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Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | LEAKED REPORT | Climate Action Network Canada ignores its own expert advice - keeps report from public

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Environment

Climate Action Network Canada ignores its own expert advice to start communicating with Canadians on catastrophic climate change

When it comes to our chances of avoiding global climate catastrophe, a June 2010 Gandalf Group poll, commissioned by Climate Action Network (CAN) Canada, could be one the most important reports ever produced. Yet, CAN has not released it to the public.

Canada is considered one of the leading obstructionists in ongoing climate negotiations while being one of the highest per capita emitters in the world, as well as, home of the world’s most destructive project, that of the Alberta tarsands.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 4, 2010

Climate Action Network Canada ignores its own expert advice to start communicating with Canadians on catastrophic climate change

When it comes to our chances of avoiding global climate catastrophe, a June 2010 Gandalf Group poll, commissioned by Climate Action Network (CAN) Canada, could be one the most important reports ever produced. Yet, CAN has not released it to the public.

Canada is considered one of the leading obstructionists in ongoing climate negotiations while being one of the highest per capita emitters in the world, as well as, home of the world’s most destructive project, that of the Alberta tarsands.   

What this poll (dated June 2010 - Gandalf Group) found is that the Canadian public (which is not so different from the American public) is well aware of and very concerned about catastrophic global climate change. What the report advises is that Canadian environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should start to communicate the truth of climate catastrophe and should be campaigning on the basis of climate catastrophe.

The text of the report is explosive because it has life or death implications for hundreds of millions of climate vulnerable people around the world, the future of humanity, and all life on our planet. Meanwhile, climate change negotiations are paralyzed, the UN climate convention secretariat advises us not to expect a new UN climate treaty for decades.

NGOs continue to downplay the catastrophic risks of global climate change, even now as those risks are rapidly increasing. A paper for the Four Degrees and Beyond conference in September 2009 titled Psychological Adaptation to the Threats and Stresses of a Four Degree World, written by Clive Hamilton (Charles Sturt Professor of Public Ethics in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University) and Tim Kasser (professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at Knox College, Illinois, USA) states: "At present most governments and environmental organisations adopt a 'don’t scare the horses' approach, fearful that exposing people fully to the scientific predictions will immobilise them. With climate scientists now stressing the need for extremely urgent action and spelling out more catastrophic impacts if action is inadequate, this now seems to us a dangerous approach to undertake."

Although, as Hamilton and Kasser point out, several leading climate change experts have clearly stated that the world is beyond dangerous interference with the climate system (now glaringly obvious, post-Russian fires, post-Pakistan floods, post-Niger double drought), the environmental movement has still not stated that the climate situation is beyond dangerous, nor has it made submissions to the UN climate negotiations to this effect. 

The Gandalf report, commissioned by CAN Canada themselves, has powerful implications. In no uncertain terms, this report dispels the myth that the public cannot handle the truth. In fact, it turns out that the vast majority of the (Canadian) public not only understand that the consequences of global warming are likely catastrophic, but their desire for action on the part of government is motivated by concern about the catastrophic consequences of INACTION by the government. The report states to CAN: "There is no reason to be defensive – momentum is with you.... The catastrophic consequences make not addressing this issue morally untenable." 

Key points from the report:

<ul type="disc">
  • Today a majority of Canadians believe global warming is happening and that the consequences of it are likely and catastrophic.
  • Canadians are concerned about climate change – less than 10% are not at all concerned.
  • It is concern about the catastrophic consequences of inaction that inspires the desire to act. The greatest benefit is to avoid disaster. 
  • This issue is more likely to be seen as important than urgent – but almost half (48%) of Canadians believe this issue is both very important to solve and very urgent to solve – this is a key group.
  • Canadians believe the effects of climate change will be global and severe.
  • And they believe climate change will affect the Canadian environment – melting of the Arctic ice, extinction of species, and more severe and unusual weather.
  • This argues for a change in emphasis from glaciers and polar bears to spread of disease and catastrophic food and water shortages.
  • An increased likelihood of consequences and increased concern about consequences are significantly associated with an increased sense of urgency to address climate change.
  • Among target groups, those who believe the following are most likely to want urgent action:
  • - The consequences of climate change are catastrophic and we must act now to avoid them.

    - If we don’t take action now it will be too late.

    - Canadians use more energy than anyone so we should do more to reduce emissions.

    - Canada is better off than a lot of countries and can afford to take the lead in addressing climate change.

    - Investments in green technology can create jobs now and benefit the economy.

    - If we act now, we can save animals, plants and ecosystems.

    <ul type="disc">
  • Almost half of Canadians see the issue as very important to solve and very urgent to solve.
  • And a large majority of Canadians believe that significant and global consequences of climate change are likely and of concern.
  • The findings and recommendations of this report are stunning, not only because they prove that the past and present strategy of the NGOs is wrong and increases the likelihood of humanity drifting into catastrophe, but because the NGOs have actually been instructed to focus their messaging to the public on the risks of global climate catastrophe – supported, of course, by the recommendations to avoid catastrophe.

    What did CAN Canada do with this report? Apparently next to nothing. They issued a news release on 25 June 2010 that headlined the Canadian government rather than the crucial fact that Canadians are concerned about the risk of catastrophic climate change (which the NGOs avoid mentioning). Adding further insult to injury is the fact that CAN has continued to sit on these findings since June, prior to the fires in Russia, an ecological disaster that killed over 15,000 people, and prior to the Pakistan floods that killed hundreds and resulted in over 20 million people homeless. 

    To sit on a report of such magnitude and relevance, by not messaging the true risks of catastrophic climate change to the public as tipping points continue to be crossed, must be challenged. The environmental NGOs know the full extent of the catastrophic risks, but they use the unprecedented extent of the risks as a reason for not communicating the risks to the public, the fossil fuel corporations, or governments.

    "My view is that the climate has already crossed at least one tipping point, about 1975-1976, and is now at a runaway state, implying that only emergency measures have a chance of making a difference…" "The costs of all of the above would require diversion of the trillions of dollars from global military expenditures to environmental mitigation." – Andrew Glikson, Earth/Paleo-climate scientist

    For more information please contact:

    Canada: Cory Morningstar | Canadians for Action on Climate Change | 519.642.4890 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting   519.642.4890 end_of_the_skype_highlighting | canadiansforactiononclimatechange@bell.net

    http://canadianclimateaction.wordpress.com/

     ---

    Video - 2009: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan is riveting.  Seldom does anyone have the conviction nor courage to speak so boldly, so bluntly.  Gelbspan reveals that what began as an initial response of many institutions - denial and delay - has now grown into a crime against humanity. In the video he speaks of how politicians, big oil and coal, journalists, and the big greens have fueled a climate crisis.

    http://vodpod.com/watch/2952973-climate-truth-15-convincing-minutes?u=cstar&c=canadianclimate

     


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