Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on November 26, 2015

From November 30 – December 11, world leaders will be gathering in Paris for the 21st UN conference on climate change, formally known as Conference of the Parties 21 or COP21.

The science is clear: To avoid catastrophic climate change, nations must come to a legally binding agreement to drastically reduce carbon (CO2) emissions.

For the last two decades, Canada has dragged its feet on climate change and sometimes even engaged in obstructionist practices at climate conferences. Such tactics have helped to keep the world on the path to calamitous global warming.

Will Canada continue to be a climate laggard at this year’s climate change conference? Or will we become a climate champion?


  1. To avoid catastrophic climate change, global temperature must not rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial (1850) levels.
  2. Average global temperature has already risen by .85°C.
  3. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975.
  4. 2014 was the hottest year on record.
  5. 2015 is set to break the 2014 record.
  6. Weather-related disasters, such as floods and fires, have occurred almost daily over the last decade.
  7. Rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere are the main cause of climate change.
  8. The leading cause of the growth in atmospheric CO2 in the last 50 years has been an increase in the burning of fossil fuels.
  9. To stop global temperature from rising more than 2°C, at least 80% of fossil fuels needs to stay in the ground.
  10. By 2030 it will have become impossible to meet the 2°C target if far-reaching measures to reduce emissions are not taken now.


  • In 1997, Canada signed the Kyoto Accord, a binding climate agreement, pledging a 6% reduction of emissions by 2012 compared to 1990 levels.
  • In 2011, Canada withdrew from Kyoto, the first and only country to have done so.
  • Today, Canada’s emissions are 18% higher than they were in 1990.
  • Canada ranks 58 out of 61 on the 2015 Climate Change Performance Index.

Why is Canada such a climate laggard?

Since climate change first became an issue in the 1990s, Canada has repeatedly placed profits for the fossil fuel industry before the well-being of people and the planet.


  • According to a recent IMF report, the total fossil fuel industry subsidies in Canada are more than $34 billion a year. Think what Canada could do with an extra $34 billion a year!
  • Canada subsidizes the oil and gas industry at a higher rate than any other rich country except the US and Luxembourg.
  • The oil and gas industry accounts for 25% of Canada’s emissions. Transportation accounts for another 23%.
  • Subsidies also include $4.5 billion annually for the coal industry. Coal-fired power is by far the dirtiest electricity, accounting for 10% of Canada’s carbon emissions.
  • Tar sands development, also heavily subsidized, is the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada. Pipelines facilitate tar sands expansion.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau’s expression of disappointment following President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline was telling. Premier Brad Wall is also a champion of pipelines and tar sands expansion. 


To be a climate champion, Canada must make, on a binding basis, the following four commitments at the Paris climate conference:

  1. To stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry.
  2. To start subsidizing a) the development of renewables: $20 billion annually for the next 10 years; b) public transportation: 14 billion annually for the next 10 years.
  3. To phase out coal-fired power by 2020.
  4. To leave tar sands oil in the ground. No pipelines!


Join hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are marching for the climate. Let world leaders know we are counting on them to act in Paris: to commit to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and to start immediately to transition to 100% renewables.

Hands reaching out, fists raising up, banners unfurling, megaphones booming

And we are canoes blocking coal ships

We are the radiance of solar villages

We are the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past

We are petitions blooming from teenage fingertips

We are families biking, recycling, reusing; engineers dreaming, designing, building; artists painting, dancing, writing

And we are spreading the word

And there are thousands out on the street, marching with signs, hand in hand

Chanting for change NOW 

From Dear Matafele Peinem, by Marshall Island poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, addressed to her baby daughter and read at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.

Read all of this powerful poem online. Google the title.



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