Letter: Extreme response is needed to counteract climate change

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations scientific body, states that globally, we have about 11 years to hold global temperature increases to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.

Otherwise, we risk locking in climate impacts so catastrophic that our world would be unrecognizable: famine, floods, millions of deaths, mass movements of refugees, civil and international wars erupting when global warming cuts into supplies of food and fresh water.

We have already reached +1ºC of global warming. Under current policies we’re heading for warming of 3.1 – 3.7ºC.

The good news in the report is that the world has the scientific understanding, the technological capacity, and the financial means to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Related: UN report on global warning contains life-or-death warning

Also, there are huge potential benefits from switching to a clean energy economy globally: $26 trillion USD in economic benefits between now and 2030 (compared to business as usual); 65 million jobs; also, avoiding 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution.

An energy revolution is possible. To help finance it, Canada and other nations should take action to recoup billions of dollars of revenue lost annually to tax havens. Every year, up to $600 billion USD of government tax revenue globally is lost through tax avoidance. That lost revenue could power half the world with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Canadian government policy is to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This target is far too weak. It should be increased by almost 50 percent.

Canadians need leaders that are listening to the science in the IPCC Report and stepping up to take action.

This means adopting targets that are consistent with the IPCC Report: Cut greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. At stake is our children’s future.

Anne Morris


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