Can Canada claim climate leadership? Can the Paris Accord succeed in avoiding the worst of the climate crisis?

Friday, April 13, 2018
8:00am to 9:30am
109 Moses Hall, IGS Library
UC Berkeley
Registration Link:

Lecture is 3:00pm to 4:30pm, IGS Library, 109 Moses
A reception will follow the lecture in 223 Moses Hall from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.

2018 Thomas Garden Barnes Lecture in Canadian Studies

What role can Canada play to advance global climate goals, especially in 2018 as chair of the G7? As politics and governments change, Canada and the US have changed places, relatively speaking, on climate change. In Canada, global climate saboteur, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has been replaced by self-avowed climate champion, current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; in the US, Barack Obama has been replaced by Donald Trump.   As A.A. Milne wrote of Two Bad Bears, "All of a sudden, just like us, one got better and the other gut wus."

Despite the fact that Canada's total emissions are only 2% of the global total, as saboteur, Canada was more effective than the US has been under Trump. Prime Minister Trudeau has made less of an impact on Canada's domestic policies than one would imagine.  Canada has not changed our NDC (nationally determined contribution), our target filed with the UNFCCC.  It remains the same as under the Conservatives. Where does this leave the Paris Accord and our global pact to ensure emissions are cut such that global average temperature does not exceed 1.5 degrees C above what they were before the Industrial Revolution?"

About the Speaker: 

Elizabeth May is the Leader of the Green Party of Canada and its first elected Member of Parliament, representing Saanich-Gulf Islands in southern Vancouver Island. Elizabeth is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer, who has a long record as a dedicated advocate — for social justice, for the environment, for human rights, and for pragmatic economic solutions. 

Born in Connecticut, she moved to Nova Scotia with her family in 1973. Elizabeth grew up working in her family’s small business, a restaurant and gift shop on the Cabot Trail. She first became known in the Canadian media in the mid-1970s, through her leadership as a volunteer in the grassroots movement against proposed aerial insecticide spraying on forests near her home on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Her efforts helped prevent aerial insecticide spraying from ever occurring in Nova Scotia. 

Years later, she and a local group of residents went to court to prevent herbicide spraying. They won a temporary injunction in 1982 to hold off the spray programme, but after two years, the case was eventually lost. In the course of the litigation, her family sacrificed their home and seventy acres of land in an adverse court ruling to Scott Paper. However, by the time the judge ruled the chemicals were safe, the export of dangerous 2,4,5-T herbicides from the U.S had been banned. The forests of Nova Scotia were spared being the last areas in Canada to be sprayed with Agent Orange. 

Her early volunteer work also included successful campaigns to prevent approval of uranium mining in Nova Scotia, and extensive work on energy policy issues, primarily opposing nuclear energy.

The 2018 Thomas Garden Barnes Lecture is presented by Canadian Studies and co-sponsored by the Institute of Governmental Studies. A reception will follow the lecture in 223 Moses. Free, and open to everyone. Registration is requested via Eventbrite.