Picking Up the Slack: Law, Institutions, and Canadian Climate Policy
Published: July 2022© 2022
320 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.75 in, 14 b&w figures
Canada has over-promised and under-delivered on climate change, setting weak goals and allowing carve-outs, exceptions, and exemptions to undermine its climate policies. Why, in an era when climate change is front of mind for so many people, have we failed to make progress? This question has been the source of heated debate across the political spectrum. In Picking Up the Slack, Andrew Green draws together different perspectives on the challenge facing Canada to offer an accessible account of the ideas and institutions that have impeded climate change action.
Picking Up the Slack embraces the complexity of the problem, showing that its sources lie deep in Canada’s institutional arrangements – pointing to the role played by federal-provincial power sharing arrangements, the heavy reliance on discretion in Canadian law, the role of the courts, and the impact of social norms. Working from a broad perspective that incorporates the insights of economics, law, political science, and philosophy, Green unpacks the features of Canadian policy making that determine the successes and failures of climate policies. His message is ultimately optimistic: Picking Up the Slack sheds light on how we can bring about meaningful movement towards a fair and positive future.
1. Of Fear and Loathing in Canadian Climate Policy
2. Cows, Cod, and Coal: The Roots of Canada’s Climate Dilemma
3. Discretion I: Picking the Wrong Tools
4. Discretion II: Helping Everyone Helps No One
5. Diffusion: When Everyone’s Responsible, No One’s Responsible
6. Deference: Where Are the Guardians?
7. Focus on People
8. Strengthen the National Community
9. Cultivate Cooperation
10. Foster Trust
11. Set the Foundation
12. Breaking the Cycle
"In this clear and original book, Andrew Green explains Canada’s woeful climate record in terms of three institutional failures: discretionary laws prone to regulatory capture, delegation and conflict in the Canadian federation, and judicial deference. Most importantly, Green goes beyond mere diagnosis to identify viable institutional remedies to rebuild trust and common purpose through transparency, accountability, and regional risk sharing."Kathryn Harrison, Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia
"Drawing on broad literature around climate change impacts and mitigation, Picking Up the Slack illustrates the complex nature of barriers to effective climate action in Canada and provides a path forward. Andrew Green offers accessible and well-researched insights into why Canada has been slow to take action on climate mitigation, addresses the need for transition relief in moving to a low-carbon future, and outlines potential roles for a wide range of actors, including politicians, policy-makers, the judiciary, and individuals."Cherie Metcalf, Associate Professor,Faculty of Law, Queen's University