Canada's dismal record on fighting climate change was brought into the spotlight twice this week -- first with a crucial UN report spelling out the tough task ahead for the world's nations, and second, with the president of France delivering an embarrassing lecture to the Harper government in our own Parliament on Monday.
Time is running out. The world's countries have been talking about climate change crisis but failing to reach agreement for more than two decades. A new approach is needed that goes beyond national governments and engages all facets of society. Companies need to understand that business cannot succeed in a world that's failing. The most successful outcome from this week's summit in New York should be that participants understand that the issue of the climate is too important to be left to the worlds' politicians.
The expensive, one-day summit -- corporations are picking up a lot of the cost -- will be a self-serving exercise for both the UN and the corporations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will issue meaningless platitudes. The invited government representatives will denounce global warming in general ways. And as usual, the culprits -- the air-choking corporations -- will not be named.
Doom and gloom predictions about future climate change do little to help solve the problem. International organizations, environmental groups and government delegates heading to Doha next week for the latest round of United Nations negotiations on climate change should heed this message. It seems like we're already off to a poor start. This type of strategy does little to shock anyone to do anything. In fact, some psychologists argue that such dire predictions may increase skepticism about the science behind climate change. These predictions also fit into the "climate change denier" narrative that research on future climate change is exaggerated and "alarmist."