Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge.


288 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-7710-8097-5
DDC 363.738'740971




Reviewed by George Bryant

George Bryant is an active field botanist and past-president of the Field Botanists of Ontario.


Climate change is a complicated subject. This book endeavours to cover it clearly, thoroughly, and succinctly. In the main, it succeeds. The authors are well suited to provide facts and recommendations. Jeffrey Simpson has been the Globe and Mail’s national columnist since 1984—and is responsible for the insightful political analysis. His co-authors, Mark Jaccard and Nic Rivers, are both associated with Simon Fraser University and are authorities on global climate change.


In introducing the subject the authors ask, “What could be wrong with shorter, milder winters and long, hotter summers?” They then point out the four-degree increase in temperatures in the western Arctic over the past 50 years. Global warming has sustained the spread of the mountain pine beetle, which is expected to devastate 80 percent of British Columbia’s lodgepole pine forest by 2013. Since the biggest temperature changes will be felt towards the poles, a northern country such as Canada will be most affected by global warming. But climate change will affect everybody on the planet—we need to know more about the challenge it presents now.


Part 1, “How We Got into This Mess: the Science and the Politics,” a history of the attitudes and responses of our political leadership to the problem, is both sad and fascinating. However, the book suggests industrialists and even environmentalists must share the blame for preventing us from saving the climate.


Part 2, “Getting out of the Mess: Options and Solutions,” recommends a few simple policies that Canada should adopt in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades.


Many hot button aspects to the climate change debate are covered.  These include the Kyoto accord, sustainable development, Alberta oil sands, energy-efficient bulbs, alternate energy sources such as wind power or biofuels, British Columbia’s carbon taxes, vehicle emissions caps, and the future of the automobile.


Although the book does contain references, surprisingly it provides neither footnotes nor an index.


Simpson, Jeffrey, Mark Jaccard, and Nic Rivers., “Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,