By now, you've probably heard about the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) this week. Since it came out on October 8, stories about the paper — which details what the world would need to do in order to stay below a 1.5ºC warming threshold — have blanketed the media, from the New York Times and the Guardian to the Kenora Daily Miner and your local morning CBC radio show.
Al Gore released a statement supporting the report's conclusion that the world needs to go further than the Paris Climate Agreement. CNN tweeted about "what you can do" to help stop climate change. And, Mark Ruffalo — the Hulk — shared an article about the key takeaways from the report. Catherine McKenna, Canada's environment minister weighed in, telling the Canadian Press that "we all know we need to do more." Everyone who is anyone on climate change has had something to say about it, everyone that is, except Justin Trudeau.
Since the report was released, the prime minister, who famously stormed into the Paris climate talks in 2015 to champion a 1.5ºC climate target and declare that "Canada is back", has said absolutely nothing. Justin Trudeau, who in 2015 said that "climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our communities and our economy" has responded to the single most important scientific report on climate change since his election with the equivalent of a tumbleweed blowing across an empty desert.
Of course, the prime minister is a busy man. He's the recent owner of a $4.5 billion-dollar tar sands pipeline, his carbon price and climate plan are under siege from a growing right-wing political alliance, and his government has a massive LNG facility in B.C., offshore drilling in Nova Scotia and the Teck Frontier Mine, the largest tar sands mine ever proposed, to try and figure out how to sell as part of their carbon reduction strategy.
In other words, if there's a moment when Canada needs to hear from Prime Minister Trudeau on climate change, it's right now.
Last week, the world's most respected voices on climate change made it crystal clear — we need to do more, we need to do it faster and we need to stop making the problem worse. With Canada still on track to drastically miss the targets we agreed to in the Paris Climate Agreement, a text the IPCC just said doesn't go far enough, we need an answer to how Canada is actually going to do it's part on climate change.
Watch: Climate report from U.N. warns of dire consequences if action isn't taken soon
We need to know how Prime Minister Trudeau and his government can have any chance of meeting the ambitious goal of "limiting warming well below 2ºC" that they fought for in Paris while they're buying pipelines here in Canada.
We need to know why McKenna and Trudeau keep saying that the transition off of fossil fuels will take decades when the best climate scientists on the planet are telling us that we have about 12 years to right the climate ship before it carries us off a cliff.
In short, we need to know how Trudeau plans to respond to what Debra Roberts, one of the IPCC's climate impacts working group co-chairs, called "the largest clarion bell from the science community" ever on climate change.
The Federal NDP have called for an emergency debate on the IPCC report, and we can only hope that Members of Parliament from all political stripes support the call. A debate on the floor of the House may be the only way Canadians can get the prime minister to break his climate silence.
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