Who’s Ready for Climate Change?

by Leeann on November 13, 2016 - 5:18pm

In the article ‘Canada not ready for climate change’, the writer cautions readers on the effect extreme climate events, such as flooding and droughts, can have on infrastructure. He proceeds to say that this lack of preparedness could be detrimental if we don’t act immediately.  Also, the investment required for building resilience is less compared to the repairs needed if damage took place so there is little excuse for not adapting. However, there needs to be a larger commitment on behalf of the state, which often gets overlooked in favour of commercial buildings and business. This issue mainly involves the state as a primary actor for investment and building resilience.

The article brings up many concerns regarding the lack of preparation Canada faces when dealing with the threats that climate change poses. A moderate amount of commitment and investment is required to address these threats, however if leaders and ministers were genuinely committed the necessary changes would have been in place yesterday. My point is that government officials prioritize day-to-day operations that the country runs on over building climate resilience through infrastructure adaptation. This could be because we are dealing with highly complex and unpredictable systems, thus making it difficult for officials to act or enforce lasting change. More importantly, when climate scientists deal with uncertainty it’s often regarding the details that make up certain systems such as, it’s resilience, threshold and sensitivity. Hence, it’s not only whether climate change is an issue but also, they need to consider the different components that could affect these larger systems.

Furthermore, there may also be interest based, value based and behavioural conflict within these governmental and scientific communities. Interest based conflict refers to groups having different ideas about the project such as, who should bear the costs of these infrastructure changes and adaptations, whereas value based conflict suggests that, each group has different end goals about the extent of these changes or whether they’re really necessary. Finally, behavioural conflict arises when different personalities and circumstances between people clash, which may be a result of lack of trust between groups and individuals, their motives, their beliefs on climate change, and so on.

Another observation would be that neoliberalism makes it difficult for the state to fully invest in these infrastructure adaptations. Neoliberalism is defined as theories and practices that place importance on the market for social, economic and political life. This means that private businesses are receiving funding that could have otherwise been invested in infrastructure to build resilience. On top of that, this creates failures in a system that lacks regulatory assurance. Even if the company is environmentally friendly, third party certification and government oversight are not enough to address the scale of environmental threats that we face. 



You have a very intriguing title. "Who is ready for climate change?" caught my attention and gets me thinking about this question. Is anyone really ready for a change that is going to happen? No one knows what the extent of a change will be. How can we know all of the effects it will have until it has happened?
This article from February 2016, shows improvement on Canada's interest of changing climate, having had a strong presents in Paris at the United Nations’ 21st Conference of Parties. I am hopeful that these nations will come together and make needed changes to help slow climate change.

As soon as I saw the words "Climate Change" in you title I was drawn in. This issue of climate change has been something that I have been interested in researching for awhile because I want to know if there is going to be a thing left for my future kids. I enjoyed the amount of detail you included in your post. You did a fantastic job.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, then I recommend you check out a documentary titled "Before the Flood" from National Geographic Channel. It's a couple hours long, but it's really interesting. It even talks about your topic of infrastructure, so it could help develop your point further than you already have.

I decided to comment on your blog post, as the title immediately gripped my attention. It seems that there is a large consensus among scientists that climate change is happening, and will continue to intensify, however there have been little to no changes of infrastructure to deal with these changes. I think that it is very important that the questions you have raised be asked, as the government will likely not act, if we as citizens, do not ask them to. As a piece of advice, I think that it is important to consider the potential of citizens, private sectors, and NGOs power in creating the necessary infrastructure, as opposed to always relying on the state. I say this because I think it is dangerous to rely on the large state when an issue such as climate change requires such localized responses due to different effects in different geographic areas as you point out. I also feel that if the narrative that the state must do everything for us continues, that this is a dangerous situation that could result in things we desperately desire to be done, not getting done. Overall, great job on this post, it has got me thinking of potential solutions, and I think that is extremely important for an issue of this magnitude.