This group of backgrounders highlights some of the interconnected elements of environmental degradation and climate change, the effects of which we are already seeing in Canada and around the world.
Ottawa (2 Dec. 2019) — The UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP 25, kicks off today in Madrid, Spain. Political leaders, policy-makers, and civil society actors from around the world will gather to evaluate the parties’ progress on addressing climate change and reducing emissions.
The science is getting scary
COP 25 comes on the heels of a chilling new report from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) that finds the world is on track to far exceed the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to limit global temperature rises to between 1.5°C and 2°C.
In its annual Emissions Gap Report, UNEP finds that the planet is on its way to warming by 3.2°C in less than 100 years. Although it may seem like a small increase, the 3.2°C increase would bring mass extinctions and render large parts of the Earth uninhabitable, according to climate scientists.
To get back on track towards the 1.5°C target, according to the report, global GHG emissions would need to drop by 7.6% each year for the next decade.
Climate change is already here
Today, we release the next in our environment policy backgrounder series We Must Act for an Environmentally Sustainable Future.
This group of backgrounders highlights some of the interconnected elements of environmental degradation and climate change, the effects of which we are already seeing in Canada and around the world:
- Climate change
- Air pollution
- Ocean plastics pollution
- Loss of biodiversity
- Soil depletion
There is no excuse not to act
One UNEP representative, according to CBC News, said it clearly: “By now, we know all we need to know. The science is pretty clear, and very frightening.”
In light of the overwhelming evidence and the narrowing window we have to act, there is no excuse not to.
The projections may be bleak, and both governments and private actors are not doing enough to combat the climate crisis, but we still have hope. We still have time to prevent climate change from becoming even more catastrophic. We just need the political will of leaders to implement change.
Canadian Parliament reconvenes
As the global climate community gathers in Madrid, Canadians will be watching as Parliament reconvenes in Ottawa this week, led by Trudeau’s new minority government.
Climate change received a lot of attention during the election campaign, with the Liberal Party promising to enact legislation to ensure Canada achieves net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is time to deliver on that commitment. This new Parliament has no time to waste, especially not with policies that simply tinker around the edges. Canada — and the world — need system change.
It is time to be bold
Canada has an opportunity to be a true global leader. NUPGE has called on this new government to undertake bold, transformational climate action and to ensure that the transition to a green economy is just for all workers and communities.
This is doable. The solutions, the scientific evidence, and the support from a majority of Canadians are all in front of us. Now, we must act. Our future depends on it.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE