Canada’s Prime Minister has his foot on the accelerator to climate hell

Speaker: Ms. May
Time: 28/11/2022 18:40:33
Context: Question

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise to take up a point that I debated in this place when we first had the news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the spring of this year, that we had less time than we thought we had in responding to the urgency of the science. The panel reported that if we did not reduce our emissions rapidly we would lose any chance of holding to 1.5ºC global average temperature increase and that we had to stay below 2ºC.

At that point, I quoted the United Nations Secretary General in my question to the government members. The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, had recently said of the promises made in Paris at COP21 in 2015 versus the delivery on climate action by governments around the world, that some governments are promising to reduce emissions, but emissions are increasing. He said, “Put simply, they are lying.” I asked the hon. government members, when the UN Secretary General was speaking of governments that were doing one thing and saying another, whom did our government think António Guterres was referencing.

Since the time of my question, it has been clear that additional support has come from the current government to the expansion of fossil fuel development. Now we have a very clear difference here and I want to set out the problem because I want to be fair to all concerned. The government of the current Liberal minority, supported by the NDP in their confidence-supply agreement, appears to believe, or at least wants Canadians to believe, that net-zero by 2050 is a target that will ensure we can hold our increase in global average temperature to 1.5ºC or at least as far below 2ºC as possible.

The Liberals put forward this motion and they emphasized it again in the climate accountability act that was passed in the last Parliament, even though it is not true. It is not true that achieving net-zero by 2050 assures us of a livable world. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, as delivered in the sixth assessment report, makes it very clear that the 2050 target of net-zero is irrelevant if emissions continue to rise in the near term. In other words, again from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 2050 target without emissions must peak globally and begin to fall dramatically at the latest before 2025 or any hope of 1.5ºC or 2ºC is gone.

A 2ºC world is unthinkable and yet, we are on track to it. Again quoting António Guterres of the United Nations, when COP27 opened earlier this month in Sharm el-Sheikh, he said that the world is “on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

Therefore, again, what government does the current Canadian government believe the UN is referencing when it says that some governments are promising and doing the opposite, “Put simply, they are lying”; and, to whom does the government think it applies, to say “foot on the accelerator”, when we have a government that is insisting on building pipelines, expanding production and drilling off Newfoundland? Whom is the United Nations referencing?

Mr. Speaker, the exchange I just had with my friend and colleague, the parliamentary secretary, exactly explains our problem.

Canada’s targets are currently out of sync with what the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change says we must do. Spending billions of dollars on good programs is excellent, but while this government gives with one hand, it takes with the other.

So, for climate action, absolutely promote heat pumps, absolutely promote electric cars, but it is a drop in the bucket while bucketfuls of effort continue to go to increase our production of oil and gas, and goes to other countries where burned there puts us on the highway to climate hell.

Our foot in this country is on the accelerator. If I do nothing before I die, then get this Prime Minister to get his heavy foot off the accelerator, and I will die happy.