Photo: Our future will be determined by choice, not chance

Canada has more than enough solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass energy potential to meet its needs.

By Ian Hanington

Scientists know we're contributing to climate change, mainly by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. For its recent Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change enlisted hundreds of scientists and experts from around the world to comb through the latest peer-reviewed scientific literature and other relevant materials to assess "the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response strategies." The report shows we need a strong, concerted global effort to combat climate change and protect the health of our economies, communities, children and future.

That's why the David Suzuki Foundation is focusing on solutions. The longer we delay in addressing the problem, the more costly it will become. If we act now, we can take advantage of growing opportunities in the clean energy economy and find ways to reduce our use of polluting fossil fuels — which are becoming increasingly difficult and environmentally risky to extract and transport.

Through our clean energy research with partners including busi- nesses and academics, the Foundation has reviewed energy production and distribution opportunities in Canada, taking into account economic, social and environmental concerns. The research shows Canada has more than enough solar, wind, hydroelectric and bio-mass energy potential to meet our current and future needs for fuel and electricity. Clean energy technology costs have also been falling.

Sometimes it's an uphill battle, with a small but powerful faction of entrenched interests from the fossil fuel industry and its supporters in government and media doing all they can to sow doubt and confusion about the reality of global warming. But with your support, we're ensuring that people are not misled by these efforts to discredit scientific evidence from around the world. We're also working on solutions that will yield benefits beyond combating climate change — from reducing pollution and its related health-care costs to avoiding extreme weather-related events to creating long-term jobs and economic opportunities.

Our future will be determined by choice, not chance. We can choose to ignore the scientific evidence or we can make changes to reduce carbon emissions. For the sake of our communities and our children and grandchildren, we must make the right choice.