In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

A New Climate Change Technology

Posted 1/7/2010 by Grant Mitchell

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Sometimes I feel almost desperate about climate change and the failure of governments to do anything at all about it. Their default position is to do nothing and they shuffle along toward action only when forced to. Canada can and should provide leadership to the world. This is a moment in history crying out for great leadership. US President Obama is trying to provide it and needs help.

These are the things I know for sure about climate change:

1. It is happening and we are causing it.

2. Some people do not believe that it is happening or that it is being caused by human activity. This kind of sentiment erodes the intensity of commitment that is needed to deal with the problem.

3. There is huge urgency that we take action and that we provide leadership. The consequences of inaction are catastrophic.

4. There is huge economic opportunity in dealing with climate change and potentially huge economic loss if we do not.

5. A recent study modelled by Mark Jaccard commissioned by the TD bank shows that the Canadian economy will grow by 2.4 percent annually (2010-2020) in a business as usual model. In comparison, meeting the government’s current GHG reduction targets would see economic growth of 2.2 percent annually. That is only a difference of 0.2 percent!

6. Those who argue that the costs of action are all but prohibitive have never produced any studies that support that contention or the opposite problem, the infinite costs of doing nothing.

7. There are sufficient technologies and financial mechanisms already available to solve the GHG emissions problem if we would only start.

8. When we start, we will find that the problem will be solved much faster and at much less cost than some feared.

9. If Canadians fully embraced the problem of climate change, there would be so much pressure from them that the government would be able to react and take climate change action.

10. Business wants more certainty in what policies they are going to have to meet.

11. The day to day pressures of taking care of our families and making ends meet makes it very difficult to embrace the potential impact of climate change and changes that climate change action will mean for our lives. But surely, if we could truly appreciate the impact of climate change on the lives of our children and grandchildren action would be demanded.

12. Canada is becoming isolated internationally because we are not making our contribution to the solution of the climate change problem.

Then there are some things I cannot understand:

1. How can people not see that climate change action is at the base of the next economy, an economy of the 21st century? How can they not see the economic risks of the US prohibiting imports of our products and commodities on the basis of GHG emission standards?

2. How can educated people in a modern society that is driven by science and technology not accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that it is being caused by human activity?

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