Tag Archives: climate change

Nissan LEAF ad sends a message; Deutsche Bank report sends a warning

The Nissan LEAF ad above is quite clever, and keeping in mind that it’s just an advertisement and that electric cars are not going to save the world from climate change, I think it does a good job of stirring the emotions and sending a message without so much as uttering a single word. Curious to know what you think about it.

BTW: Here is a link to an important report from DB Climate Change Advisors, part of the Deutsche Bank Group, which thoroughly rips apart the arguments often used by skeptics and deniers to slow down or halt any efforts to seriously reduce the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions we’re dumping into the atmosphere. The bank says that navigating the scientific debate is “vitally important” for investors in the space, and that its goal is to provide “a balanced, expert, and detailed assessment of the scientific case for climate change that will help investors navigate these extremely complex issues.” It’s a must read and something that should be spread virally. I should emphasize that Deutsche Bank, frustrated with America’s inability to pass climate legislation, is the investment giant that said in August that it was taking its alternative energy investments out of the U.S. and focusing its efforts on Western Europe and China. Kevin Parker, who heads up an asset division at the bank that oversees $700 billion (U.S.) in funds — $7 billion related to climate change investments — said the U.S. (and Canada by association) is “asleep at the wheel on climate change, asleep at the wheel on job growth, asleep at the wheel on this industrial revolution taking place in the energy industry.”

Good on Deutsche Bank for giving a credible voice to this issue from the financial sector.

Russia’s problem is our problem

My Clean Break column today draws attention to the record heat wave in Russia, as well as flooding in Pakistan and other extreme events in other parts of the world. It may seem like a world away, but we have to keep in mind: it could just as easily be happening here, whether it be cottage country in Ontario or in West Vancouver or Halifax, or wherever. I think the media in North America are doing a terrible job of making the connection with climate change, and that’s partly because they don’t want to be knee-jerk and partly because they don’t understand that climate change is about extremes, not just gradually higher temperatures over time. They don’t want to make the connection between high wheat prices and climate change, and how this is a perfect example of the economic costs that will increase over time.

Shortly after my column appeared online this morning, I got an e-mail from a scientist at Environment Canada who wanted to point me to some information on the government’s Web site that, while not easily accessible or promoted as being available, is there nonetheless. “We may be muzzled,” wrote this scientist, “but there is still a lot of climate science material available on Environment Canada Web pages.”

He said “government scientists were very unhappy” that this science, funded by Canadian taxpayers, was not being made known and easily accessible to the general public.”And yes, I fear reprisals if my name is attached to anything,” he wrote.

Here are two links he provided. The first shows graphically how temperatures are expected to rise between now and 2100 in Canada and throughout the rest of North America. The graphic simulation is based on the Canadian Global Climate Model, and it’s shocking to watch as mean temperature climbs by 4.5 degrees C across much of Canada. The second shows that the national average temperature in Canada this spring was 4.1 degrees C above normal, “which makes this the warmest spring on record since nationwide records began in 1948.” The previous record was in 1998, which was 3.2 degrees C above normal. “This is the second season in a row to set a record for above normal temperatures.”

This data, against the backdrop of the Russia heat wave and Pakistan flooding, should be front-page news.

Public wants government to take lead on climate change: PwC

A global survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that 94 per cent of Canadians expect to change the way they do business over the next two or three years in anticipation of climate change policies, and 98 per cent believe regulation is the best way to influence that change. Roughly 60 per cent of Canadian respondents think the government, not the private sector, should have primary responsibility for leading behavioural change. The global average here is 44 per cent, and only 23 per cent in the United States. So is government doing enough? Uh… no — 70 per cent of Canadian respondents said current government policies — and I assume they’re talking federal policies — are ineffective.

So, it makes one wonder: Why is our federal government attaching itself to the U.S. hip on these issues when clearly, Canadians think differently and want our government to lead, not follow? Opposition parties have failed us on this issue, particularly the Liberals. Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has been ineffective on the climate change file. He’s been invisible. Even if there is a change in government, it’s unclear what it would accomplish. Increasingly, I’m hearing from the business community that a carbon tax would be the preferred mechansim for pricing carbon. There is growing fear that cap-and-trade is the wrong way to go, if only because it’s complex and open to widespread manipulation and abuse.

Is it time to rekindle talk of carbon taxes and “green shifting” on the federal political scene? Some might consider it suicide, based on how former Liberal leader Stephane Dion got killed on the issue. I disagree. I think it can be resurrected, and should be resurrected. But it needs a convincing leader behind it, one who is able to articulate the benefits clearly and stand up to the scare tactics of the Conservatives; one who can build alliances with the business community, with consumer and labour groups, and with provinces and municipalities.

Any takers?