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Jeffrey Simpson

Hot Air: Fixing Canada’s Climate Change Catastrophe

Date Recorded: Nov 26th, 2008
Recorded At: UBC Okanagan’s Distinguished Speakers Series, Kelowna, BC
Recorded By: Bud Mortenson and Cameron Baughn
Duration: 59:00

Topic Background
Jeffrey Simpson asserts that climate-change scoffers are now increasingly rare. He contends that reasonable people in Canada and abroad can differ over the means to combat the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that produce climatic changes, but that only a dwindling few now deny changes are occurring — and that more will occur, with mostly negative effects.

It is in this climate of understanding that Jeffrey Simpson co-authored his recent book, unique in its specific investigation of Canadian issues, and its challenge of Canadian moral authority. Much of Hot Air is devoted to a history and critique of the emission-reduction policies of successive federal governments, and Canada’s abysmal record under the Kyoto protocol. The book specifically outlines how no Canadian government, in addressing the challenge of climate change, has been willing to take on the oil and gas industry in this country, or even to approach the question of changes in behaviour and lifestyles. Since this effectively rules out confronting the issues of how energy is produced, on the one hand, and consumed, on the other, the authors assert that it is easy to understand why we have witnessed two decades of climate change policies that were in effect predestined to fail.

In this talk Jeffrey Simpson furthers this discussion by optimistically describing Canadians as currently living at the early stages of a long transformation away from the kind of dependence we have had on fossil fuels for the last 100 years, and poised to discover unknown technologies that will allow for a different kind of energy mix.

Speaker Biography
Jeffrey Simpson is The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, and has won all three of Canada’s leading literary prizes — the Governor-General’s award for non-fiction book writing, the National Magazine Award for political writing, and the National Newspaper Award for column writing (twice). In January, 2000, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Born in New York, Mr. Simpson came to Canada when he was 10 years old.

He has published eight books — including Discipline of Power (1980); Spoils of Power (1988); Faultlines, Struggling for a Canadian Vision (1993);and The Friendly Dictatorship: Reflections on Canadian Democracy (2001). His latest book, published in the fall of 2007, with Mark Jaccard and Nic Rivers, is titled Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge.

He lives in Ottawa with his wife Wendy, and they have three children.

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