CTV Question Period panel needs to brush up on the risks posed by climate change

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      What is it about mainstream-media journalists that makes them so partial to pipelines and other fossil-fuel infrastructure?

      Today on CTV Question Period, the Globe and Mail's Robert Fife, the Toronto Star's Tonda MacCharles, and veteran CTV broadcaster Craig Oliver all conveyed the impression that the fourth member of the panel, filmmaker Avi Lewis, was out of his mind. This came after Lewis questioned the wisdom of proceeding with the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and an LNG plant on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.

      As a viewer, I was left wondering if these elite Canadian journalists are even aware that the concentration of carbon dioxide-equivalent gases has reached 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. At this pace, human life on this planet is on a trajectory toward Armageddon.

      I'm not the only one who's questioned why political journalists appear to be so keenly in favour of industrial projects that jeopardize future generations' well-being.

      Martyn Brown, the long-time chief of staff to former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, has commented on members of the B.C. legislature press gallery trying to to push NDP Leader John Horgan to speak positively about the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

      In an essay on Straight.com, Brown explained what's going on this way: "It is to goad him into newly disavowing Adrian Dix’s 'politically disastrous' decision to oppose the Kinder Morgan project that Global, Postmedia, and other major mainstream media support—largely for the associated advertising dollars that flow from its partners in Big Oil."

      I'm not convinced that these mainstream journalists are driven by a desire help the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers continue buying ads. I'm more inclined to believe that they have not taken sufficient time to educate themselves about the risks of runaway climate change to the country.

      Had they read books like Jeff Rubin's The Carbon Bubble, Tim Flannery's Atmosphere of Hope, or David Boyd's The Optimistic Environmentalist, they would also realize that there are tremendous economic opportunities presented by the global shift to renewable energy.

      And if these journalists read Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything, they would recognize that geo-engineering the climate poses stunning risks for precipitation patterns in the Global South and will do nothing to stop the acidification of the oceans.

      But when you're a political journalist working on Parliament Hill or at the B.C. legislature, it's easy to forget that you're living in a bubble. Their sources, including deputy ministers and political spin doctors, often work on shorter time horizons than the scientists.

      Avi Lewis was right on the mark on CTV Question Period when he suggested that we're in trouble if more fossil-fuel projects are built. One day, elite Canadian journalists will catch up to him.