These days, it’s good to be Barbie. But that wasn’t always the case.
Thanks as always for your excellent reporting. Hearing stories like the abuse Ms. McKenna had to endure makes me wonder why anyone decent would go into government. I’m grateful for the people - especially women - who persevere.
The abuse that Ms. McKenna faced (and continues to face) is just so typical of those on the conservative side of the political spectrum. They can't win the battle of ideas, so they resort to insults and name-calling. Of course, Trump is the acknowledged expert at this, hence his overwhelming popularity amongst Republicans.
It would seem to speak volumes that someone would leave political office to feel like they were making more of a difference on climate change.
"Explicit carbon prices remain a necessary condition of ambitious climate policies” - IPCC SR15. The IPCC's 1.5°C emissions pathway minimum carbon price is $135/tCO2 in 2030. Thanks to McKenna (and George Butts and PM Trudeau) Canada's carbon fee on fossil fuel production is rising steadily and rapidly, and will be US$135/tCO2 in 2030. That will enable Canada to join the EU's CBAM-protected carbon club, which will kick off in 2026 when the EU applies its carbon price ($85/tCO2 and rising) on imports from free polluting countries (https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/green-taxation-0/carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism_en).
That carbon price (and continuing to rise $10-15/year after) is 50% of the global climate pollution solution according to MIT's En-ROADS climate policy simulator. Explore En-ROADS for some sense of what other complementary policies are required: https://www.greenenergytimes.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Your-Favorite-Climate-Solution.pdf.
There are many things we need to change to achieve our most ambitious climate goals. But the most powerful one is a carbon price on fossil fuels. As Canada has proved, the viable and fair way to do that is a cash-back carbon fee on fossil fuel production and imports, with all the money collected from the pollution fee paid by fossil fuel producers given to all citizens in equal per-capita shares.
Canada's price is about $50 now, and is nearing the price that will make a difference. One of the reasons it has not had a greater impact already is the market does not believe the price will stick. But if the US passes Carbon Fee and Dividend legislation, all remaining doubts about the durability of carbon pricing will evaporate, and a rapidly expanding carbon club will drive our price around the world. That strong price signal will unleash investment, innovation, and choices we need throughout the global economy. It will make doing the other 50% of the changes we need much easier to do.
Each of us in the US can help make this happen. Please check out how you can help at
Great interview! I think people often dismiss the abuse McKenna received, and others receive as well, as just politics. I'm glad it is highlighted here as what is really is meant to do, to eliminate their voice and perspectives in improving society. So her focusing on women in climate at the UN level is awesome.
I do think her work in getting a carbon tax in Canada was a huge achievement, even if the results at this moment are seemingly marginal and the issue of the tar sands remains. This might be controversial, but if there was a way to use the US export of oil to Canada to stop development of the tar sands or at least at some very low minimum, keeping the province of Alberta "happy" and in conversation with more climate progress, that might be the best solution overall. No firm idea though.
But once the higher tax costs of the carbon tax kick in, I do think the positive affect on climate will be more apparent. Especially with the EU's carbon tariff implemented, and fingers crossed some sort of carbon tariff passes here in the US, I do think having the collected Western world aligned here will help both domestic manufacturing, especially clean technologies, while also pushing other countries to adopt more aggressive climate policies. Don't use this word often, but I do feel hopeful at least in this specific area. Who knows, it may even lead to a US carbon tax however small it might be.
Also it is always interesting to read old interviews with high level policy people or those in government and to see their thoughts and views on things, and then with the benefit and evidence of time, we can see how accurate they were.
"And we're not the only country that's doing this. Every country is trying to figure this out. Take a country like Germany that relies significantly on coal. The big discussion there is they've decided to get off nuclear. They're relying on coal. How do they do that?"
And we have a pretty clear answer to that now. They don't. They just increase their usage of coal AND methane gas, and will see another increase in carbon emissions for the third year in a row, at least in relative amounts to surrounding Western countries.
Don't know if it was her intention in that interview to have a sort of exasperation of "why are you so focused on our tar sands, when countries like Germany and their nuclear policy are a clear climate issue as well", which got nowhere near the amount of coverage Canada's tar sands did. But I do agree with that exasperation.
Again awesome interview and it is really cool HEATED is able to interview these prominent politicians and get their thoughts!
Really interesting read. Also sharing an article published by the (female) CSOs of Google and Microsoft in Fortune last week, that makes some similar observations re: how the “feminization” of certain roles or types of work [by society] can be used as a way to minimize the importance of the work itself, as well as marginalize the women who are doing it. Definitely a lot to unpack regarding the intersection of gender dynamics and climate leadership. https://fortune.com/2023/07/26/microsoft-google-chief-sustainability-officers-cso-barbie-makes-us-proud-little-worried-careers-nakagawa-brandt/
She should have asked the big question… How can we fight climate change and have our citizens still live and pay the rent?...
Our national governments must come to terms with the fact that the global use of fossil fuels will drastically increase for some time to come in the developing world. And if we assume that human emissions of CO2 will drive dangerous climate change (Its still not clear this is true but let’s assume its true) then we in the west have little control over such climate change.
So, lets put our national efforts into a 100% focus on national adaption and zero on global mitigation… so no carbon tax or the penalization of our existing energy sectors. We must focus on building a prosperous society that is energy self-sufficient using existing lowest cost energy sources, so we are entitled to quickly build a strong climate adaption system …. such as better forest management, sea walls, river flood plain management, improved building codes etc. etc.
This is a far better approach and use of our tax dollars, and the adaption costs will be far less than any fruitless climate mitigation effort, and we can focus much more on the other priorities to improve national prosperity, such as reshoring our industries, and a better focus on serving the needs of our national citizens.
I keep thinking of a comment in previous post imagining a sci-fi world where humans could see GHGs as grey/black smoke. I'd like Climate Barbie to get the GHG vision along with her Birkenstocks. When she sees them smudging her turquoise sky and ocean, not to mention her pink everything else, she's pissed. Barbie and Ken join Hayduke and the gang...
You are so so wrong….
Not every country has signed up, only some, and many of the main polluters have not.. and even if they did…. many are not planning or are unable to follow such an untenable plan, and what’s more many are falling short on these impossible NetZero plans.. It’s another UN driven cluster**** based on too much perfect world politics and far too little real science.
Sorry… but there is no such thing as consensus in science and in my mind and in the eyes of professional technically competent individuals like me who are not subject experts but very capable of reviewing reports and data it most clearly shows the need for far more scientific review before any significant policy action is taken….. especially on policies and solutions with questionable technology that will cause great hardship, not only in the west, but most of the developing world.
All this in the name of a very weak argument that has low scientific proof and causation.
No-one has presented a scientific paper that states CO2 causation on global temperature without using an overstated climate model that keeps being proved wrong or a rigged hockey stick or the political summary from the UN… If you have one send it to me…But there are many scientists that have demonstrated that CO2 is a small bit player in the climate system.
Here is a very recent one.. there are many more..
We now have plenty of dispute in the ranks of creditable scientists with now published papers that are getting strong review. The so-called peer review process and approved centers of scientific study means nothing in a scientific system showing clear signs of political subjugation and collusion and rank lies, and I will not accept the blatant group think …
Its not about right versus left or war like accusations… its about getting to the truth and making the best decision for all of us…..Expect to see the voices of dissent to this very dangerous climate panic group think growing in the future..
She could not take the heat (no pun intended) and it was mainly about her bad approach to energy, wasteful taxation, over bureaucracy, and unrealistic approach to climate change.
As a Canadian I share what many feel.. that she was a problem and glad she went out of politics.
We are now working hard on getting the rest of the liberal woke ridden government out of office so we can get back our declining prosperity.
The Truth About Climate Change - YouTube
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