Q14 - Adressing Climate Change: International and Domestic Perspectives

Date: Jun 13 | Heure: 03:30pm to 05:00pm | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Carol-Ann Rouillard (Université de Sherbrooke)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : David Houle (Public sector)

This panel offers an exploration into the multifaceted challenges of climate change, encompassing themes of governance, public perception, and global engagement. Topics discussed include: the role of information and communication in shaping climate policies and public opinion online; the intersection of climate change, international diplomacy and national policy; the evolving narrative of climate change in the context of public health; and, collaborative efforts across different levels of governance, focusing on cities. The overall objective of the panel is to shed light on the complex dynamics of climate change, showing the contribution of a comprehensive approach that integrates international and domestic policies, communication, and active participation from various stakeholders in the global effort to address this pressing challenge.

The Online Climate Policy Crisis: Misinformation and Disinformation in the Digital Age: Andrew Heffernan (University of Ottawa)
Abstract: While climate change must be countered through effective mitigation and adaptation approaches at the global, national, and local levels, implementing effective policies to do so can only be accomplished through buy in by a critical mass of citizens. However, we know that to-date this remains a challenging prospect to accomplish both in the Global North and Global South. While countries in both regions face many different challenges in doing so, there are also a number of shared roadblocks to attaining popular support for effective environmental governance. Beyond the types of challenges themselves, various states both experience their impacts asymmetrically, while simultaneously being equipped with different tools for treating them. As democracy is not a binary category of government but instead a multi-dimensional spectrum along which states are constantly struggling, it becomes pivotal to develop policies that deal with modern challenges while taking advantage of new technologies and techniques. This paper aims to analyze the type of digital tools that exist which channel the types of information and misinformation that contributes to informing increasing numbers of people. How these information flows are managed and leveraged is pivotal for effectively governing in general, and specifically for environmental and climate governance. Climate change is both the quintessential global issue, while also one that has seen the most polarization in recent years. As such, understanding the way broader global politics manifest through tools like social media and resultantly impact policymaking becomes integral to effectively fighting the climate crisis.

The Arctic, Climate Change, and Environmental Diplomacy in the Study of Canadian Foreign Policy: Wilfrid Greaves (University of Victoria)
Abstract: In this article, we examine linkages between three prominent concepts in post-Cold War foreign and security policy in Canada: the Arctic; climate change, and environmental diplomacy. In particular, we examine how each is conceptually connected to the others, and to the broader frames of foreign policy and security. To do this, we undertook a quantitative analysis of the prevalence of articles on these topics in six academic journals since 1989. Our findings indicate that, contrary to their relative prominence in Canadian foreign policy practice during this time, the Arctic, climate change, and environmental diplomacy are all marginal to scholarship on Canadian foreign and security policy. Moreover, the linkages among these three concepts are more limited than an empirical understanding of their connections to Canadian foreign policy practice would suggest. We outline the methodology of our literature review for Arctic, climate change, and environmental diplomacy within Canadian foreign and security scholarship, present our findings, and discuss their significance for our understanding of these topics and for the broader field of Canadian foreign policy studies.

The Construction of Climate Change in Canadian National Print Media: Alizee Pillod (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: Formulating effective climate policies requires support from the population, which is often difficult to obtain. For many, climate change remains a psychologically distant issue, with its most significant impacts thought to be far from home. People often struggle to translate their self-declared intentions into concrete actions, and climate policies are still considered a contentious subject. Researchers have focused on communication strategies to increase the social acceptability of climate action. Framing, or the act of highlighting certain aspects of an issue to promote a particular definition of it, plays a key role. A problem can be defined or “framed” in different ways, and those retained frequently determine the choice of solutions. The media can play a crucial role in the public's understanding of the issue and their adherence to pro-climate policies. However, to our knowledge, there is no study that comprehensively explores climate change framing in the Canadian print newspapers and how their characteristics and visibility have evolved over time since the problem was established on public and political agendas in the late 1980s. This study introduces a comprehensive database of climate change-related articles from eight major Canadian newspapers. Using NLP techniques, we analyze the prevalence of different frames, their visibility, and characteristics across geographical, temporal, and linguistic dimensions. This research sheds light on framing dynamics that could inform climate communication practices in different cultural settings.

Multilevel Climate Governance: Assessing Citizen Perspectives on Governmental Responsibility: Jérémy Gilbert (Université Laval)
Abstract: Climate action is undertaken by various players across multiple levels of government. While federal and provincial governments often take the lead in climate policy, municipalities possess the tools to make significant contributions and play a key role in enabling businesses and citizens to participate. This article examines climate responsibility as perceived by citizens. Drawing on data from a survey (n = 1500) conducted in Canada in 2022, which explored perceptions of climate change and actions, it scrutinizes the perceived responsibilities of government levels and citizens themselves. The findings reveal that citizens are deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change and are eager to see societal changes. However, they tend to assign greater responsibility for climate action to the higher tiers of government. The article posits that cities can be pivotal by equipping citizens who are ready to engage with the necessary tools. This study distinctively contributes to the discourse on climate action by highlighting the discrepancy between the responsibilities that citizens perceive and their readiness to take action. Previous research has often centered on federal and provincial roles; this study shifts the focus to the municipal role and citizen empowerment, underscoring the importance of an integrated, multilevel governance approach for effectively mobilizing civic engagement.

Comparing Canadian Climate Policy Experiments: Quebec and British Columbia over the Longue Durée: Mark Purdon (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Abstract: I compare climate policy experimentation in BC and Quebec, drawing on fifteen key informant interviews conducted between 2020-2023. As is perhaps well known, the BC carbon tax, adopted in 2008, is widely acknowledged as having applied a textbook version of the instrument, that achieved parity with the Canadian federal carbon pricing backstop of $65 CDN per tCO2e in 2023. In contrast, Quebec introduced an emissions trading system in 2013 that has been linked with a similar system in California since 2014. Prices obtained on the California-Quebec carbon market have attained $47 CDN in late 2023 which, while considerably higher than the market’s price floor, is significantly less than in BC. Despite this, emissions in BC have grown 15% since 1990 (1% below 2007 levels) whereas in Quebec, emissions within provincial boundaries have declined 13% below 1990 levels over the same period and by as much as 27% below when including emission reduction allowances purchased from California via the carbon market. What explains such divergent outcomes? A focus on carbon pricing alone does not due justice to the broad array of different policies deployed in the two jurisdictions to reign in emissions as well as historically stronger support for industrial policy in Quebec. Comparison of Quebec and BC climate policy over the longue durée supports the identification of a broad policy sequence for successful decarbonization, whereby strong state-led efforts for transformation of the energy sector create positive political feed-back effects that allow for the acceleration of decarbonization actions later on.