Le Devoir laments that Canada is not on track to meet its Paris Accord goals. Wow, who could have guessed? It’s some kind of journalism to make that discovery. Was your first clue the lack of a plan, or the carbon tax too low to bite, or the exemptions, or the long history of empty words, or…
Back in 1997, Jean Chrétien bombastically signed the Kyoto Accord, and then rushed to ratify it just five years later, right before retiring. But at least he didn’t pretend to have a plan to meet our commitments or to be working on one. Instead he saw a political problem, found a political solution, and pounded his political opponents rhetorically. Which to him was the definition of success.
Then we got Paul Martin and after him Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, to say nothing of various aspirants to political power, all of whom found it expedient to virtue-signal on climate without taking action. Harper actually withdrew from Kyoto, saying it wouldn’t be effective. But he never really challenged the science and if his policies were ineffective in reducing emissions, so were those of his more vocal predecessors and successor.
Had the bright lights at Le Devoir been following the issue, they might have grasped that actually meeting our Paris targets would be of no use, not if Canada did it alone and not even if everyone did it. According to the computer models, even under the full compliance scenario the change in global temperature in 2100 would be just one tenth of a degree. But the crushing impact on our economy would provoke a deafening outcry. It is therefore vital that we have a serious discussion of what the science really says, both about the problem and about possible solutions, and what economics says about prevention versus adaptation.
Newspapers can help by covering that discussion. They can even take part in it. But only if they start doing real journalism.