When Craig visited Dadaab, Kenya, four years ago and met Ali, he witnessed hundreds of families lined along the road to the world's largest refugee camp. Most weren't fleeing violence, they were fleeing the weather. As climate change advances, disasters like the drought that ravaged East Africa in 2011 are becoming more frequent and severe.
Canada fell woefully short of 2012 emissions targets and in December 2011 became the only country to pull out of Kyoto, the world's only binding climate treaty. That was in the dark decade of Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Trudeau led a younger, far more optimistic and enlightened entourage to Paris.
When our children's children look back to what we did to keep our planet livable, they may see this year's United Nations climate conference in Paris as a turning point. The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) may have been our last chance for a meaningful agreement to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy before ongoing damage to the world's climate becomes irreversible and devastating. Government ministers, negotiators and world leaders spent the first two weeks of December creating a guide for the next stage of humanity's action on climate change.
The holidays are a notoriously wasteful time of year with an estimated 300,000 additional tonnes of garbage created by Canadians between mid November and New Years' Day. With an excess of gift wrap, consumer packaging, and food waste, that's not hard to believe. Here are five ways you can give the gift of green this holiday season.
I am really confused by my government right now, because when it comes to climate action, it feels like I have two different governments. One government is in Paris, and their words on climate sound like the kind of ambition we need. The other one is in Ottawa, and its actions are looking more and more like the Harper government's on climate change.
It is the people in the poorest countries that are and will be most affected by the consequences of climate change. A recent World Bank report on the subject states that climate change will possibly lead more than 100 million people below the poverty line by 2030, in addition to the one billion individuals already living this harsh reality.
We keep hearing about the need to keep global climate change below a target of two degrees Celsius. However, few people know where this comes from. The reason for this is that the target is one of the most deliberately muddied topics in the climate change debate -- not a scientific number, but a political one.
It is a sad coincidence that Maurice Strong has died on the eve of another ambitious attempt, this time in Paris, to come to grips with global environmental crises that have become ever more grave. We can only hope that a reinvigorated diplomatic corps inspired by fresh political leadership will once again do our country proud.
Fossil fuel companies have not managed to get a much coveted seat at the actual negotiating table during COP decision-making. But they are lobbying so hard that they hope politicians will come up with pro-industry solutions. A growing number of public interest groups want the fossil fuel lobby barred from the UN process.
Rachel Notley's challenge has been to reassure the fiercely skeptical Alberta business elites that were horrified to wake up last May to discover the NDP had risen to power. With the economy already hammered by plummeting oil prices, they feared that the New Democrats would inflict further damage through a climate change plan that would drive up costs and cripple the oil sands. But business leaders in the Alberta can read the financial press as well as the rest of us and now seem to be buying Rachel Notley's view that they better try to be part of the solution.
As the president of Tree Canada, an organization that's helped plant more than 80 million trees over the past 20 years, you might expect an argument against cutting down a "live tree," but make no mistake -- you are helping both the environment and the community you live in when you choose a real tree.
The U.S. decision on Keystone XL sent a clear message: Tar sands pipeline projects like the ones currently under consideration or subject to litigation in Canada -- TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, and Enbridge's Northern Gateway Project -- are not the way of the future.