Premier François Legault promised a CAQ-style pragmatic approach to fighting climate change at the party’s general council meeting in Montreal this past weekend.
Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS
I don’t write a lot about climate change. I believe it is happening. I believe man plays a role. I also fear it is too late to stop temperatures from rising, creating havoc all over the planet for generations to come.I’m happy the Coalition Avenir Québec government has decided to add “fix the environment” to its to-do list, with a modest but doable plan — doable is key — to electrify transportation and use 40 per cent less petroleum by 2030 announced by Premier François Legault at the party’s general council meeting in downtown Montreal this past weekend.The premier promised a CAQ-style pragmatic approach to fighting climate change, poking fun at former Liberal premier Philippe Couillard who came back from the COP 21 meeting in Paris in 2015 a changed “green man.”Few countries can lower the Earth’s thermostat alone. Some have imprints so large it also discourages smaller countries from acting at all while the world’s biggest emitters of CO2 — namely the U.S., China, Russia and India — can’t even act together to save our only home in the universe.To signal our virtue, we stop using plastic straws while Greenpeace reports China is building two large coal-fuelled power stations a week, with a goal of firing up between 300 and 500 by 2030. The Indian economy is powered by coal, same as Eastern Europe’s.Unless the entire world makes a concerted effort to lower emissions of CO2, it won’t happen fast enough to make a real difference — and not only because of politicians or Big Oil.Environmentalists are the world’s worst communicators. They have not been able to adequately explain climate change and how to fix it to the masses since the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 — 31 years ago.Is the task too big, the news too bad and the contradictions too numerous to reach the goals humanity has itself for survival?I wish I could answer that, from the comfort of Canada’s province with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, placing seventh on the Conference Board of Canada’s list of international good guys, between Denmark and Norway, and not sound foolish (Alberta and Saskatchewan emit six times more CO2 than Quebec).We don’t hear much about their work but scientists and engineers are exploring ways to mitigate the effects of global warming in case our efforts to stop it fail. Environmentalists hate this posture because it smells of failure. Recently, students refused to answer a question in a Ministry of Education exam about adapting to climate change.At the CAQ’s conference, Legault told Radio-Canada: “I didn’t come back to politics to implement laïcité. I came back to talk about education, the economy and the defence of our identity.” During his closing speech, he added “the environment.”The day before, world-renowned author and theatrical director Dominic Champagne (Love: The Beatles, Cirque du Soleil, Cabaret Neiges Noires and many more), a firebrand environmentalist, was invited by Legault to take part in a panel discussion on climate change — a smart but dangerous move.Independently wealthy from his work on iconic Las Vegas productions, Champagne has put his career aside to spread his green message.Last November, Champagne created a “pact” toward transition to greener energy sources, angry that politicians are not doing enough to fight climate change. So far, over 278,000 people have signed it. The goal is one million signatures. The document is sensible, but Champagne’s preacher style does not appeal to everyone. An anger-generating station of one, he rarely smiles.While I do not fear him to be one of those watermelon environmentalists — green outside, red inside — à la Naomi Klein, whenever I am fed a spiel on climate change that includes the urgent need to replace our economic system with some version of socialism never explained, or a Malthusian catastrophic population scenario, I switch off.Don’t we hate being told what to email@example.comRelated