News on North American planetary stewardship not encouraging

Some less-than-encouraging news today:

The first story about the poll has some room for interpretation. Seeing pipelines as a “crisis” doesn’t necessarily mean supporting them, though the article goes on to say: “Looking at Canadians’ impressions of the Trans Mountain and Energy East pipelines, 53 per cent of respondents voiced support for both, while 19 per cent opposed both, 17 per cent couldn’t decide”. It also notes: “Comparing age groups on pipeline issues, the survey found the majority of Canadians ages 18 to 34 were not supportive of pipelines, while little more than half of those ages 35 to 54 were supportive, and those over the age of 55 expressed the most support for pipelines and labelled the lack of pipeline capacity a crisis.”

In part this reflects a crisis of education and self-interest. Older Canadians who are likely the least informed about climate change and the economics of a global transition to decarbonization are the most supportive of climate-wrecking old industries. They are also the ones with the least to lose personally from climate change.

As for Trump’s pro-coal plan, it’s not surprising from someone who is gleefully controlled by industry and utterly uncomprehending of everything complex. Still, it demonstrates the huge danger of backsliding with climate change policy. For every leader who tries to do something helpful (almost always while keeping climate change at a lower level of priority than economic growth and other objectives) there can be a successor who takes us back to a place worse than when we started. The challenge of climate change isn’t just putting the right policies in place, but keeping them there long enough to matter.

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