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Canada needs better policies to address today’s economic challenges, and that starts with bold discourse. The McGill Max Bell Lectures focus on the analysis, balance, and practicality needed to plan for a more prosperous future.

The McGill Max Bell Lectures began in 2023 with Andrew Leach, an economist, writer, and University of Alberta professor. His research spans energy and environmental economics with a particular interest in climate change policies and the law. Read more: Prof. Andrew Leach’s new book tackles six common climate change myths

The McGill Max Bell Lectures are free and open to the public, made possible by a foundational gift from respected business leader and McGill alumnus Thomas E. Kierans, O.C., LLD, FICD.

The 2023 lectures were drawn from Between Doom and Denial: Facing Facts About Climate Change

About the book

"The truth is that we do have a climate change problem, we will continue to use fossil fuels (at least for the foreseeable future), we are already seeing dramatic changes in our energy systems, and some people inevitably will be left behind. We have the tools to make a real difference, argues Andrew Leach, but big questions remain. Are we up to the challenge? And can we be honest with ourselves about what the energy transition really means for Canada?"


2023 Lectures

Can governments promise a just energy transition in Canada?

Oct. 19 // National Arts Centre, Ottawa

Andrew Leach in conversation with Heather Scoffield

When governments talk about a just transition, they are expressing a desire to design climate change policies with energy workers in mind. As governments promise that no workers will be left behind as the world acts on climate change, are they making false promises? Does the phrase give policymakers and activists permission to ignore some of the real costs of action on climate change? There will be a transition, but there is no guarantee it will be just. In the first of three lectures drawn from his book Between Doom and Denial, Andrew Leach examines this and other lies, half-truths, and easy soundbites that define Canadian climate change debates. A conversation with Heather Scoffield and a moderated Q&A will follow the lecture.


Will the world use enough of our oil and gas?

Oct. 25 // Studio Bell, Calgary

Andrew Leach in conversation with Deborah Yedlin

Oil and gas industry leaders are fond of forecasts predicting continued growth in oil and gas consumption for decades to come. What's the catch? The catch is climate change. The oil and gas industry knows that the world will continue to use oil and gas, but far less of it if climate change mitigation strategies are successful. So why do they leave out that last part so often? Are they hiding it from themselves, from the rest of us, or both? In the second of three lectures drawn from his book Between Doom and Denial, Andrew Leach examines this and other lies, half-truths, and easy soundbites that define Canadian climate change debates. A conversation with Deborah Yedlin and a moderated Q&A will follow the lecture.


Do Canada’s cold temperatures mean we shouldn’t worry about climate change?

Nov. 2 // McGill Faculty Club, Montreal

Andrew Leach in conversation with Gerald Butts

Those arguing against action on climate change are quick to remind us that Canada is a very large, cold country and to argue that this means we will benefit from climate change. These findings are not the preserve of heretics; credible academic research has generally found that Canada could see positive economic gains from climate change. The reality is that, while we might benefit from slightly warmer winters, that is not all that climate change will offer us. Climate change promises us more smoke, less permafrost, higher sea levels, and stronger storms. It also almost certainly portends a more volatile world. In the last of three lectures drawn from his book Between Doom and Denial, Andrew Leach examines this and other lies, half-truths, and easy soundbites that define Canadian climate change debates. A conversation with Gerald Butts and a moderated Q&A will follow the lecture.


Highlights

All three of the 2023 lectures were livestreamed on our YouTube channel. See some of the highlights:

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