James Hoggan

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James (Jim) Hoggan is one of Canada’s most respected public-relations professionals and the president and owner of the Vancouver PR firm Hoggan & Associates.

A law school graduate with a longstanding passion for social justice, Jim also serves as chair of the David Suzuki Foundation—the nation’s most influential environmental organization—and as a Trustee of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.

Jim is the co-founder of Stonehouse Standing Circle, an innovative public-engagement and communications think-tank, and the former chair of The Climate Project Canada—Al Gore’s global education and advocacy organization. He also led the Province of British Columbia’s Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Community Relations and First Nations Partnerships.

Jim is the co-founder of the influential website DeSmogBlog and the author of two books, Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for Skeptical Public, and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. He speaks, writes, and presents widely on public attitudes toward sustainability, climate change, and the environment.

George Monbiot on Environmentalism: "I Cannot Abide Bullshit"

George Monbiot on DeSmog Canada talking climate change, climate denial and the problem of short-term thinking

George Monbiot is a British writer known for his environmental and political activism. He is a columnist at The Guardian, and author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, among others. His latest book is Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the ­Frontiers of Rewilding, which tells the story of his efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living.

I sat down with Monbiot to talk about why he keeps up his activism, where he differs from other environmentalists in areas such as nuclear power and why climate change deniers do what they do. Below is the second of our two-part conversation.* Read the first part here: George Monbiot: Climate, Junk Science and Zombie Myths.


George Monbiot: Climate, Junk Science and Zombie Myths

George Monbiot on Junk Science and Climate Change Denial

George Monbiot is a British writer known for his environmental and political activism. He is a columnist at The Guardian, and author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, among others. His latest book is Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the ­Frontiers of Rewilding, which tells the story of his efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living.

I sat down with Monbiot to talk about why junk science is becoming an accepted part of the public discourse around climate change, creating what he calls “the phenomenon of zombie myths.” Monbiot also talks about why some media outlets continue to report on climate change without all of the facts. Below is the first of our two-part conversation.*

With Obama in the Lead, it's Time for Canada to Change Course on Climate Change

Stephen Harper meets with world leaders at the G8 summit

This post is an opinion editorial that originally appeared in the Hill Times.

VANCOUVER, B.C.—U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent climate speech at Georgetown University has shaken up the atmosphere of complacency around climate policy, and it’s time for Canada to stand up and take notice. The much-anticipated speech unveiled the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan and put climate change back at the centre of the global economic agenda, a development that Canada cannot afford to ignore.

As other nations begin the slow transition to a low-carbon economy, Canada’s reputation as a bad actor on the international climate stage will hurt more than just the environment. If Obama’s plan to move to cleaner sources of energy is any indicator, Canada’s reputation as a climate laggard will also hurt our economy.  

The Progress Trap: Interview With Author Ronald Wright Part 2

The Progress Trap by Will Brown

This is the second of my two-part conversation with historian, novelist and essayist Ronald Wright, the award-winning author of nine books, including the influential, A Short History of Progress.

In Part 1 we talked about why Wright sees North Americans as the greatest “villains” when it comes to climate change and why society has fallen into what he calls, “The Progress Trap.”

In Part 2, we discuss why the solution to problems caused by technology isn’t more technology, and the false argument that the environment and the economy are in conflict. 

Jim Hoggan: You talk about society’s attempt to fix problems with more technology and why that’s not the answer to the big environmental challenges we face today. Can you explain your argument?

Locked in The Progress Trap: Interview With Author Ronald Wright

The Progress Trap by Will Brown

Ronald Wright, the award-winning author of A Short History of Progress, says North Americans are the greatest “villains” when it comes to climate change. While Europe has put forward some serious money and strategies to try to combat it, Canada and the U.S. are dragging their heels.

Wright’s comments are particularly noteworthy after Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s recent visit to Europe, where he tried to sell Canada’s approach to oil sands to a skeptical audience. Europe is considering imposing a tax on Canadian bitumen because of its emissions.

I sat down with Wright on Salt Spring Island, B.C. to talk about why society can’t seem to change its way of thinking. He blames what he calls, “The Progress Trap.”

This is the first of two parts of my conversation with Wright.

Jim Hoggan: Why, despite mounting evidence and calls for urgent action from experts in the atmospheric, marine and life sciences, are we doing so little to address environmental problems like climate change, the declining health of our oceans and mass species extinctions?

Dear Minister Oliver, A Few Things to Keep in Mind About Climate

The following is an email we sent to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver:

Dear Minister Oliver:

Thanks for taking the time to read this email. We know you are very busy, flying back and forth to the United States and now Europe, making the case for Alberta’s oil sands to its many skeptics, while at the same time arguing with those “radical” environmental groups opposed to the Northern Gateway project at home in Canada. Now it seems Al Gore has also got you fired up over comments published over the weekend that your government’s oil sands strategy “hurts Canada.”

It’s a tough job being the Natural Resources Minister these days, between the growing opposition to proposed pipeline projects you’re pushing for, plus taking all of those orders from Stephen Harper as he plots the next cabinet shuffle. All of that pressure must explain why you and your ministry appear to have lost focus lately. How else to account for the confusing statements you’ve been making about climate change, which bare little resemblance to the concerns Canadians have about the impact of global warming on our planet?

Where does Joe Oliver Get His Climate Science From?

Imagine if you discovered that a doctor was doing open-heart surgery based on a technique they saw on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, or that a dentist used a Google search to guide them through a root canal.

Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it’s this kind of unscientific technique that the Harper government appears to be relying on to diagnose the health of our planet, and how they should react to it.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver recently cast doubt on climate change science and one source of his information appears to be climate-change skeptic and author Lawrence Solomon, who is not a scientist.

Subsidized to Pollute the Public Square?: Sun News and Ezra Levant Vie for CRTC Support

Ezra Levant

It was more than a little convenient to hear right-wing commentator Ezra Levant recently deliver his latest public apology, just in time for the start today of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC) hearings into his Sun News Network’s application for “mandatory carriage.”

A favorable ruling by the regulator would put Levant in every Canadian home with a basic cable package and $18 million a year in the pockets of Sun Media. That might be good news for Levant and Sun Media parent Quebecor Inc, but for Canadians looking for unpolluted public discourse, not so much. What’s more, in return for rescuing Sun media from the red ink, Canadian subscribers would get an increase in cable rates.

Levant likes to make headlines, even when most of them are unflattering. The last one in March was to Canada’s Roma community, following a racist rant he gave on his Sun News Network show The Source in September, during which he described the community as “gypsies, a culture synonymous with swindlers” that have come to Canada as “to gyp us again and rob us blind as they have done in Europe for centuries.”

Canada's "Fertile Ground for Despotism": Interview with Allan Gregg Continued

This interview is a part of the DeSmog Dialogues. Be sure to read Part 1 of this conversation: Canada's Radical Prime Minister Harper.

I don’t think we’re in 1984, but I certainly do see a lot of the very, very same signs that create fertile ground for despotism.”

These are the chilling words of pollster and political sage Allan Gregg, who was speaking to me recently about what he called the “nefarious” state of affairs in Canada when the government is “vilifying” environmentalists and anyone else who might oppose the direction they are heading in.

He said it’s evident in other areas too, such as cutting the long form census. No one ever lodged a privacy complaint about it, he said, “but they don’t want the long form census because it is what informs progressive, rational decision makers about the policy direction they want to go in. They don’t need data to get in the way, or more importantly, to contradict where they want to go. Vilifying critics is part of that tactic of getting the ship on the course they believe the nation needs and wants.”

Canada's Radical Prime Minister Harper: Interview with Allan Gregg

Pollster, political advisor and pundit provocateur Allan Gregg believes Canadians have yet to grasp just how radical Harper and his Conservatives really are. In a recent interview he told me the Prime Minister should be thought of as a “revolutionary realist.”

Radicalism might not be the first thing we associate with the Harper government, especially when the administration has been known to throw around the label ‘radical’ like a scarlet letter, using the term to blacklist environmental groups and First Nations across the country.

Yet, despite how jarring the description, Gregg says Harper Conservatives are “radical to the extent that [they] aren’t incrementalists.”

Harper is a realist and knows he can't get to where he wants to go in one fell swoop, and so he’ll try to get there by tacking,” said Gregg.

This is Conservatism of a whole new kind, Gregg adds, and Canadians don’t really seem to know what they’re dealing with.