STRESS LESS: The Stress Test on Climate Competitiveness

The potential future effects of global climate change include more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought in some regions and an increase in the number, duration and intensity of tropical storms. Credit: Left — Mellimage/Shutterstock.com, center — Montree Hanlue/Shutterstock.com.
  1. Think of these as two sides of the same coin.
  2. But each has a distinct language and has distinct implications in how we engage on the climate change issue. Framing matters.
  3. When we combine the problem narrative with the solution space narrative, it often leads to widely divergent perspectives at best and at its worst it leads to polarization, gridlock, and judgmental discourse about whom to blame and about why actions in any form are never good enough.
  1. The narrative often includes the term “deep cuts” as being required and calls for the need to keep carbon in the ground, including coal, oil, and natural gas
  2. The mindset associated with the need for “deep cuts” requires anyone associated with GHG emissions, including both producers of carbon based energy and consumers of fossil fuels, to assume an equitable amount of reduction obligations that is often intended to be painful, punitive, or both.
  3. But here is the stinger. We have seen over the history of international negotiations up to the Paris Conference, that concluding negotiations based on “equitable allocation of pain” is a virtually impossible negotiation to conclude.
  4. The same reality has characterized Canada’s national climate policy efforts. Each province has a unique set of energy resources whether its hydro, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, or biomass. Reduction opportunities vary accordingly. There have been many failed attempts to land on a national view of equitable provincial contributions.
  5. Simply put, it is human nature that pain is something to be avoided. It is also true that equity in who allocates and who assumes pain is in the eyes of the beholder.
  1. Leaders across all segments of society need to ensure we place inspired human energy towards a solution-oriented effort.
  2. We can legitimately be concerned and anxious about the problem, but leaders across all of civil society have to absolutely reinforce and invigorate the solution space narrative.
  3. If we default to the problem narrative as our dominant mindset, it leads to blame and gridlock.
Clement Martin/Sipa USA via Associated Press

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Bruce Piasecki

Bruce Piasecki

Dr. Bruce Piasecki is the president and founder of AHC Group, Inc., NYT bestselling author, speaker, advisor on shared value and social response capitalism.