Leo and Jennifer tearing their hair out

We seem to have forgotten about climate change, apart from the buzz created recently by the dark comedy movie Don’t Look Up.

It showed scientist actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence out of their minds with rage and incredulity that nobody wanted to know that the world would soon be uninhabitable. Real-life climatologists said the movie captured exactly how they are feeling these days.

Climate change has been eclipsed in the public mind by concerns about COVID, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and fear of nuclear war and, oh yes, the Will Smith Oscars’ smack.

Last week’s dire ‘now or never’ UN climate report took direct aim at Canada for a trail of broken promises, accusing us of indulging in magical thinking that we can cut emissions while still producing.  Canada’s intention to continue to subsidize oil and gas companies and approve new destructive fossil fuel projects was on full display with the Liberal government last week announced the Bay du Nord project, a US$12-billion offshore oil project in the Atlantic.

Only a week earlier, Canada’s environment minister presented a plan to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions through a 42 per cent cut to the oil and gas sector. The market opportunity created by the Ukraine war and bans on Russian oil and gas is just too tempting. 

The federal government went big on climate change in this week’s budget, announcing $12.5 billion to reduce emissions  (almost a quarter of all new spending) while acknowledging that actual amount needed to meet Canada’s targets by 2050 is between $125 billion and $140 billion every year. 

Eek!. We have our work cut out of us. “Governments cannot do this alone,” says the budget. “We must find new ways of pooling our capabilities across the public sector, the private sector, and across industries from coast-to-coast-to-coast,”

We also need to get to the point where we don’t sacrifice climate change commitments when faced with seemingly more immediate crises. There are going to be lots of curve balls between now and the attainment of our reduction targets. We’ll never get there unless our leaders can stay the course.