An op-ed in the August 31 edition of the Toronto Star by three respected Canadian scientists discusses the Canadian government's lack of action and ambition in achieving its climate change targets. It's an important reminder that yet another year is passing with no concrete action.
When you have a problem to overcome, a goal and an action plan are essential. In the case of climate change, the problem has become worse since we made our Kyoto commitment back in 1997 (six per cent below 1990 emission levels by 2012). Temperatures have continued to rise, glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, Arctic sea ice has reached record lows, and extreme weather events have affected millions of people. But in the face of a worsening situation, Canada's target for addressing its share of the problem has become less ambitious. This is hardly doing our fair share when other countries like Germany, the U.K. and Sweden have made the changes necessary to hit their targets. And despite weakening its target last year (it's now 2.5 per cent above 1990 emission levels by 2020), the Canadian government has yet to present a plan that would allow us even to achieve this goal. It doesn't take a scientist to reason that delaying a suitable response is rolling the dice with our future.
And we can't leave it all up to scientists to solve global warming.
Implementing these solutions and getting our government to act will require comprehensive action and strong leadership from every sector of Canadian society. Luckily, we have seen leadership from some provinces. For instance, B.C. has implemented a price on carbon emissions, Quebec has released draft regulations for a cap-and-trade system, and Ontario's Green Energy Act has made implementation of renewable energy and the phasing out of coal-fired electricity priorities.
But we still need to hold our government accountable for its lack of leadership, which is making it harder for Canadians to be part of the solution.
Wanna make a difference today? Call on our Environment Minister to stop a dirty coal plant that is trying to cut corners.