Why Rescuing the Frog?

The metaphor of the boiling frog (and yes, I know it has been disproved but, I’ll cite Krugman and say “never mind”) is commonly used in the discussion of climate change – that changes are happening around us slowly enough that we are unlikely to notice until it is too late, much like a frog in a slowly boiling pot of water. I think the metaphor extends beyond climate science and into many of the policy discussions in which I regularly participate. Where does Canada fit into the global discussion on climate change policy? Have we missed the boat and been left behind, only to face severe consequences later on? Has the global discourse on oil sands changed much more quickly than the Alberta government realized, and is the province is still swimming slowly around in waters that are getting warmer and warmer, without doing much to turn down the heat? Are we so focused on installed megawatts of green energy, thinking this will help us “win the future” that we have lost sight of the increasing heat of consumer backlash? The frog needs to be rescued before the temperature rises too high and green policies come to mean half the power at twice the price. Is the same true of cap-and-trade in the US and carbon taxes in Canada? How far did the failure to address head-on the description of the Green Shift as a “tax on everything” set carbon policy back in this country? I would say at least 5 years. Many would argue the same to be true with respect to the failed pitch for cap-and-trade in the US. I hope that my thoughts and your participation might provide a better thermometer to signal to policy makers to turn down the heat before it’s too late.

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