The Current

'People don't like change': Tough action on climate change is a hard sell, says journalist

Our national affairs panel discusses how Canada's leaders are dealing with climate change — and whether they've convinced the public to join the fight.

Getting the public on board 'is a hurdle that no government has figured out yet,' Mia Rabson says

Fighting climate change requires lifestyle changes that governments so far haven't convinced the wider public to do, said Mia Rabson. (Getty Images)

Read Story Transcript

Policy leaders in Canada are struggling to convince the public to get on board with the fight against climate change, according to the Canadian Press's energy and environment reporter.

Mia Rabson argued that an issue as serious as climate change requires a drastic solution, which many people just aren't ready for.

"People don't like change. They don't like the idea that they have to maybe pay a carbon tax, or do something differently, or move their homes," she told Anna Maria Tremonti on The Current

"So governments convincing people for change, and a massive change like this one, is a hurdle that no government has figured out yet."

Clockwise from top left: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have vocally opposed the federal government's carbon tax. (CBC)

Since the federal Liberal government introduced a carbon tax program on April 1, the pushback has made its way to courts across the country from provinces who call the federal taxation plan unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, a collection of climate scientists, environmentalists and business leaders published an open letter, warning that the federal carbon tax is distracting Canadians from the bigger picture of climate change.

"Although they support the idea of a carbon tax, they're fearing that the political rhetoric around it is just drowning out all of the other things about climate change that people need to know and think about, such as rising water levels," Rabson said.

To discuss how the government is tackling climate change, and convincing the public those efforts are worthwhile, Tremonti spoke to:

  • Mia Rabson, energy and environment reporter for The Canadian Press.
  • Jason Thistlethwaite, professor of environment and business at the University of Waterloo.
  • Sarah Robertson, vice president of Environics Research.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Produced by Idella Sturino and Alison Masemann.