It is a coincidence that the 2019 federal election coincided with the North American tour of pint sized climate trooper Greta Thunberg, but it is appropriate.
Climate change has been on the radar of scientists for decades, but as the tipping point towards irreversible catastrophic climate change approaches, it still seems as though most politicians aren’t taking it seriously. They say that they believe in climate change and want to address it, but their policies say otherwise.
See, while people indicate in polls that they generally believe in climate change, thus forcing party leaders to pretend to believe in it too, they also generally do not want fighting climate change to cost or inconvenience them in any way. So maybe people aren’t taking it seriously either.
They should — the longer we delay the greater the cost will be for everybody, and as one of the world’s largest per-capita emitters, our current approach in Canada of doing something close to nothing is not good enough. The common argument that Canada only represents 2% of global emissions so it’s pointless to “destroy our economy” by having a carbon tax is wrong in two ways, aside from the fact that 2% is not insignificant:
- We are a global leader. Literally — we and other western nations led the charge towards high-carbon economies and we have a responsibility to lead the way out of it. We cannot expect developing countries to make big changes if we don’t do our share.
- There is no evidence that it will destroy our economy. There is no precedent for it. Indeed several countries with the largest carbon taxes have shown strong GDP growth. It is the same irrational fear of change that prevents us from doing any number of progressive things. Tip: People, and economies, are adaptable.
In an election featuring lies, attacks and untrustworthy leaders, you could do worse than to vote for the environment.
How do you vote for the environment? Step 1: rule out the party that’s bad for the environment.
The Conservative Party of Canada was several months late in releasing it’s climate change plan, and for good reason: it takes a lot of work to craft a document that appears to lay out a comprehensive plan of action while ensuring that it does absolutely nothing.
That is not entirely fair — some measures in the CPC plan (pdf) are helpful and could be a useful component of a larger effective plan, but that larger part is missing. All we have are socialist-type invasive government subsidies, regulations and tax credits which may help a bit, and programs that are so vague as to be worthless. It has been noted that the CPC plan is so ineffective it would likely result in increased emissions.
The Liberals put in a carbon tax so they must be good for the environment, right?
Yes and No. Even they admit — and Greta Thunberg made sure Trudeau knew that she knew this too — that they are not on track to meet their current targets. And yet they have set even more aggressive targets of net-zero emissions by 2050, but they have given no indication of how they will meet those either. We’ll figure it out, they say. You’ll forgive me if I don’t trust the Liberals given their track record of broken promises and ethics violations over the past four years.
What about the NDP?
I truly believe that they care about climate change, but their plan is also incomplete and treads all over provincial ground. Like this article says:
if Jagmeet Singh is going to argue that provinces should be able to veto a federally approved pipeline project, it’s hard to understand how he’ll be able to impose a wholesale replacement of a province’s electricity generating assets in 10 years when, unlike pipelines, electricity actually is provincial jurisdiction.
Singh seems like a more genuine guy than Trudeau or Scheer, but I can’t bring myself to vote NDP because they never seem to have a grasp of basic economics.
Sooooo … The Green Party then?
The Green “Mission Possible” plan is extremely ambitious.
Or at least, not feasible given the realities of the Canadian economy and political landscape.
Elizabeth May certainly is passionate about the environment, but I’m not gonna lie … I am not comfortable with some of the policies in the Green platform and I’m not certain May would make a good PM. But May is not going to be PM and when people think about the Green Party they think “environment”, not “universal basic income”. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the environment. It’s that simple.
And that is why, when I cast my ballot tomorrow, there is a pretty good chance it will be for my local 30 year old Green Party candidate who would be hopelessly in over his head if he actually got elected. My vote would not be for him, nor for Elizabeth May. It would simply be a check mark in the column that says “we have to start taking this climate change shit seriously.”
my twitter thread on carbon tax: link