28 October 2011

The "climate change caucus"—good news on two fronts

An initiative championed by Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan has borne fruit in the House of Commons. Dr. Duncan proposed a "climate change caucus" consisting of members of all parties, and it has now been formed. In addition to Duncan, the caucus consists of Conservative MP Michael Chong, NDP MP Denise Savoie, Bloc Québécois MP Maria Mourani and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

According to Savoie, "The climate change all-party caucus provides a space for meaningful discussion on the defining issue of our generation—in a forum without talking points or media." The group plans on staging events to engage other MPs “regarding the climate crisis,” including climate and faith; the lead-up to the next international climate change summit in Durban; extreme events and disaster preparedness and economic impacts of climate change and clean technology.

The caucus is well credentialed for their task. Kirsty Duncan has taught medical geography at the University of Toronto and global environmental processes at Royal Roads University, and served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Michael Chong is one of the few Conservatives who is passionate about action on climate change. He has encouraged his government “to accelerate its efforts through the clean energy dialogue with the United States and at the climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico.” Both Savoie and Mourani have echoed Chong's call "to act quickly and ... to act now." As for Elizabeth May ... well, this is primarily what she's in politics for. An impressive group.

Not only are they dealing with what Duncan refers to as "perhaps the defining issue of our generation," but they serve as an excellent example of how politicians can work together on important issues regardless of political affiliation. Good news on two fronts.

Convincing this government to "to act quickly and ... to act now" on climate change is a huge challenge, and Michael Chong has not always endeared himself to Mr. Harper, but formation of the caucus suggests all hope is not lost. These days, even that is something.

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