Imagine a government fully committed to meeting the multiple threats of climate change. What would that government look like? What would it be doing? How would that be reflected in economic policy? How would that government be implementing adaptation strategies to build resilience in the mid- to long-term? What other criteria would come into play?
This sort of exercise could form the basis for a political stress test to gauge just how well or poorly a particular government is dealing with looming climate change. This is, after all, an existential threat of a magnitude never experienced in the course of human civilization.
Most governments, our own included, would be failing miserably. They're not preparing for the future and their dereliction will exact a horrible price on the populace in the decades ahead.
The fact is, climate change is not their priority. It isn't. Dealing with climate change is disruptive, costly and easily kicked down the road. Here's an example. We've been warned that essential Canadian infrastructure is not up to the challenges of this new climate, the anthropocene. In 2014, while Calgary was neck deep in flood water, the World Council on Disaster Management held its annual conference in Toronto.
Dr. Saeed Mirza, emeritus professor at Montreal’s McGill University specializing in structural engineering, added that the monumental infrastructure costs accumulated over decades of negligence have left Canada particularly vulnerable to catastrophic events.
“The frequency and intensity of these events has been increasing at an escalating rate and what was a one-in-100-year event at one time may become the norm,” he said.
“When we look at Calgary, we had a flood there in 2005 and they called it a one-in-100-year flood, while this one according to some descriptions in the news has been three times as bad.”
Mirza estimated that Canada’s infrastructure requirements have reached a cost of about $1 trillion, while a recent survey by the McKinsey Global Institute earlier this year stated that worldwide infrastructure needs are about $57 trillion.A trillion dollars, for Canada, is an almost unimaginable amount of money. Yet these disaster management types warn that the damage of ignoring the problem will be much greater.
Here's the point. If our governments - federal, provincial, even municipal - are setting us up for some future collapse, don't you think we should be aware of that, especially before we go to the polls? Should you not be able to consider that factor as part of the "informed consent" represented by how you mark your ballot?
Don't you think you should have some say on whether we're preparing a viable future for our young people? I do. If we don't, they're just going to take us over that cliff.