Good Sunday Morning! and to those who celebrate – Happy Palm Sunday!
It has been a very busy week. First, the good news. By mid-week I made a sudden recovery. It was surprising in that it felt as though I had flipped a switch and somehow my symptoms were gone. I continued to isolate until the health advice was that I was no longer contagious. Sharing a warning, I was also told that for the next two weeks I could be re-infected – so still wearing my mask. I have an N95 mask and wear a cloth mask over. Hoping to stay well!
The week started with the much-anticipated release of Working Group 3’s report, completing the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
If you are relatively recent to the world of IPCC reporting, you might think its reports are frequent. We had Working Group 1 in July 2021, Working Group 2 February 27, 2022, and Working Group 3 April 4th. But these three working groups form part of the Sixth Assessment Report. These “assessments” are issued roughly every six to seven years. The Sixth Assessment is by far the most certain of its warnings and the most desperate. Given the timing, it is essentially, our last warning while we still have time to act.
The urgency of IPCC’s new warning could not be clearer. If we have any hope of holding to 1.5 degrees C or even staying below 2 degrees at all – global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) must hit its all time high – called “peaking” – no later than 2025. From there, emissions must drop quite rapidly to roughly half of the 2010 levels by 2030. Net Zero by 2050 is wholly irrelevant if we miss peaking by 2025 and dropping in half by 2030.
U.N Secretary General Antonio Guterres pulled no punches: “We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5°C limit agreed in Paris. Some government and business leaders are saying one thing, but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic. This is a climate emergency.
“Climate scientists warn that we are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts. But, high‑emitting governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye, they are adding fuel to the flames.
“They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper, renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security and greater price stability.”
As if to prove his point, less than two days after the IPCC warnings, Canada doubled down on expanding fossil fuels, approving the Bay du Nord development 500 km off the east coast of Newfoundland. Our existing climate plan, as reported last week, already committed to expanding oil and gas production by 21% by 2030. Bay du Nord will produce up to one billion barrels of oil.
The next day the federal budget was released. In terms of climate, like the Emissions Reduction Plan, it made it clear our climate target of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, was really 40%. And even then, we are counting on wiggle room and magical technologies that do not exist. The budget included an as-yet-unspecified amount for transferring ownership of the TMX pipeline to some un-named Indigenous business interests. Continuing to build fossil fuel infrastructure despite the IPCC warnings is outrageous. It is the most cynical of strategies.
Meanwhile, the impact of the Russian illegal war on Ukraine has propelled Europe to move faster toward renewables. The International Energy Agency 10-point plan calls for moderate and cost-free changes to reduce demand by 2.7 million barrels/day. Things like reducing speed limits by 10 km/hour and making public transit free. This week a new push in Europe could reduce reliance on fossil fuels. A new report, “Switch off Putin” by leading European energy experts calls to replace all Russian fossil fuels with a bold plan- ending all domestic flights within the European Union and making all public transit free.
The report’s authors said: “We conclude it is possible to eliminate Russian gas imports starting immediately in Europe. This will require an unprecedented level of European solidarity, a combination of a Marshall plan and a Berlin airlift to redistribute energy around the continent as needed and support the transition.”
It is a compelling question for North Americans – what would we do to help Ukraine – while at the same time helping to save ourselves from the looming climate catastrophe? Could we manage to drive more slowly, take free public transit, make our urban areas more livable?
It seems such a small set of steps, but it could make a world of difference.
Now is the time to start imagining a world where ending Russian oil ends all oil – and faster. We can make these choices- because failing to do so means the end of choice.
I hope the coming week of community meetings will give a lot of constituents a chance to reconnect. Details for meetings below!
Stay well and stay safe!
Check out the list of upcoming SGI Community meetings:
And a Green Party meeting with Interim Leader, Dr. Amita Kuttner, and the GPC Reconnection Tour on Vancouver Island in Sidney. April 19, 6:30 to 9 pm at Shoal Centre Auditorium A.
Hope to see you soon!
Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens