What Trump's climate change denial means for Canada

by Gryphon_guelph on Novembre 25, 2016 - 11:06pm


What Trump's climate change denial means for Canada

The recent Election of Donald J. Trump has caused immense concern for American environmentalists in the past few weeks. Around the world there have been protests and outrage, but what is really in store for Canada under this new president? Julian Uzielli and Kristin Nelson investigated what President Trump’s policies will mean for progress in environmental management in Canada. Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall has already come out with a statement decrying the newly announced carbon taxes that will be imposed on the provinces. His argument emphasized the potential losses Canada might face now that America, our biggest competition as well as export market, will assuredly not be following a similar policy. Though evidence that this will affect Canada’s overall economic competitiveness and wellbeing was not given.

 Industries across the world are expected to push back against carbon taxes, in favour of different (and assuredly less stringent) policies. Experts believe that the best way forward will be to ensure that citizens who are being disproportionately affected by the new carbon tax and its implications need to be heard for environmentalism to have a future. Donald Trump won the election by speaking to those voters, and it is time to include them in the decisions that will guide policy in the future. The article suggests that social and environmental justice must be pursued in tandem if there is any hope for Canadians and Americans to be in agreement with carbon taxes and other instruments of environmental protection.

The article illustrates the prevalence of climate change denial. It is so rampant, now even the president of one of the world’s powerhouse aligns himself with this ideology. This fact brings up an important issue in climate change studies currently: the idea of how scientists can communicate both uncertainty and urgency. Scientists when publishing their work, do so within margin of certainty. However, this does not translate to the public easily state actors like President Trump then point to this uncertainty and sway the public’s opinion. This is an especially concerning idea as the state is arguably the most important actor in resource management.

A state’s power, (defined as the regime that presides and holds power over a sovereign or defined territory) at its essence derived from ‘the state’s’ perceived ability to manage, bind, hold tenure over, and exclude others from resources. It is taken as a given that states should take care of the environment, and some countries even have the right to a clean environment entrenched in their constitutions as a necessity for the state to provide. With new President Trump and his same-party senate being in power, this could be disastrous for the future of sustainable resource use in the United States, and possibly create an exploitative culture around the globe.

Though the state is often seen as holding onto their power over resources, it is ultimately the people who can demand certain action from the state, for it is the people’s belief in state power over resources that allows the state to maintain control. It is time for us to demand that Canada not fall into the resource- exploitation disarray that may eclipse America. It is also time for specific states to step up and create strong policies to ensure a clean environment and resiliency to climate change, even if their president does not believe human induced climate change exists.