The politics of climate change

Very often, people ask me what I think of climate change. Given the nature of my work, this conversation topic is inevitable. And unfortunately, I am always afraid to venture an opinion because I worry that I am not sufficiently knowledgeable. I can speak about water, wastewater and toxics management at length without any worries because I’ve worked on pollution control for so many years. But climate change is not my forte.

That being said, I can say that I find it interesting that interest on climate change (mitigation and adaptation) has increased in Canada, particularly in the past few months. A recent poll by the CBC showed that environment was the top priority for Canadians. But that’s just opinion. Are Canadians actually doing something to reduce their environmental damages? Are lifestyles shifting? Are we consuming less? What exactly does concern entail?

I worry, though. Is climate change the only concern of Canadians? Can we afford to only focus our efforts on climate change? Wouldn’t Canada we be better served by actually using climate change to frame other environmental problems? I am particularly concerned with issues like poverty alleviation. Could we try to correct income disparities through climate-change related projects? I ask myself these questions and I don’t have answers yet. But I think that there is value to thinking through these questions. Particularly since I believe that my own work will have to deal with climate change in the not-so-far future.

Finally, we need to admit that climate change is a political issue. There are political agendas behind “greening” strategies. In this regard, I have to say that while a bit skeptical, I am hopeful. If politicians want to “appear to be green” and do some environmental good in the process, all the better.

Related posts:

  1. 2010: The year pollution control retook the center stage from climate change
  2. The adaptation vs mitigation of climate change debate #bad09
  3. Blog Action Day is October 15th – Climate Change is the theme
  4. Upcoming event – Climate change talks organized by VTACC (Vancouver)
  5. Climate change in Canada and Mexico

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