1.5 degrees global average temperature increase is not a political target

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2020-11-26 13:24 [p.2511]

Mr. Speaker, to my hon. friend from Calgary Centre, I think it is terribly important to disagree as forcefully as possible with the notion that 1.5° is a political target, as 1.5° has emerged from the intense work of thousands of scientists globally in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was commissioned by governments to find out exactly what the difference is, in terms of impacts, between a 1.5° global average temperature increase and a 2° increase. Both of those figures are embedded in the Paris Agreement. They are critical to ensure human civilization survives. That is not hyperbole. That is science. The member for Beaches—East York had it just right. If we do not achieve 45% reductions globally by 2030, we cannot have a prayer of reaching net zero.

I ask my hon. colleague for Calgary Centre to reconsider what he calls science and what he calls politics.

Greg McLean (Calgary Centre)
2020-11-26 13:25 [p.2511]

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the member misunderstood my statement. The number arrived at is 1.5°C, but if we get to 1.49°C, I am saying that is actually better. This is not a line in the sand. That is my point to the member. I hope she takes it in the spirit it was intended. The number 2°C was decided on in the 1992 accord as what we needed to get to, and we needed to make sure in 2015 that we had methods for getting there.

In all good spirits, I am certain the member did not mean to misinterpret my remarks to say it was political or non-scientific. They are numbers that people can attach themselves to. If we get to 2.01°C versus 2°C, or we go to 1.98°C or to 1.49°C versus 1.5°C, I think we are still talking about those numbers. They are not lines in the sand. I appreciate the member correcting me on the misuse of the phrase.