If we lose either polar ice sheet, it would contribute eight metres to sea level rise

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, as I was listening to the debate here today, a bulletin just came through on my computer about a new, disturbing report that the west Antarctic ice sheet is melting three times faster than it was the last time it was checked.

When sea ice melts, it does not affect the sea level. It can affect currents, such as the Gulf Stream, but because it is ice floating on water, it does not cause sea level rise. However, ice sheets, such as the Greenland ice sheet and the west Antarctic ice sheet, sit on land. This is global research in which the University of Toronto collaborated, and it states that if we lose either one of those, it would contribute eight metres to sea level rise. That is eight metres of sea level rise from a single event, if we lose the west Antarctic ice sheet or the Greenland ice sheet.

The hon. member detailed a number of measures we have taken so far. They are not sufficient to meet the Paris target. We are not aiming at the right target. This kind of information requires the kind of full-court press that says the government will do everything it can to preserve every coastal city. I would ask for the member’s response to that.

Jean-Claude Poissant – Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Agri-food

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Almost every carbon pricing system in the world includes a mechanism for protecting competitiveness and heavy industry. That includes the systems in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, California, the European Union, and China. We are generating clean economic growth in Canada while protecting competitiveness.

Jurisdictions representing nearly half the global economy are putting a price on carbon, but some companies in Canada compete with other companies that are not subject to a carbon tax. We will continue to protect our environment. As we have been saying from the start, economic development and the environment go hand in hand.