Passing the 2009 Climate Change Accountability Act could close the gap between our country's ambitions and its actions.
From absurd claims that the voluntary agreement will impose "draconian financial and economic burdens" on the U.S. to petty, irrational fears that it confers advantages to other countries to the misguided notion that it can and should be renegotiated, Trump is either misinformed or lying.
If the warming of this planet is to be slowed -- if not halted -- it will not come about by government fiat, nor should it. Governments are reluctant to impose unpopular measures and the corporate sector will resist attempts to curtail our freedom to consume. The impetus must come from citizens.
The environmental issue of our time is climate change, and Canada's government under the leadership of Stephen Harper has failed at every opportunity to address this issue. Does this failure mean that the last decade has been a failure for the environment? No. Fortunately, there has been leadership elsewhere. Canadians are often doing the right thing to reduce our impact on the planet, without legislation.
One of the slogans I've seen on buttons handed out by the Green Party is "Because, KIDS." For me, that is the heart of the environmental issue, and my motivation for writing about climate change and trying to raise awareness of the seriousness of this crisis that threatens our very survival as a species.
A court in The Hague, Netherlands, delivered a watershed decision on climate change. To meet this duty, the government must set and achieve a greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target of at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. The court held that the Dutch government owes a duty of care toward its current and future citizens to prevent dangerous climate change, and that it breached the standard of care required by having an insufficient GHG reduction target. What is the chance of a similar case succeeding in Canada?
From November 30 to December 11, 2015, world leaders will gather in Paris in an attempt once more to negotiate an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hence global warming. Whether or not society chooses to take the necessary steps to mitigate climate change ultimately depends on the extent to which we value the importance of intergenerational equity.
Sadly, the inability of governments to deal with climate change is neither just national, nor recent. We've been saddled with government indolence on climate and pollution for far too long, and in far too many places around the world. But Canada has been singled out for getting in the way of progress at global climate negotiations, and we're the only country to have pulled out of the legally binding Kyoto Protocol.
We are, above all else, biological beings, with an absolute need for clean air from the moment of birth to the last death rattle. We are about 60 per cent water by weight, so we need clean water to be healthy. We eat plants and animals for our nourishment, so whatever they're exposed to ends up in our bodies. We need clean soil to give us clean food. These are basic, biological facts and should be the prism through which any decision is made at individual, corporate or government levels. Protection of air, water, soil and the web of life should be the highest social, political and economic priority.
The world first heard urgent climate change warnings in 1988, issued by an international meeting of climatologists in Toronto. The evidence then was so compelling that one report declared global warming a threat to human survival second only to nuclear war and called for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 15 years. The anecdotes in a new film, Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, add up to an overwhelming warning that social, economic and ecological costs are rapidly mounting and we must take climate change seriously. As one person says, "If you don't believe it, just look out the window."