The Planet

When It Comes To Climate Change, These Canadian Scientists Will Not Be Ignored

by Rafi Schwartz

March 19, 2015
image via (cc) flickr user izafineday

Have you ever had something really important to say–I mean really important–but the person you had to say it to just wasn’t paying attention? That, in essence, is what a group of Canadian scientists and academics experienced recently, prompting them to leapfrog what they saw as their government’s insufficient response to global warming, and release their own policy proposal for combating climate change. 

Sustainable Canada Dialogues” is the cumulative effort of over 70 scientists and academics, all of whom came together in order to advance the issue of sustainability in Canada in the face of stagnant environmental policy on the part of that country’s leadership. As per Sciencemag.org, the group released their report on March 18th, containing a: 

...detailed policy road map for Canada to achieve 100% reliance on low-carbon electricity by 2035. It calls for Canada to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and eliminate at least 80% of emissions by midcentury. Ten major recommendations include calls to impose a price on carbon emissions through a tax or pollution permit trading system, add more solar and wind power to Canada’s bountiful hydropower supplies, and eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

As The New York Times reported in 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made it increasingly difficult for scientists whose work is supported by the Canadian government to speak out on issues of environmental policy, at the time calling it "more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance." While Harper’s government has made moderate efforts to reduce the carbon released in certain industries, Sciencemag.org explains “it has yet to develop a plan for curbing emissions from its biggest contributor: the oil and gas industry.”

That’s where the 71 signatories of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues report come in, having taken the initiative to recommend ten actionable policy suggestions for the Canadian government to consider, with two that stand out in the immediate: The creation of a carbon tax similar to the one in the United States, and connecting provinces which produce hydro-electric power with those that do not. 

Whether or not there ends up being an official response from the Canadian government to the proposals within the SCD report, it’s heartening to know that, regardless of political procrastination and bureaucratic complications, there are dedicated scientists who are getting their much-needed message of environmental responsibility out into the world. 

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When It Comes To Climate Change, These Canadian Scientists Will Not Be Ignored