Candidate signs are ubiquitous on lawns and boulevards during the Alberta election campaign; signs for specific issues, however, are not.
The Calgary Climate Hub is a volunteer-driven, non-partisan group out door-knocking, encouraging Calgarians to ask their respective provincial party candidates what their plan is to address climate change.
They’re hoping to sign up people to plant signs in their yards to show they care about climate change as an issue in this election.
“We’re hoping to be able to give Calgarians a voice to express an issue that’s important to them over a party that’s important to them,” said Ginny Kloos, co-chair on the group’s interim board.
“And to show parties how many Calgarians care about this, but also so that Calgarians can see their neighbour care about this and it can start to try to normalize talking about climate change in Alberta.”
Kloos said it’s critical for the provincial parties to have a detailed plan for how Alberta addresses climate change, given a recent report by Environment and Climate Change Canada showing that Canada is warming, on average, at double the rate globally, and Northern Canada at an even greater rate.
The report, called Canada’s Changing Climate Report, is the first major report from the national climate change panel, formed in 2017.
The problem is, she doesn’t think any of Alberta’s political parties have a solid plan, though some are better than others. Kloos thinks the parties need to lay out exactly what their targets are and a detailed plan on how to achieve those targets.
“To be honest I don’t think any of the plans are there yet for what we need,” she said, adding that she encourages voters to ask about respective party plans and then look at the research on the efficacy of each plan’s elements.
“There’s definitely more merit in some of the climate plans than others.”
Along with emission targets, Kloos thinks an important aspect missing from climate plans of the major parties is a specific strategy on how to transition oil and gas workers into a different energy economy or into new employment fields.
“That needs to be a huge part of the plan, I think, because a lot of people are afraid to even consider a transition like this because they think they’re going to be left behind and Alberta’s economy will suffer and there won’t be as many job opportunities,” she said.
The Calgary Climate Hub has about 200 community members, 100 official members and typically has 20 to 25 people out on the ground to inform others on the group’s mission.
They have the ongoing lawn sign campaign right through the end of Alberta’s election campaign, but they’ve also sent out 5 climate plan-related questions to all Calgary MLAs hoping for their responses. They will be posting those responses to their website and on Facebook.