Studies Show When Government Is Skeptical About Climate Change, People Listen

Public support for climate mitigation remains higher in Canada than in the U.S. largely because the issue has all party support here, while political opinion on the issue is polarized in America. Clearly, the Canadian government’s strong advocacy of the issue must stop if they want Canadian public support for GHG regulations to diminish.

Instead they do the opposite: every few years, they make yet another hopelessly unattainable GHG reduction commitment.

Besides Harper’s nonsensical commitment at the June 7 – 8 G7 meeting in Germany to do away with hydrocarbon fuels entirely by 2100, here is what Canada has promised over the years:

May 2015: Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and may consider buying international carbon credits or offsets to do so.

2009: Canada will reduce GHG to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.

1993 to 2006: reducing emissions to an average of 6% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

1984 to 1993:  reduce emissions to 20% below 1988 levels by 2005.

Instead of making more GHG reduction commitments, the Harper government needs to set the stage so that the public can more frequently hear the voices of leading skeptics. Supporting an open, unbiased climate science conference and inviting experts from all reputable points of view would be a start. So would occasionally bringing up the growing credibility of the worldwide skeptic movement as a reason for going slow on GHG regulations.

To talk sensibly about climate change in advance of the UN meeting in Paris, Canadian MPs need to educate themselves about the field. This means listening to both sides of the debate, not just the side David Suzuki wants them to hear.

An ideal opportunity to quickly get up to speed on the skeptics’ position is taking place in Washington, D.C., on June 11 and 12. There, leading scientists, economists, and policy experts will participate in the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10), an event designed to help policy makers understand what is really going on in the field. Every presentation will be broadcast on the Web in both real time and afterwards.

ICCC-10 will demonstrate that Harper’s original position was right all along. Rather than trying to control climate as if we had a global thermostat, Canada should support adaptation to natural climate variability as a more cost effective and humane solution.

It’s time for Prime Minister Harper to lead on this if we are to avoid being sucked into another Kyoto Protocol. Simply waiting for public opinion to change while the government feeds a fire that could burn down our economy betrays us all.