June 27, 2018
(OTTAWA)–Thirty years ago today, Canada established itself as a global climate leader when it hosted a major international scientific conference focused on the threat of climate change.
From June 27-30, 1988, hundreds of scientists from around the world converged on Toronto for an event hosted by the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Government of Canada. The meeting was opened by two prime ministers, Norway’s Gro Harlem Brundtland and Canada’s Brian Mulroney.
The consensus statement concluded “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to global nuclear war.”
“Thirty years later, that experiment continues apace,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Governments, including our own, are willing to acknowledge the threat but are unwilling to take the necessary measures to prevent the worst outcomes. Even worse are those increasingly irrelevant and dangerous parties who would attack even the weak incrementalism of current climate policy.”
Ms. May, who was one of the organizers of the Toronto conference, said that 30 years ago, no one questioned the science of climate change. “Having succeeded in reducing acid rain and securing a global agreement to protect the ozone layer, Canadian leadership was ready to be serious about reducing carbon emissions. No one imagined that – in 2018 – emissions would be so much higher and agreed actions would remain inadequate.”