If you want to feel lousy about the state of climate change policy in Canada all you need do is look at the dialogue underway elsewhere.
As far as I can tell we should be doing at least as much as Britain yet they're light years ahead of us as we stand in one spot with our heads firmly buried in the sand, our best and brightest government climate scientists tightly muzzled by Harper with the disgraceful acquiescence of the Opposition.
Britain's former Labour environment secretary Ed Miliband pushed to get his country's climate change initiative rolling. He understood that the process began by getting people informed and starting the discussion. To kick start things he had Britain's best and brightest prepare and distribute summaries of what residents in various regions of the U.K. should expect in the way of climate change impacts during the 21st century. It wasn't a PR gesture. It was intended to assist residents and their local authorities to consider what lay ahead, to begin evaluating options and strategies and to lay the way for implementing solutions. One example would be sea level rise and storm surge inundation. By getting an idea of the problems that could be coming, local authorities could revise zoning accordingly.
Naturally we've had nothing of the sort from this emerging petro-state, Canada. Our government, like the governments of all bent petro-states, doesn't want to talk about it and it sure as hell doesn't want to do anything to get us talking about it either. Fortunately for the British, their government doesn't operate like a petro-state.
The UK has a national climate change watchdog, the Climate Change Committee. Today the CCC's adaptation subcommittee released a report warning that British homes and infrastructure are at real risk unless urgent action is taken to "future proof" the country. From The Guardian:
The UK's homes, power stations, roads and water supplies are at risk from flooding, drought and heat waves unless the government takes urgent action to "future-proof" the country, the national climate change watchdog warned today.
..The report, by the Climate Change Committee's adaptation sub-committee, also calls for speedy action by the government to introduce regulations and funding before it is too late. Recommendations include ensuring new buildings have better insulation and protection against heat waves and flooding, consideration of compulsory water metering to conserve water, "grey" water systems for homes to replace purified tap water with recycled water for gardens and toilets, and better emergency plans to protect vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
...The report suggests five "priority areas" for action: land-use planning, such as not building homes on flood plains and better surface water drainage; infrastructure, such as building roads to cope with "typical Mediterranean" summers; buildings, including the construction of new homes and retrofitting old housing stock to be better insulated cool in hotter summers; natural resources, such as setting up "wildlife corridors" so species can migrate to more suitable habitats as conditions change and "making space for water" when there is flooding along coasts and rivers; and better emergency planning.
We need to bear in mind that we have nothing to lose by learning about, discussing and evaluating what's coming. This is a lengthy process that can take years to translate into action. It's precisely because it takes time to learn, evaluate and implement adaptive measures that there are real risks from putting it off or even, as in Canada's case, ignoring it altogether.
Our leaders, all of them, owe us better than this.