Denying climate change won’t make it go away

Debate on how to address climate change is healthy and should always be encouraged.

What isn’t healthy-for the planet or those living on it-is to deny climate change exists at all. And yet that’s exactly what 54 per cent of Conservative Party of Canada delegates did at their recent policy convention, rejecting a motion that would have added the phrase “climate change is real” to the party’s policy book. Perhaps more importantly, the failed motion also would have stated the party was “willing to act” on the matter.

Recent weather events have made it harder for those unsure about climate change to continue to turn a blind eye. February’s cold snap that decimated the state of Texas is just one of the ever growing examples of extreme climate events in the last decade.

Texas wasn’t the only typically warm climate to feel the wrath of that particular polar vortex as CBS News reported photos of snow-covered camels in Saudi Arabia. While they make for some pretty amazing photos, the consequences of abnormal weather in certain parts of the world can be devastating. While we Canadians tend to smile smugly at reports of a couple of inches of snow bringing southern states to a stand still, as seen in Texas, it’s not a laughing matter. With no capacity to deal with extreme cold, more than 70 deaths were linked to the February cold snap, about half of those reported fatalities occurring in Texas.

If snow happening in America’s southwest is too far away to cause concern in eastern Ontario, just wait. Now that the calendar has flipped to April, that means flood season is about to enter full swing. It seems as though every other year this region sets a new record for flood damage-while some of it can be attributed to manmade control of nearby dams, the water still has to get there in the first place. Dams might be able to redirect the water, but it’s certainly not all to blame for the record amounts that are in the waterways in the first place.

Though the majority of his party may not agree, PCP leader Erin O’Toole is on record as saying climate change is real, and plans to campaign accordingly.

The Supreme Court of Canada also agrees it exists, as stated in their historic ruling late last month that deemed the Liberal’s carbon tax is constitutional. The tax was taken to Canada’s highest courts by a handful of provincial premiers.

With that mattered settled, ideally those opposed can move on to something more productive. Rather than try to fight science, a better use of time and resources would be to work on solutions that can benefit both the planet and the economy. If the carbon tax isn’t the answer, let’s see a better one. If the last two federal elections are any indication, simply leaving that question blank on the test isn’t likely to sit well with most voters.

Campaigning on a platform that puts the environment ahead of profits isn’t an easy sell-no one likes to pay taxes and it can be hard to convince others to think of their children’s children’s generation.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Denying it doesn’t help anyone. If scientific studies aren’t enough to convince politicians that climate change can’t be ignored, perhaps poll numbers will.

Adam Prudhomme

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