Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offers us another report, but what does it tell us?

For scientists and policy makers: crucial clarifications – such that carbon capture is not a panacea. For the general population, honestly, not much. We were running into a wall and the latest IPCC report reminds us that a collision is imminent.

More precisely, here is a short summary: climate change is mainly caused by human activities; the only way to avoid the worst of climate change – which is to stay below 1.5°C – is to halve our GHGs within the next decade and ultimately our climate policies put in place lead us to a 3 .2°C. We have Highway to Hell, AC/DC would say.

To put this into context, an increase of more than 1.5°C is (very) bad news. Thus, a 2°C increase in global temperature puts life on Earth as we know it at risk, while a 3°C increase is almost inconceivable given the geopolitical risks that such an increase would generate.

The rare earths that Africa possesses – combined with Sino-American tensions – do not bode well, the Middle East can attest to that.

But, in the end, does the latest IPCC report improve the knowledge of ordinary people? Not really.

And is popularizing the impact of climate change really the best strategy to spur climate action? A team of researchers has looked into the question1. ⁠ They explored the impact of communication on adherence to climate policies. To do this, the team surveyed 40,000 individuals in 20 countries – including Canada – representing more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.

They found that the marginal impact of popularizing climate change does not increase adherence to climate policies. Conversely, they found that explaining climate policies more – and more specifically, how individuals can benefit from them – significantly increases adoption of climate policies.

Take the Horne Foundry as an example. The health damage – and therefore the benefits of tackling this problem – have been clearly communicated. The benefits were clear, concrete and tangible. Result: Public opinion demanded action and the government acted.

In contrast, the average citizen has little understanding of green taxation and we ask them to support this approach without explaining the benefits to them? It’s not realistic.

Still, we need such mechanisms. But how do you promote them?

I propose a very radical solution: talk about it.

The media cover the climate crisis extensively, but are more discreet when it comes to solutions and more specifically, how they work. In addition, the school curriculum is deficient in this area. To such an extent that some are indignant and drop out of school to become activists3.

It is possible to graduate from college without ever having been exposed to major climate policies. This is the greatest challenge of our century; this is the challenge that we will have to solve and we keep the next generation in the dark. What’s worse is that it’s also bad for the economy; the demand for green jobs is growing faster than skilled personnel, exacerbating the labor shortage problem.

This information should be available across all mediums to reach as many people as possible; newspapers, radio and television broadcasters should dedicate resources to deciphering public policies. In view of the obvious contribution to the public good that they would offer, these resources should be subsidized.

Philippe Mercure’s dossiers published in the Context notebook of La Presse such as “Objective 100 TWh”4 or “For a Quiet Climate Revolution”⁠5 should be the norm. These records inform the public about important but complex issues.

The ground crumbles under our feet and, for fear of falling, we forget the solutions.

It is essential to redirect the message in the media, in the workplace and at school. The benefits of climate action must be put forward.