OUTLINE What we have accomplished Lessons we have learned Reality 25 years later What we need to be fighting for How to engage Canadians
WHY OTTAWA? Prime Ministers Mulroney and Thatcher Conservative government -question science of climate change -cancel a $10 billion investment to cut GHG emissions -weaken targets by 90% -pull out of Kyoto -Ministers of Natural Resources and the Environment Climate change caucus Parliamentarians for climate justice (UNDP) “Parliamentary champion” for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR)
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN 25 YEARS? Science -”The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate (IPCC 1995)” -”There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities (IPCC 2001)” -”Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns (IPCC 2007)” -”The Canada Country Study: Climate Impacts and Adaptation (Environment Canada 1998)”
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN 25 YEARS? Economy -climate change, third biggest concern overall, and failure to adapt to climate change as the biggest single environmental hazard facing the planet -runaway climate change as first serious X-factor (WEF 2013) International Opinion -98% of Canadians believe in climate change (Insightrix) -70% of Americans, 93% of Chinese, and 89% of Europeans believe in climate change (Figueres 2012)
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN 25 YEARS? Huge volume of important science Worldwide recognition that climate change is a major and mainstream issue, to which even unenthusiastic governments must at least pay lip service Framework Convention National targets International systems for emissions accounting, trading, and reporting
WHAT IS THE REALITY WE FACE? Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is an issue of today, not tomorrow, and serious impacts are associated with the 2 C stabilization target The world is getting hotter -warmest 13 years have occurred since 1997 -July 2012 was the hottest month ever in the contiguous US Canadians are feeling the economic impacts -catastrophic events cost almost $1 B in each of 2009, 2010, and $1.6 B in 2011 -in 2012, Canadian farmers and lobster fisherman felt costs
WHAT IS THE REALITY WE FACE? No one yet thinks the world is on a path to stay below 2 C -to pursue the target, “we must reduce GHGs by 80%, which will give us only a 50/50 chance of meeting the target” -”how would we feel if every time we took a plane, it had only a 50/50 chance of touching down?” -another analogy: “Russian roulette, 6 chambers, 3 chambers filled, and one shot.”
WHAT IS THE REALITY WE FACE? Cost of Climate Change Canada’s 1998 ice storm cost $5.4 B 1996 Saguenay flood cost $1.7 B 2005 rain event in Toronto cost $625 M in insured losses What will Calgary’s flood cost? -Bow and Elbow rivers were carrying three times more water than went through Calgary during the 2005 flood, which cost more than $400 M Climate change could cost $21-43 B annually by 2050
WHAT IS THE REALITY WE FACE? World’s most vulnerable countries to climate change -2015 is already too late -the 2 C target will likely be missed -some developed countries remain insensitive to their plight -some islands will likely become submerged -hopes for enhanced global support have continually been disappointed Bangladesh Maldives
WHAT IS AT STAKE? Future of our children and grandchildren Financial burden to the next generations Impacts on Canada’s agriculture, environment, fisheries, forests, water, etc., and ultimately on Canadians Lakes Huron and Michigan hit their lowest January water levels since record-keeping began in 1918 -fishing, hydropower, navigation, recreation, and water usage could be severely affected -lower water levels could mean less cargo, high costs, and lower profitability
WHAT LESSONS HAVE WE LEARNED? Science alone is not persuasive enough to move governments, business and industry, and citizens to take the necessary action we need Benefits will largely be reaped years from now, but “costs” of action are now Climate change is an economy-wide problem, and requires changes to people’s daily lives, which are difficult to sell politically Because provinces control natural resources and have radically different emissions/energy profiles, tackling climate change is perceived to create “winners” and “losers”
WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE FIGHTING FOR? Stop embarrassing Canada on the world stage -”For a vulnerable country like Tuvalu, it’s an act of sabotage on our future…Withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is a reckless and totally irresponsible act.” Transition to the green economy Develop a national sustainable energy strategy Develop a comprehensive climate change plan Price carbon Make transportation more sustainable Achieve identified targets for renewables, energy efficiency, transportation, and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies
MY MOTIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE M-323 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize that it does not face a choice between saving our economy and saving our environment, but rather between being a producer and consumer in the old economy, and being a leader in the new economy; (b) recognize that Canada, having invested $3 billion in green stimulus spending, has lagged in its efforts to green its economy compared with the United States ($112 billion) and China ($221 billion); (c) initiate discussions with provinces, territories, municipalities, labour organizations, industry sectors, First Nations and others to develop a green economy strategy for Canada, with goals for 2015, 2020, 2025 and 2030; (d) ensure that its development strategy include skills development, training programs, certification courses, and transitional policies for workers and communities whose jobs could be lost or significantly changed by the shift to a greener economy; and (e) publish the employment consequences of new federal policies in an annual report to Parliament. M-324 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) accept the science of climate change; (b) table a comprehensive climate change plan, in preference to a sector-by-sector approach; (c) commit to attaining the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that it has supported internationally, namely, for 2020, a domestic emission target of 17% below the 2005 level; and (d) commit to making a fair contribution to achieving the goal of staying below a 2°C increase in global average surface temperature relative to the pre-industrial level. M-325 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize that 84% of Canadian thought leaders from academia, government, industry, institutions and non-profit organizations give poor ratings to Canada’s dependence on fossil fuels and carbon pricing; (b) recognize that 69% of Canadian thought leaders view federal government leadership as the key factor affecting implementation of sustainable energy solutions; (c) recognize that non-renewable, high-carbon energy sources are unsustainable, and that Canada must plan for a transition to more sustainable energy sources; (d) recognize the need for a national sustainable energy and economic growth strategy to position Canada to succeed in the global economy; (e) accept moral and intergenerational responsibility, and make progress on its 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction target; (f) recognize that the opportunity to maintain the average global temperature rise at less than 2°C relative to the pre-industrial temperature level is in serious danger; and (g) develop a pan-Canadian sustainable energy strategy with goals and targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation.
MY MOTIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE M-326 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should develop a pan-Canadian plan for energy efficiency, which sets targets for increased energy efficiency for the years 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050. M-327 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should develop targets for the deployment of low-impact renewable energy in Canada for the years 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050, and an action plan to achieve the established targets. M-328 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should develop a strategy for sustainable transportation in Canada that sets targets for 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050. M-329 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should develop a fund for climate neutral pilot projects for municipalities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, and to use carbon offsets to neutralize unavoidable emissions. M-330 — February 15, 2012 — Ms. Duncan (Etobicoke North) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) initiate discussions with the Province of Alberta, industry sectors, labour organizations, municipalities, First Nations and others to develop a long-term plan for management of the oil sands including, but not limited to, regulating the pace and scale of development; (b) ensure that progress be made to protect air quality, boreal forest ecosystems, water, and other natural resources; (c) ensure that appropriate scientific assessments be undertaken to investigate the potential environmental and human health impacts of oil sands development; and (d) table solutions to protect and remediate the environment.
STAKES ARE ENORMOUS Leading countries are creating a new energy future and investing billions to be at the front of the curve in the new green economy -Canada spent $3 B in green stimulus -Germany invested $14 B -the United States invested $112 B -China invested $221 B Who created thousands of new green jobs?
HOW DO WE PUSH FOR ACTION? Political leadership -“For the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late …That is our job, that is our task--we have to get to work” -”peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet. The effort to slow climate change requires bold action (Obama 2013).” Common-sense solutions that enhance our quality of life and strengthen our communities
TOOLS FOR CHANGE Speak with one voice Develop your “asks” Develop a letter writing campaign to all MPs and Senators Develop a petition http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/PracticalGuides/Petiti ons/petitionsPG2008__Pg02-e.htm Develop bills and motions Develop written order paper questions Ask an MP to host a breakfast on the Hill
CONCLUSION Science of climate change, recognition of economic impacts, and the growing chorus of countries taking action to combat climate change simply will not go away Despite the extraordinary commitment of the scientific community in Canada, climate change policy discussions are not being driven by science -a comprehensive climate change plan has not been delivered, little progress has been made to reduce GHG emissions, and climate accountability measures have been removed from legislation While climate change is speeding up, Canada continues to slide backward on the issue -the government’s only response is to greenwash its deplorable record Science has told us what we need to do to limit warming and what the risks of failing to do so might be It is now the job of politicians to end Canadian’s pessimism, and to translate science into policy and action