CANADA (Christian Examiner) -- With the conclusion of the Canadian election in favour of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, both Canada and the United States now face the daunting prospect of national delegations in Paris this month determined to advance the climate change agenda and saddle people with an ever-increasing burden of costly but ineffective regulations.
In announcing the latest iteration of his Clean Power Plan in August, President Obama told the media that he is "convinced that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate." Fully implemented, his plan might lead to a 0.03°C reduction in global temperature by the end of the century. It would also destroy thousands of jobs and increase costs throughout the US economy. Such is the two-edged sword of the climate change file: political theater, costly programs, and little if any perceptible impact on a climate that is largely determined by natural forces.
Trudeau has been more circumspect, promising a national effort in full cooperation with the provinces and in consultation with the United States. He has been short on specifics but clear on the direction he wants to go. He wants Canada to play a leading role in this new kind of misguided internationalism.
Following Paris, climate change's greatest danger, therefore, will come from the solutions being imposed rather than from the impact of whatever changes may be in store as the result of forces far beyond human control. The most serious threat to the future lies in the extent to which the alarmist movement has undermined public confidence in reputable science and scientists and in the extent to which gullible governments led by fearful politicians have been prepared to let the climate change story be used to undermine national economies, public welfare, and democratic governance.
After 25 years of endless talk, it should by now be clear to all but the morally blind that alarmist scientists, mendacious environmentalists, utopian progressives, and overreaching politicians are trying to steer the world towards a dark future, offering economy-destroying solutions for at worst a marginal problem. Their quest is to reverse the development of human freedoms and well-being in order to "save" a planet that has withstood more than 4.5 billion years of assaults much more momentous than the gentle rise in atmospheric levels of a benign gas critical to all of life.
Their willingness to condemn two-thirds or more of the planet's people to perpetual poverty belies a stunning moral blindness. Their fixation on an abstract and largely imaginary problem and their insistence on radical solutions without reference to wider ethical issues or to political and practical feasibility have confused a large segment of the population in the very countries that have most benefited from the application of cheap energy to satisfy basic human needs and desires. Their moral obtuseness extends as far as counselling that we give up on democratic politics and human ingenuity and settle for Malthusian moralizing.
It is time to end this charade and channel global energies and resources into more pressing and rewarding scientific research. It is time for public officials to turn their attention to issues that matter and undo the damage already done. Now, more than ever, people of faith and character need to speak out and witness to the dangers we all face.
Michael Hart is Emeritus Professor of International Affairs and former Simon Riesman Chair in Trade Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, and a Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is in Paris, Nov. 30 - Dec. 11. It is the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A stated goal is to produce a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all nations of the world.