10. November 2014 · Comments Off on Never let a good crisis go to waste · Categories: Climate Crisis, Jason MacLean

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its starkest warning yet on the clear and present danger of global warming.

According to the IPCC’s report, “continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” More »

27. October 2014 · Comments Off on This changes everything, but how is the question · Categories: Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Transformative Ideas

With condolences to climate change deniers and other card-carrying members of the Flat Earth Society (yes, it’s a thing), the troubling reality of climate change has arrived (again).

Exhibit A is the U.S. Pentagon’s recent report asserting with Pentagon-like assertiveness that climate change poses a real and present danger to national security.

What’s at stake? For starters, climate change increases the risks associated with terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages.

The Pentagon’s report proceeds to map out how the U.S. military will adapt to rising sea levels, violent storms and widespread and protracted droughts. More »

29. September 2014 · Comments Off on What’s the use? Why I marched, and what’s next in the fight against climate changers · Categories: Activism, Climate Crisis, Jason MacLean

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about why I decided to march with over 300,000 people in New York City as part of the People’s Climate March that coincided with the UN’s Climate Change Summit.

“Do you really think it’s going to change anything?”

“China’s not going. India’s not going. So what’s the point of a climate change summit if two of the world’s largest carbon emitters are sitting it out?” More »

25. August 2014 · Comments Off on How to save the CBC, climate: tune in, demand better · Categories: Climate Crisis, Democracy Undermined, Jason MacLean, Media

University of Toronto geography professor Danny Harvey recently filed a motion with the National Energy Board urging them to reconsider its refusal to consider the climate change impact of the proposed trans-mountain oil pipeline expansion.

Prof. Harvey’s logic is pretty straightforward. It goes like this:

• New and expanded oil pipelines will facilitate the expansion of tar sands production.
• Expanded tar sands production will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.
• Increased greenhouse gas emissions will worsen climate change.
• Worsened climate change will jeopardize the well-being of Canadians, including future generations. More »

14. July 2014 · Comments Off on The Environment: It’s time to come clean · Categories: Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Pipelines-Tarsands

It’s time to come clean about the environment. Trigger warning: Popular myths are about to be debunked.

Myth #1: We can’t live without the tar sands.

Let’s start with Alberta’s tar sands, now rebranded as the “oilsands.” Globe and Mail columnist Konrad Yakabuski asks, in an oddly plaintive tone, “will we ever be proud of our oilsands?” More »

30. June 2014 · Comments Off on It’s the economy and the environment, stupid · Categories: Climate Crisis, Climate Policy, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean

“It’s the economy, stupid” was the signal theme of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 U.S. presidential campaign. A more apt slogan today would be “it’s the economy and the environment, stupid.”

Here’s why. Climate change poses, not only enormous dangers to our natural environment, but also — as if that weren’t enough — equally enormous risks to our economic well-being. More »

14. April 2014 · Comments Off on Canada’s third national policy — us · Categories: Democracy Undermined, Economic Policy, Jason MacLean, Transformative Ideas

Canada’s Third National Policy is an essay every Canadian should read, and an idea that every Canadian should embrace.

In Canada’s Third National Policy, Rod Macdonald and Bob Wolfe argue that Canada has evolved through three national policies.

Canada’s first national policy (np1) was a response to the Great Depression of 1873 and consisted of tariffs to prop up Canadian manufacturers, immigration to the prairies and the construction of a transcontinental transportation infrastructure. Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy of 1879 was a superb — if cynical — campaign slogan, and it still fires the ambitions of his party today. More »

17. March 2014 · Comments Off on SLAPPing democracy in the face · Categories: Democracy Undermined, Jason MacLean

What’s gone wrong with democracy? That’s the question recently posed by the British magazine The Economist, which observed that even in established democracies like Canada, “flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife.”

The Economist’s diagnosis of what ails democracy is disturbing. Politicians have been captured by special interest groups (read: powerful industries and their lobbyists) and undermined by anti-democratic habits like, say, proroguing parliament to dodge inconvenient questions and indefensible lapses of judgment. More »

04. November 2013 · Comments Off on Combating the ‘anthropocebo’ effect · Categories: Activism, Climate Policy, Fouling the Earth, Jason MacLean

Shocking news from Alberta: the Wildrose opposition party has announced that it now believes in climate change, and humans’ influence on it. What’s next? Official recognition that the Earth is round and orbits the Sun?

But you have to hand it to Wildrose party leader Danielle Smith. In response to Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen’s quip that Ms. Smith would never be taken seriously on the global stage if she didn’t acknowledge climate change, Ms. Smith retorted “I don’t accept a lecture from a do-nothing environment minister like Diana McQueen.” More »

09. September 2013 · Comments Off on Energy policies need attention · Categories: Climate Crisis, Energy Policy, Jason MacLean, Transformative Ideas

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will soon release its fifth report summarizing the latest science on climate change. A new IPCC report is kind of a big deal, so let’s look ahead to its expected findings and the response it’s likely to provoke.

Based on improvements in climate modeling since its last report was published in 2007, the IPCC is expected to conclude (again) that global temperatures are climbing, oceans are acidifying, Artic ice is melting (but much faster than previously predicted), dangerous methane emissions are escalating (ditto) and sea levels are rising.But even more importantly, the IPCC’s report will likely affirm with overwhelming confidence that these calamitous changes are largely being caused by human beings. More »

26. August 2013 · Comments Off on Proroguing participation in environmental decision-making · Categories: Activism, Democracy Undermined, Jason MacLean, Pipelines-Tarsands

As our prime minister prorogues Parliament (again), environmental advocates are suing the federal government over new rules restricting public participation in hearings conducted by the National Energy Board (NEB) on major energy projects, including Enbridge’s proposed reversal of its Line 9B pipeline.

Some background: In 2008 the government passed the Federal Sustainable Development Act. The unobjectionable purpose of this legislation is to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable. In passing the act, the government acknowledged the “need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government.” More »

12. August 2013 · Comments Off on Empty promises, false choices of Energy East · Categories: Climate Policy, Corporate Irresponsibility, Energy Policy, Jason MacLean, Pipelines-Tarsands

Forget Keystone XL for the moment. With U.S. approval growing ever more unlikely, TransCanada Pipelines has resuscitated Energy East, its proposed $12-billion pipeline to ship Alberta crude to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. But long before Energy East delivers a drop of oil, it has already spilled a torrent of empty promises and false choices.

Some background: Keystone XL is TransCanada’s proposed $7-billion pipeline extension stretching from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect to a pipeline running to refineries and export terminals on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. More »