November 24th 2014
“Every day of inaction on climate change makes us less able to avoid increasingly catastrophic consequences. We can no longer avoid the impacts of the climate crisis at some level. Canadians have felt the impacts from coast to coast to coast: more floods and fires, droughts and water shortages, heat waves and smoggy days, hurricanes, catastrophic wind and ice storms shutting down communities, insect infestations killing millions of hectares of trees.
Since coming into power, the Harper Conservatives have made devastating decisions related to climate change. In 2006, Stephen Harper repudiated our Kyoto target and in 2012 Canada formally withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto is the only legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and address climate change. Canada has chosen to remove itself from legal commitments and inhibit the progress of multilateral talks.
Their excuses for withdrawal are weak and show that the Harper Conservatives have no interest in global cooperation. There is no plan to meet even the weak Copenhagen target adopted by Stephen Harper in 2009 (17% below 2005 levels by 2020). Environment Canada has released numbers which make it clear that Canada will have virtually the same level of emissions in 2020 as those in 2005.
Greenhouse gas levels continue to rise. In May 2013, another dreaded milestone was reached when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere reached 400 parts per million (ppm). Within the scientific community, there is consensus that in order to keep the planet from warming by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial Revolution levels, we cannot exceed a 425-450ppm threshold. We are therefore getting dangerously close to this marker. We need to pick up the pace and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While the Harper Conservatives persistently refuse to take action in the face of climate change, the Green Party works tirelessly to demand action.
We need the equivalent of a cease-fire where greenhouse gas emissions first stop rising, and then begin coming down, moving toward the end of dependency on fossil fuels. Instead of focusing on spending more money on inefficient technologies and non-renewable resources, we should be focusing on using energy more efficiently while promoting greener technologies. We need the public to mobilize and express strong support to improve climate change agreements, return to Kyoto and reduce emissions. We must also adapt for those climate impacts we can no longer avoid.”