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1 Social Policy in Politics The Depolititization of Climate Change: An Avoidable Catastrophe Rory Fisher Thompson Rivers University Word Count: 1317 Social Policy in Politics 2 The Depolititization of Climate Change: An Avoidable Catastrophe Until now, nations all over the world have ignored the harsh reality that the world’s most popular energy source (oil) is causing irreversible damage to the atmosphere. In fact, scientists have proven that burning fossil fuels like oil has substantiall
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  Social Policy in Politics 1 The Depolititization of Climate Change: An Avoidable Catastrophe Rory Fisher Thompson Rivers University Word Count: 1317  Social Policy in Politics 2 The Depolititization of Climate Change: An Avoidable Catastrophe Until now, nations all over the world have ignored the harsh reality that the world’s most  popular energy source (oil) is causing irreversible damage to the atmosphere. In fact, scientists have proven that burning fossil fuels like oil has substantially increased the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) in the air consequently affecting climates all over the world. For example, in recent years the climate in Canada has been destabilized resulting in a noticeable change in weather pattern s ranging “from  shifting precipitation patterns to extreme heat events that consequently threaten the well-being of Canadians and will continue to do so at an increasing rate” ( Source). In an episode of Cosmos  –   a Space Time Odyssey,  Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist, states that nations all over the world are “ dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the earth hasn't seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past, the on es that led to mass extinctions” (Source). Consequently, the effects of climate change “ will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves ”  (Source)In spite of this, there has been an ongoing historical debate on the causes of climate change that has created a false dichotomy between politics and scientific fact. Even though scientists like Tyson are continuously providing the public with concrete evidence on the effects that CO 2  emissions are having on the atmosphere, skeptics still believe that climate change “ is a swindle, a [political] conspiracy, [and] an attempt to undermine our way of life ” (Source). In response to skeptics, a team of scientists examined the abstracts of 11 944 scientist who had previously written about the effects of climate change (Source) As a result, scientists determined that an overwhelming percentage (97.2%) of those papers reinforced the scientific consensus that CO 2 emissions  are in fact changing our climate (Source). In spite of this data, many other studies show what is called a backfire effect (Source)In other words, the  Social Policy in Politics 3  backfire effect refers to how “ skeptics will not be swayed by facts, finding all manner of rationalizations to ignore the overwhelming evidence of climate change” (Source)In Canada, many of these skeptics are government officials who have the ability to help reduce the effects of climate change. In particular, this essay extrapolates on how the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Conservative Party plan to address climate change through their own independent ideologies. In Canada today, it is the Conservative government who is power and serves as the dominant ideology. One of the key aspects of the Conservative ideology, pertains to maintaining the status quo on Canada’s  free market economy (Source). In brief, “ a free market economy  pertains to an economic system in which private business operates in competition and largely free of state control ”  (Source). For example, “t he oil and gas industry over many years has  brilliantly delayed any implementation of federal regulations [on carbon emissions] in one of the most concerted and successful lobbying efforts in modern Canadian history ” (Source) Ironically, the Conservative Party website states that “ the government should promote alternative energy (such as wind, solar, geothermal), transitional fuels (such as biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas), and the dev elopment of hydrogen as a fuel” (Source). Yet, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper neglected the opportunity to work with other leaders and reduce Canada’s carbon emoti on output when he decided to skip out on the 2014 UN Climate Summit (Walkom, 2014, p. 1). Indeed by skipping the UN Climate Summit, Harper was able to avoid any international pressure that  proposes him to regulate carbon emissions being released into the air by the Canadian oil industry (UN Climate Summit, 2014, p. 1).  Namely because regulating the oil industry would disrupt the industries status quo, which currently serves the best interests of the Conservative Political Party.  Social Policy in Politics 4 In contr  ast to the Conservative party, the Liberal Party is “ more likely to take the side of the scientific consensus and proclaim that global warming is real, [and] human- caused”  (Dunlap & McCright, 2011. p. 180). Also, the Liberals acknowledge that a free market economy is flawed and accordingly assumes responsibility for fixing any problems that may occur (Hulko, 2014). Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, believes that the Conservative government has made “ the oil sands have become a poster child for climate change ”  (McCarthy, 2014, p. 1). In response, the Liberal party plans a national climate policy that would target both consumers and industry, including regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands” (Source). In other words, the Liberals plan to explore “ a more socia(Source). lly responsible approach than the [Conservatives], without breaking the oil industry’s back” (Toronto Star, 2014, p. 1). In the end, not only has Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada acknowledged the scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is affecting the environment; they also plan to regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses that are being emitted  by the oil sands in hopes of restoring the industries reputation. Finally, the New Democratic Party is unique because they incorporate Environmentalism into their ideology (Source). In particular, Environmentalism pertains to the “ advocacy of the  preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment; especially: the movement to control pollution ”  (Source). NDP Leader, Tom Mulcair, accuses the Liberal party of failing to take action on climate change claiming that it was a “willful, not accidental inaction” (Source). In response, members of the NDP party have re-introduced the Climate Change Accountability Act ”   (Source). Furthermore, the Climate Change Accountability Act sets a “ national greenhouse gas emission targets for Canada that align with scientific assessments of the emission reductions needed to have a chance of avoiding a dangerous climate change” (Source). In order to avoid
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