Liveblogging The Climate Action Symposium II: Moving from Science to Policy

10:55am – Dr. Shi-ling Hsu (Law) – “Carbon Tax: Politics and Psychology”

“No one is telling us the truth about carbon taxes…we must change the price of emissions.”

Carbon taxes in Canada: Quebec instituted the first tax (sale of fuels; less than 1cent/L gas)

BC tax: retail sale point tax; 2.4 cents/L now, 7.4cents/L in 2012; proceeds are to be given back to tax payers some how (i.e. revenue neutral – think $100 dividend cheque)

Stephane Dione: “Green Shift” expanding tax to other fossil fuels (i.e. not just gasoline, but coal, natural gas, etc.); revenue neutral

Jack Layton: tax is dangerous bc we have no choice in heating our homes; “this is dangerous nonesense” b/c we DO have choices (i.e. this rhetoric shifts responsibility from individual to government)

Stephen Harper: “this will screw everyone across the country”

Dr. Hsu’s empirical research: how do you make a gasoline tax more acceptable?

  • Revenue recycling?
  • “Technology effect”: supporting alternative energies
  • “Metric effect”: unclear..

Who is more likely to support a gasoline tax? (drivers reject, walker embrace) – self reinforcing cycle for promoting a tax!

11:12am Dr. James Tansey (Sauder) “From Science into Policy”

A 1% tax is hardly noticeable for most people (i.e. when there was a 1% tax by conservative government, it had a little effect on spending habits, resulted in 500 million lost tax revenue)

Science policy tends to trail industry solutions (eg CFCs, asbestos)

Helping actors of BC economy play this new game of sustainable development

Bring in BBC Climate game style interactive appraoch to engaging BC public

Universities can effectively bring together projects that no other public player can

Sauder – “Incubating social innovation” for climate solutions

Georgia Basin Quest Project in BC

11:25am – Dr. Simon Donner

“What makes it so hard for people to accept the evidence for ciamte change?  What are the obstacles?”

Possible Answers

1) Climate change lacks immediacy (no direct cause and effect; no single agency to blame)

2) GHGs are only one of the many factors that affect the climate

3) Those most at risk are not the most responsible (disconnect in space and time, developed vs developing world)

4) Entrenched powers prefer status quo

Religious societies in the south Pacific – prayers control climate, not humans (i.e. difficult to educate)

BUT: What about N. America?

-Hurricane Katrina – ~1/4 Americans thought the hurricane was due to God

Youtube video: “it is arrogant to think man can affect climate change”; what is her referring to? God?

Convincing people that climate change IS human induced requires a paradigm shift

11:40am – Dr. Stewart Cowen (Forestry) “Moving beyond the damage report”

Regional water issues – Okanagan

Summerland drought – do the rights of the individual trump community, or vice versa?

-must translate global climate change into local risks (i.e. drought)

-climate change makes a local management strategy you thought would work not work

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: