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 Mark Jaccard Jeffrey Simpson

Hot Air takes on climate change debate

October 4, 2007

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By Marianne Meadahl

A new book co-written by SFU energy expert Mark Jaccard (above left) and national journalist Jeffrey Simpson (above right) is poised to clear the air on the climate change debate.

Hot Air: Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge, (McClelland & Stewart, 2007), is the collaborative work of professor Jaccard, along with graduate student Nic Rivers, and Simpson, a political expert and columnist with the Globe and Mail.

The book explains what is happening in Canada and what needs to happen—with politicians, business leaders, and even environmentalists taking their share of blame. It also demonstrates how to bring about the policies that Canada needs to adopt in the short term to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades—and how they can be created to have minimal negative effects.

Jaccard and SFU colleagues developed a modelling system that is now widely used to determine the impact of certain environmental initiatives or policies. “As an academic, I am increasingly frustrated that the obvious and consistent conclusion from independent research—about the necessity of a greenhouse gas tax and/or forceful, economy-wide emission restrictions—is not getting through to the media and public,” he says.

“So our politicians get away with setting bold-sounding targets without enacting the only policies that can achieve these, and Canada misses one emission reduction target after another—a 20-year history now.”

After writing columns about Jaccard’s 2005 book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels, which won the Donner Prize for best book on Canadian public policy, Simpson asked him to lunch. “I told him (Simpson) I was writing a more popular book in order to get this message out, but I needed a good editor. We came up with the idea of co-authorship and the rest is history.

“I had a great time working with him, but it was challenging,” Jaccard admits. “Columnists write much faster than academics.”

Jaccard will give a talk at SFU’s Burnaby campus on Oct. 11 as part of the Climate Change speaker series (3 pm, C9001) and will give a lecture and sign books at SFU’s Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre on Oct. 18 at 7 pm.
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