Who cares about Hothouse Earth? Not the major political parties
If you are serious about climate change, if you walk with the kids and want real action, how should you vote this federal election?
Both of Canada’s major parties, one of which will form Canada’s next government, have climate policies and planning in their platforms that are plans to fail.
Both the Liberals and Conservatives have plans that won’t even reach the old, too-low-by-half Harper-era emission reduction target of 30 per cent by 2030. Who cares about Hothouse Earth?
After at least three decades of failed mitigation attempts, neither will even consider policies that might negatively affect the present economy. Even though the IPCC has been clear that “transformative systemic change” is needed, neither the Liberals nor Conservatives will even consider policies that could reduce emissions effectively.
Both parties’ leadership and most of their candidates recognize that climate change is real, happening, is human caused, and could be catastrophic, and agree that emissions must be reduced in accord with the climate science. But both still affirm ideologically that maintaining economic growth and stability is paramount. And therefore climate mitigation must be shoehorned into economic and political business as usual.
As Canadian climate scientist Damon Matthews explains: “We haven’t even started to talk about what might be ‘possible’ and are still mostly arguing about what is ‘feasible without compromising economic growth.’ These are, of course, extremely different things, and the latter will not get us anywhere near the 1.5 degrees C target.”
Climate is now an emergency. The Liberal and Conservative plans don’t do nearly enough and just waste precious time. Neither party will even consider our obvious obligation as world’s fourth-largest producer of fossil fuels to start to wind down production. Both still claim that we can cut emissions even as we grow the oilsands and LNG. A vote for either is a vote for worsening climate change, possible collapse, even extinction.
Conversely, both the NDP and Green Party have climate policies that could be game changers:
The NDP is advocating a Green New Deal where government would initiate a ‘big government plan’ to facilitate and finance a much faster build-out of renewables while removing subsidies to fossil fuels and restricting new fossil fuel infrastructure. This is a huge step forward that does recognize that climate is now an emergency requiring much more than just flexregs or puny ineffectual carbon taxes or nebulous innovation.
The Greens promise to work for an emergency wartime-style coalition cabinet — a coalition government to overcome division so that a bipartisan level of agreement about the degree of climate danger and what mitigation strategies are needed becomes possible along with the governmental power to implement these strategies even within regions of the country where fossil fuel production is central to the economy. There can’t be effective climate mitigation without such bipartisan co-operation.
Neither party can win this election, but either or both might be an influential partner in a minority government where their game-changing policies could be implemented.
So if you are serious about climate, how do you vote? You vote for the NDP or Green candidate that has the best chance of winning in your riding — and you not only vote but maybe even work for that candidate and try and get all your friends to vote for climate, too.