Some days, it seems like Elizabeth May is the only federal leader who truly understands magnitude of climate crisis
Because I'm on a bunch of emailing lists, I routinely receive fundraising letters from political parties.
But the one that came today from Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May stood out from the rest in the way it addressed the global climate crisis.
It was yet another reminder that May continues to remain focused on the biggest threat facing humanity as other politicians and the national media are sidetracked by a multitude of other issues.
You can read key sections of May's letter below:
"The October 8 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t so much that the information in the report was unexpected. I have known for years, even before we signed the Paris Agreement, that the collectivity of all national commitments to reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHG) was far too little to achieve the Paris goal.
"In Paris, the nations of the world committed to hold global average temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees C above what they were before the Industrial Revolution. Before the climate negotiations in Paris, the IPCC had crunched all the numbers behind all the pledges. It was clear that the combined impact of all countries’ promises—even if honoured and achieved on time—would see global average temperatures shoot right through 1.5 degrees, past 2 degrees and potentially hit 3.7 degrees.
"The recent IPCC report on the pathway to 1.5 degrees communicated some new information:
- A 1.5 degrees world is much worse than we thought. It is our best possible outcome, will preserve life on earth, but it will involve significant climate disruption;
- 2 degrees is much worse and could put all of humanity on a trajectory to extinction; and
- We still have a chance to hold to 1.5 degrees with immediate and urgent action.
To avoid global catastrophe on a level beyond contemplation, we must, collectively, reduce global GHG by 45 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030 – and be virtually carbon neutral by 2050. We must also protect and re-establish forests—everywhere.
"This is the good news. We should be shouting it from the rooftops...
"We do not have much time. If we miss the goal of reducing emissions globally by 45 per cent in 12 years, that one last chance is lost. Forever.
"In Canada, we are engaged in an inane debate about carbon pricing in which the Liberals exaggerate the benefits of their modest, but welcome, plan and the Conservatives confirm their utter unsuitability for office.
"Even on October 15, when I succeeded in getting a special Emergency Debate on the IPCC report, most MPs acted as though this was a standard partisan slugfest: Conservatives with their misleading mantra that carbon pricing is a 'tax on everything'; Liberals claiming they are climate leaders while they spend $4.5 billion on a leaky 65-year-old pipeline and pledge another $10 billion to build the dreaded expansion.
"The truth is that Canada’s target is still among the weakest among industrialized countries.
"That’s because Justin Trudeau opted to keep the old Harper target of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Worse yet, the Trudeau administration is not even on track to meet that weak target.
"With only modest carbon pricing set to begin in 2019, fossil fuel subsidies still in place and no plans for federal eco-energy retrofits or meaningful steps to de-carbonize our electricity grid, we are far from the Harper target and nowhere near the massive move away from fossil fuels that the IPCC warns us is now non-negotiable.
"I am going to Poland for the next round of climate negotiations where the countries of the world will grapple with the IPCC report. So far, the Environment and Climate Change minister has given no indication that she understands what this report means. She talks a good game. She may even mean what she says. But she continues to ignore the reality that we cannot afford to wait years before ramping up our target and our actions.
"This is where you come in—and it’s why your support and encouragement are so important and so very much appreciated.
"Now, more than ever before, we need a large caucus of Green MPs working across party lines to achieve a massive societal movement off fossil fuels."