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Publisher Description

CANADA HAS FAILED TO ACT SIGNIFICANTLY on the issue of global climate change despite decades of political rhetoric and debate. While Canada was one of the first nations to commit to climate change action in the late 1980s, it is now well-known internationally that this country is among the most recalcitrant in the developed world. While some innovative policies have been implemented at municipal and provincial levels, for the past 20 years successive federal governments have talked the good game of restricting greenhouse emissions while foot-dragging on the difficult political choices required in order to achieve meaningful reductions. There is no one reason for this inaction. Numerous commentators have argued that Canada has a strong political--economic incentive to avoid regulating greenhouse gas emissions (Nikiforuk 2008; Paehlke 2008). As a northern, vast, and resource-exporting nation, additional costs from climate regulation would be acutely felt by both producers and consumers, and it is unclear at this time whether Canada's relatively weak manufacturing and knowledge sectors would be able to take up the economic slack. Looking beyond Canada, we see that few nations have succeeded in implementing effective climate policies, despite global opinion polls that show strong public awareness of the issue and support for mitigative action (BBC 2007). Explanations of this broader failure include the abstractness and scientific complexity of the issue (Lahsen 2005), the overwhelming challenges of international negotiations (Depledge 2006), the capture or appropriation of the climate change issue by corporate and industrial interests (Linder 2006), and the success of the "skeptic" movement in sowing public doubt about anthropogenic causes of climate change (Hoggan 2009; McCright and Dunlap 2003).

February 1
Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Assn.

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