Rapid warming will increase floods, fires, environmental disaster and damage our health and way of life. Video still from YouTube footage posted by Jason Edmondson.

New Climate Change Report Should Be a Wakeup Call

Canada is warming at twice the global rate, while right-wing politicians attack the carbon tax.

What do Ebola and climate change have in common? A large number of the people at risk don’t even believe they’re real.

And even a new federal government report warning that Canada is warming at twice the global rate is unlikely to change those people’s minds.

On Ebola, a survey published in late March in The Lancet Infectious Diseasesreported that a quarter of the population in two towns at the centre of the disease’s hot zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo said the outbreak wasn’t real.

Meanwhile, a poll published earlier this year found that 18 per cent of Canadians think climate change is an unproven theory. They included 22 per cent of Canadians over age 55, and 36 per cent of those who voted Conservative in 2015.

The poll also found that two-thirds of us think it’s more important to protect the environment than to promote economic growth. But sizeable minorities prefer growth and think the federal government is paying too much attention to climate change.

Those minorities are presumably the voters that Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives and Alberta’s United Conservative Party are appealing to by campaigning against the new federal carbon tax. Twitter was full of right-wing politicians like Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta United Conservative leader Jason Kenney pumping gas on Sunday before the dreaded carbon tax kicked in on Monday.

So Canada’s Changing Climate Report is unlikely to change the minds of many in the Conservative base, federally or provincially. After all, it was researched and written on behalf of the Trudeau Liberal government, making it automatically suspect.

Granted, the Liberals’ “fundamentally incoherent” climate policies make the new report a bit of an embarrassment. They seem to think they can fund the transition to a zero-emissions economy by shipping bitumen to Asia and letting Asians do the emitting instead.

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