"Salvation or Menace" by Chris Turner in The Walrus

This is all definitely cause for optimism, especially the degree of agreement among panelists. I was nearly dumbstruck yesterday to read about Patrick Brown stating plainly to the PC Party of Ontario that "Climate change is a fact, It is a threat. It is man made. We have to do something about it, and that something includes putting a price on carbon."

My worry about proxy wars of all kinds is that it is not simply a matter of collective choice to avoid them. Energy East, for instance, must come before the National Energy Board for a vote at some stage: the vote will be yes or no, and the temptation will be great for the pundits whom you called out in your last post to play up the conflict (and play down the complexity). They, in turn, will hound politicians until they say things that can be used to assign them to one notional "side" or the other.

Put another way, we are constrained to shepherd these new goals through existing formal institutions. The Liberals could, of course, hand the NEB new marching orders (or replace its members) in order to prejudge pipeline cases. But that is not the same as establishing new bodies and processes as venues for decisions that balance the different elements of sustainability, and regional interests, under an explicit mandate to reduce GHG emissions.

Until those exist, I think we are too dependent on premiers and others having the strength of character not to throw the shared goals under the bus for individual short-term gain.



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