Publications, opinions, and speeches
The Key to Kyoto: Social Dimensions of Climate Change
Published on 01/04/1998
Under an international agreement signed in December 1997, Canada committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by six percent by the years 2008-2012. But because the emission of three of the six gases covered under the protocol already has gone up by about 13 percent since 1990 (the beginning of the recession), the Kyoto target effectively requires closer to a 19-20 percent reduction to meet our international commitment. This paper argues that it is through the social dimensions – the actions of individuals, households, neighbourhoods and communities – that significant steps can be taken toward meeting the spirit and targets of the Kyoto agreement. The social dimensions of climate change are presented within a framework that includes both substance (i.e., preventive and adaptive action) and process (i.e., regulatory and voluntary action). Preventive action involves changing values, raising awareness and promoting sustainable communities. Adaptive action refers to measures taken to compensate for the impact of climate change. While the paper discusses both regulatory and voluntary action as key processes, it is assumed that the disparate measures which comprise this framework are held together by a common glue – a strong legislative base that provides the foundation for action by individuals, organizations and governments.
ISBN – 1-894159-02-0