Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

CLIMATE CRISIS

Posted by strattof on June 2, 2016

Sunday, June 5, is WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, a time to reflect on the catastrophic damage we are doing to the earth systems that give us life, and a time to start taking action to lessen the damage.

CLIMATE FACTS

  • 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded—until 2015 beat it by a wide margin.
  • April 2016 was the hottest April on record and the seventh month in a row to break global temperature averages—setting up 2016 to be the hottest year ever.
  • The 10 hottest years on record have all happened since 1998.
  • Warming is now accelerating in an unparalleled way.
  • 97% of scientists agree that human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, has caused this increase in temperature.
  • Average global temperature has already reached 1°C higher than the pre-industrial average.
  • The increase in average global temperature must be kept below 2°C to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming.

THE PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE

In December 2015, 195 countries, including Canada, met in Paris and adopted a climate agreement, committing to keep “the increase in average global temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” with the further aim of limiting “the increase to 1.5°C.”

To reach this goal, each country at the conference pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by a certain percentage. Canada’s pledge was for a 30% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030.

Will Canada keep its commitment?

TAR SANDS MADNESS

  • The federal government subsidizes the tar sands industry to the tune of $1.5 billion a year.
  • The tar sands industry is the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada.
  • According to a 2015 study by Nature, if global warming is to be limited to 2°C, 85% of its tar sands oil will have to remain in the ground.
  • Various levels of governments are still pushing for pipelines to be built from the Alberta tar sands—pipelines that would facilitate tar sands expansion.

FIRST NATIONS TAKE THE LEAD

Indigenous communities have taken the lead in opposing new pipelines, such as Energy East. The original caretakers of this land, they are determined to protect their land and the entire planet from environmental destruction.

Last month, the federal government formally adopted the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which, if fully implemented, would give Indigenous peoples veto rights over developments on their land. This same right is enshrined in the Treaties as they were intended.

IS BRAD WALL A CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER?

In his May 17 2016 Speech from the Throne, Premier Wall said: “There are some in this country who, given the opportunity, would shut down major parts of Saskatchewan’s economy and put thou-sands of hard-working Saskatchewan people out of work, all in the name of some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

Premier Wall is also a vocal supporter of the Energy East pipeline project, a pipeline that will carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil a day, thus facilitating tar sands expansion.

Provincial NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon also “support[s] our energy sector and….building new pipelines.”

Is it any wonder, then, that Saskatchewan has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates in the country and ranks last among the provinces in environmental performance? SHAME!

IS JUSTIN TRUDEAU ANY BETTER?

On the one hand, the Trudeau government has committed to new regulations for pipelines, regulations that include a consideration of climate impact, more public participation, and more consideration of Indigenous rights.

On the other hand, when questioned about pipelines in April during a Saskatoon visit, Prime Minister Trudeau responded: “One of the fundamental responsibilities of any Canadian prime minister…is to get Canadian resources to international markets.” Trudeau also supported the Keystone XL pipeline.

FIRES: THE CLIMATE CONNECTION

In case there is any doubt, the Government of Canada’s own website states: “Climate change during the 21st century is expected to result in more frequent fires in many boreal forests with severe environmental and economic consequences.”

Climate change is also resulting in more droughts, heat waves, and extreme weather events.

WHAT CANADA MUST DO

To meet the climate commitment it made in Paris, Canada must:

  • Say “no” to new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines.
  • Say “yes” to major investments in renewable energy and green infrastructure, especially public transit.
  • Say “yes” to spending public money on retraining workers being laid off in the fossil fuel sector.
  • Say “yes” to Indigenous peoples’ right to control development on their land.

TAKE ACTION

ATTEND: PARIS CLIMATE CONFERENCE AND AFTER, Friday June 10, 7 pm: Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2104 Garnet Street: Canada signed the Paris agreement on climate change, so what does it mean for us now? You are invited to a discussion of the issue with Steven Guilbeault, co-founder of Equiterre, and Haley Carlson of Saskatchewan Environmental Society.  

TELL PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU you want Canada to keep the climate commitment it made in Paris: 613-922-4211 or justintrudeau@parl.gc.ca

DEMAND SASKATCHEWAN PREMIER stop denying climate change: https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/tell-saskatchewan-s-premier-to-stop-denying-climate-change-and-act

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