Canada must present stronger target at next climate negotiation: Greens

TORONTO– The release today of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the chances of reaching the 1.5 degree C Paris target – and the catastrophic risks of missing it – have huge implications for Canada.

“While Conservative politicians pursue electoral advantage by protesting even the modest steps proposed by the Trudeau Liberals, the world’s scientists are warning that Canada’s current plans are far too weak to meet our share of the global climate challenge,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

“The IPCC report is telling world leaders that the planet – our economies – must be carbon neutral by 2050, and that by 2030 we must have slashed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 percent. Canada’s target of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 is the same one left behind by former Prime Minister Harper, and the Liberals are on track to miss it.  We must redouble efforts and develop the plan necessary to reach 45 percent by 2030.”

Notable in the report is the scientific consensus that 2 degrees is not a target, but a disaster.

The half-degree difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is critical to preserve the lives of millions. The impact for Canada – particularly on coastal regions and the Arctic – should be a driver for a re-think of Canada’s current approach.

Forest fires and extreme drought will also worsen. Those close to the negotiations confirm the report was watered down by interventions from the US and Saudi Arabia to remove reference to climate-refugees as a destabilizing force as well as the risks of failure leading to tipping points toward irreversible runaway global warming.

“I remain grateful to our government and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna for making Canada the first industrialized country to support 1.5 degrees as the Paris goal in December 2015,” said Ms. May. “As this report makes clear, it was even more critical than anyone knew at the time that 1.5 degrees be the goal. But this report also makes clear our actions have not met our words.  When COP24 opens in December 2018, Canada must be part of a global movement to push our targets up and massively restructure our economies to move off fossil fuels.”