Stephen Lewis targets climate change during UBCM keynote address

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      A series of resolutions focused on environmental issues at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver received recognition from keynote speaker Stephen Lewis today (September 18).

      The prominent human-rights advocate and former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa didn’t mince his words when it came to addressing the topic of climate change during his address to municipal delegates from across the province.

      “No matter what we do at this point, no matter all of your absolutely laudable municipal, local government undertakings and initiatives, we cannot stop what is occurring and will occur before 2050,” he said. “The dye is cast. Too much carbon has been discharged.”

      But he did praise B.C.’s climate action charter, and commended motions like one on clean energy from Richmond for keeping public attention on the issue of energy supplies.

      “We can, however, by all of the things you’re now doing, change the patterns between 2050 and the end of the century,” he continued.

      The motion from Richmond calls for an energy strategy prioritizing green-sector jobs, and calls for the UBCM and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to request that the federal government work with them on the plan.

      Other resolutions focused on the environment at the convention include one from Delta on a coordinated review process for in-stream and shoreline works, and a motion from Vancouver on a green jobs plan for B.C.

      Lewis’ speech, which also focused on the importance of community, credited the ability to raise awareness at the community level of climate issues—just as the speaker warned of the consequences of inaction.

      “I cannot emphasize strongly enough what a race against time we’re in—it’s just staggering,” he stated. “And if United States and Canada and China and India cannot get their act together, and that is true of the European Union as well…if we cannot get our act together, then we’re dooming the future of humankind to a desperate predicament, which will compromise the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and it is absolute insanity to march through life pretending that we can go year after year without taking action.”

      Lewis said measures he wants to see Canada take to address climate change include the development of a “very major alternative energy policy”.

      “I want Canada to go whole hog on solar and wind, and then try to resolve the tar sands in a way that puts the environment first,” he told reporters following his speech.

      As part of his speech, Lewis also drew attention to the issue of water.

      “More and more the discussion is coming to water and sanitation,” he said. “There are a billion people on the planet who don’t have access to clean water. There are 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to sanitation.”

      Lewis is a former leader of the NDP in Ontario, and is the current board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The organization recently hosted an event in Vancouver focused on the testimony of grandmothers from Sub-Saharan Africa who are involved with community initiatives to support those affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

      The foundation issued a call to action stemming from the tribunal in Vancouver, urging measures including a global fund for cash transfers, access to health care, food security, and laws protecting grandmothers from violence.

      Comments

      5 Comments

      Al Bore

      Sep 19, 2013 at 4:02am

      Get up to date people, we don't have to love this planet with fear like neocons:
      *Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
      *Science has never agreed it WILL be a crisis, only could be a crisis and it’s been almost three decades.
      *Not one single IPCC warning has ever said any crisis WILL happen, only 28 years of “maybe” a crisis. Prove me wrong.
      *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
      *Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.
      *Obama had not mentioned the crisis in two State of the Unions addresses.
      Definition of a Fear Monger; Anyone saying a CO2 crisis will happen when science has NEVER agreed it WILL happen, they only agreed it could and might and possibly and……………………….for 28 years. Who’s the neocon here again?

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      Who's the Denier Now?

      Sep 19, 2013 at 10:34am

      It has been long enough for the Earth to debunk the AGW theory all on its own.
      Models using CO2 have failed miserably at projecting any sort of temperature increase, and are completely incapable of hindcasting with any sort of accuracy.
      They can't explain what has happened in the past, near or far, they don't align with real-world observations today - so why should we have faith in their doom and gloom scenarios of the future?
      What a crock.
      My guess is before the next IPCC report comes out it will have been dissolved and people will start rebelling against the warmist con - just look at Australia...

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      Denise

      Sep 19, 2013 at 2:26pm

      The worlds climate has changed and will continue to experience more and more extreme storms, flooding, tornadoes etc. What do you say to the highest recorded temperatures globally?
      Why do you not believe in science? oh, I get it you are a conservative troll.

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      Vic Burstall

      Sep 19, 2013 at 2:57pm

      Surely we have seen enough of Stephen Louis!

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      Anita

      Sep 21, 2013 at 1:14pm

      Here is a site that shows the evidence that climate change is happening now: http://cc.rsoe.hu/index.php

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