Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

CLIMATE CRISIS

Posted by strattof on January 26, 2013

CLIMATE FACTS

  • The upper safety limit for CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. Today the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 394.39 ppm, well over the safety limit.
  • For the past decade, there has been an average annual increase of 2.1 ppm per year. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing at an accelerating rate from decade to decade.
  • The leading cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere are the main cause of climate change.
  • Global temperatures have already been pushed up 0.8 degrees C. To avoid dangerous climate change, the increase in global temperature must be below 2 degrees C.
  • Many scientists believe that climate change is the single biggest threat facing the earth today.

C A N A D I A N   M A D N E S S

  • Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. Yet we have one of the worst records when it comes to taking action on climate change. We are amongst the top 10 CO2 emitters in the world and we are the only country to have withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord.
  • Canada’s Kyoto target was a 6% reduction of emissions  by 2012 compared to 1990 levels. Instead, between 1990 and 2008, emissions increased by 24%.
  • Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has been steadily weakening environmental laws. 
  • In 2012, the Harper government totally gutted environmental regulations, forcing the legislation through parliament in 2 omnibus budget bills, C-38 and C-45. 
  • The reason for this madness? To protect tar sands development, which the government subsidizes to the tune of $1.3 billion a year.

TAR SANDS: AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER

  • Tar sands development accounts for 6.5% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is Canada’s fastest growing source of emissions.
  • Tar sands operations poison the air, landscape, and water with pollutant emissions, including sulphur dioxide and benzene, up to 100 kilometres away.
  • Tar sands extraction takes 3 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of oil. This water ends up in toxic tailings ponds along the Athabasca River.  These ponds leak 3.8 billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River every year.  
  • Tar sands expansion is devastating the rich ecosystem of Alberta’s boreal forest.
  • Tar sands oil is more corrosive than conventional crude. Tar sands pipelines will inevitably leak, contaminating other landscapes and waterways.
  • According to NASA climate scientist James Hansen, burning tar sands oil in addition to conventional oil will be too much for the atmosphere. “It will be game over for the climate.”

LESSONS FOR CANADA: OTHER MODELS

The aggressive model of economic and resource development that Canada is following is wreaking havoc on the Canadian environment: air, land, forest and water. It is also helping to keep the world on the path to catastrophic global warming.

There are other models of economic and resource development. Here are 3 Canada can learn from.  

GERMANY

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany decided to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Within G20 countries, Germany has the largest amount of its electricity produced from renewable sources. Canada ranks 13th

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Stop subsidizing the tar sands industry. ●Start making substantial investments in renewable energy.

FIRST NATIONS IDLE NO MORE MOVEMENT

Idle No More is in part a protest against measures in Bill C-45 that weaken the environmental protection of Canada’s waterways. The bill also exempts pipelines from environmental oversight. In the words of Pam Palmater, an Idle No More spokesperson: First Nations are Canadians’ last, best hope of protecting the land, water, sky, and plants and animals for their future generations.”

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Scrap all legislation passed since 2006 that weakens environmental regulations. ●Hold meaningful advance consultations before making legislative changes that affect First Nations.

ECUADOR

In 2008 Ecuador passed a new constitution that gives rights to nature. Nature –  rivers, trees, birds, fish, ecosystems – has the constitutional right to exist and prosper for its own sake. Now Ecuador is proposing to not exploit huge untapped oil reserves that lie under Yasuni National Park. Leaving the oil in the ground will protect the biodiversity of the park and help combat climate change.

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Begin to discuss the constitutional protection of nature. ●Leave tar sands oil in the ground.

LEARN MORE ABOUT:

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Google: Bill McKibben website
  • Google: David Suzuki climate change basics

TAR SANDS

  • Andrew Nikiforuk, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, available at Regina Public Library
  • Google: David Suzuki tar sands

OTHER MODELS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Google: Idle No More Manifesto
  • Google: What if Mother Nature had rights?
  • Google: David Suzuki Andean adventure
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One Response to “CLIMATE CRISIS”

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