Today, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an important call to action is being launched. “Action to Face the Urgent Realities of Climate Change” is the result of collaborative work by international leaders, including US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and former president of Chile Ricardo Lagos, and scientists, including Sir David King, Science Advisor former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, business leaders, and experts – from developed and developing countries.
At the invitation of Nobel-Prize-recipient President Mikhail S. Gorbachev Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, is also a signator. The Task Force report summarises in frightening detail the scientifically verifiable realities of climate change and the benefits of action to secure a stable climate and a viable global environment.
“I am proud to endorse this forceful and timely statement, which was prepared by so many credible and knowledgeable Task Force members who clearly recognize the climate dangers we face,” said May. “After witnessing the brute passage of the anti-nature, climate-change-denial Bill C-38, I am relieved to know that reason still prevails in many minds and nations around the globe.”
The statement makes several points of which all Canadians, especially Stephen Harper, should be aware:
- The impacts of climate change are intensifying around the world. Unprecedented temperatures, glacier melts, changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, storms, fires, and widening desertification are degrading the fragile ecosystems of the planet and devastating the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.
- The alarming effects being observed today around the world are the result of the rise of only 0.8°C in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels. Humanity is currently generating CO2 emissions at a rate which could cause an average rise of over 6°C by 2100 (IPCC 2007).
- Climate change is undermining the prospects for progress, stability, and peace in the future and affecting the security and lives of all – rich and poor.
The current global situation can be summarized by three facts:
- Far from declining, global emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate – by 5.9% in 2010 and cumulatively by 49% since 1990 (IEA);
- The risks of destabilizing the climate are increasing. We may be approaching a point of no return – an irreversible destabilization of the climate;
- Multi-lateral efforts to preserve a stable climate and a safe future are proving to be slow and inadequate in relation to the scale and urgency of the challenges.
“I cannot understand why the Harper Conservatives refuse to admit that they and their families face a world-wide emergency which demands serious action on a national and global scale with clear and predictable government policies,” said May. “Contrary to the agenda advanced by Bill C-38, we must build a sustainable, green, low-carbon economy, not an unhealthy, dirty one based on 20th century energy sources.”
To quote President Gorbachev:
“Climate change is only the tip of the systemic crisis we face. It poses existential threats to global stability and security that can shake the foundations of modern civilisation. The biggest challenge of the next decade will therefore be to counter this systemic crisis with comprehensive solutions based on scientific knowledge focused directly on the causes and impacts of climate change while overcoming the pressures of various vested interests and of business-as usual politics. The onus is now on government and business leaders to act.”
May first worked with Gorbachev on the Earth Charter Commission, an independent, international body which, after a decade-long, cross-cultural, global dialogue, launched the Earth Charter in 1997 – a declaration of ethical principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful planet in the 21st century.