Needed ASAP: Climate Plan and Transition Planning

Gene McGuckin

As eco-catastrophe rushes closer, BC’s May 9 election will result—whoever wins—in provincial climate policies that are eco-suicidally inadequate. Patience until the next election—federal or provincial—will not be a survival trait.

Survival partisans must enumerate policy goals that genuinely address the climate emergency and continue pushing for them after May 9.

But such a grassroots climate plan must go beyond a policy wish list and at least start on the planning part. Human-wrought climate change is now widely accepted.  Logically, planning a transition to a post-carbon future is the next urgent step.

Current government/party “plans”  are a mishmash of bafflegab, market mechanisms, regulatory tinkering, and imaginary technological innovation. Inevitably piecemeal, inequitable, simplistic, and profit-constrained, these feints guarantee failure.

The only non-governmental actors with the motivation, resources, and credibility to begin exploring the necessary, society-wide approach to  transition planning are trade unions and academic institutions. A grassroots campaign to convince some unions and schools to take this on would:

  • initiate and dramatize the crucial planning process,
  • keep pressure on politicos for a genuine climate plan,
  • bridge the jobs-vs-environment dividing line between environmentalists and trade unionists, two key components of progressive change,  
  • highlight the necessity of democratic vs. bureaucratic planning,
  • integrate essentials of First Nation rights, just transition, and equitable amelioration of climate change impacts already occurring,
  • include consideration of
    • GHGs from other sources than burning fossil fuels – cement, animal husbandry, fugitive well emissions, coal mines, etc.
    • waste – military, advertising, packaging
    • the necessity of decreased consumption
  • hopefully spark similar initiatives elsewhere.

Unions and academia already cooperate on climate-related matters  through Clean Energy Canada studies/reports, Work in a Warming World conferences, etc.