Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and -- because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector -- we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets. Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health. That's according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December's UN climate summit. Developed countries around the world -- with the exception of Canada and Japan -- are unveiling their individual climate plans, which were due yesterday.
Canada's negotiators are working hard to sidestep the issue of the country's growing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector while simultaneously keeping quiet about the oilsands as nations come up with their "intended nationally determined contributions" in the global climate agreement.
The situation in Canada is not different from the rest of the world. The country is already feeling the consequences of climate change: diminishing quality and quantity of water, increasing pollens and other allergens, coastal erosion, road and infrastructure degradation and floods. The health consequences of those climate change impacts are already being strongly felt.
Scientists are still trying to understand the connection between specific weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan and climate. Climate change is reshaping our world, and the science is telling us in every way possible that we can expect more extreme weather disaster going forward, unless we do something about this now.
It feels like I'm watching some sort of terrible, tragic cosmic joke as the climate talks in Warsaw prepare to open with a bleak prospect for any real action while Haiyan returns to make the point that the world seemed to miss with Bopha last year. The United Nations climate talks have devolved into what feels like a negotiated surrender.
If we want to see change from negotiations, we need to see fundamental changes in the way decisions are actually made. Politicians and bureaucrats with connections to oil and gas profiteers are not going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is in their bank accounts' best interest to pollute. This holiday season give the gift of climate justice. Give the gifts of solidarity, resistance, and community power.
Developed countries, when they put 30 per cent emissions reductions or less on the table are effectively putting death, displacement and devastation on the table. To call current targets enough, is to effectively announce that on this planet there are acceptable losses in those regions least responsible for causing climate change. People are connecting the dots between extreme weather, droughts and famine, desertification, deforestation, rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires, and a range of devastating impacts the result of a changed climate. They are connecting these dots to a history of the fossil fuel industry and wealthy, developed nations having free reign pollute.