations were just beginning to understand the science and were debating the issue, we failed to see the problems, or the threats, that this climate change issue poses.
For example, even as this debate was unfolding behind the scenes, in my experience as a research fellow at the University of Windsor, I was seeing Canada’s climate situation developing. I watched as climate change accelerated, while the world was trying to deal with what was unfolding. The world was beginning to understand the reality of the earth’s warming climate crisis.
But, rather than help shape the debate, the nation’s leaders did everything they could to undermine the debate, including trying to water down measures to address climate change, and by attempting to discredit the scientific evidence that was emerging to suggest that we had a climate change crisis.
I could see the problems with this, but I couldn’t see the solutions.
So, in 2017, we started this blog with the expectation that we would have a debate in Canada, but with all the wrong assumptions. The debate was about maintaining fossil fuels over the long term; it was about carbon pricing as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially compared with the path to the Paris Agreement, where Canada agreed to reduce its emissions through a national carbon tax. It was an attempt to avoid a hard