It is essential that Canada do its fair share to prevent a climate crisis.
Climate action is critical and must take precedence over economic development.
We must convince all levels of Canadian governments to implement science-based plans to limit global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees C.
We must act NOW!
On October 8, 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released special report SR15 which confirms that keeping global temperatures from increasing above 1.5 degrees C is critical.
According to the 2014 IPCC report: "Human–induced warming has already reached about 1°C above pre-industrial levels at the time of writing of this Special Report. By the decade 2006–2015, human activity had warmed the world by 0.87°C (±0.12°C) compared pre-industrial times (1850–1900). If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human–induced global warming of 1.5°C around 2040."
The September 2018 IPCC Special Report increased the Global Carbon Budget for a 66% of keeping global temperature increases below the dangerous 1.5 degrees. The revised carbon budget is 420,000 Mt CO2. Many of Climate Action NOW's calculations and charts are still based on the 2014 IPCC report but we are working on revising them.
David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, states about the extreme weather effects of climate change in Canada:
“I tell people, think of the warmest summer you’ve ever experienced: it could be this one, it could be the one in 2005 or 1998 … in 50 years that’ll be the coldest summer.”
and according to Environment Canada:
“Future warming will be accompanied by other changes, including the amount and distribution of rain, snow, and ice and the risk of extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy rainfalls and related flooding, dry spells and/or droughts, and forest fires,” it continues.
Many of us have become increasingly concerned about the lip-service that Canadian governments are paying to these predictions.
Although it is important to spend resources on adaptation, it is not possible to adapt to global temperature increases of 4 degrees C or more.
Canada is not on track to meet the Pan-Canadian targets. More important, these targets are far from sufficient to meet our Paris Agreement pledge of keeping global temperature increases well below 2 degrees C. According to scientists there is a maximum amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which the atmosphere can hold if we want to avoid this. This maximum amount of CO2 is known as the carbon budget and has to be shared among all areas of the globe.
We have calculated that, for Canada to act in accordance with our Paris Agreement emissions must be reduced by at least 49% by 2020 and 100% by 2025. Our present targets exceed the limit for a 3 degree increase in global temperatures and will not reach zero until 2060.
One way of sharing this budget is on a per-capita basis (population-based). It is impossible for Canada to meet this population-based share of the global carbon budget for 2 degrees C. There are other sharing strategies.
The gap between our targets and our commitments is enormous. It makes a mockery of the Trudeau government's claim to be climate-friendly. They claim to be able to balance the economy and the climate; this is not possible.
A recent report by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (pdf) states that 'declining carbon emissions after 2020 is a necessity for meeting the Paris temperature limit of “well below 2 degrees”.'