Just the other day a major report found its way on to the Natural Resources Canada website with no fanfare. The topic? Climate change in Canada.
Natural Resources Canada does some very important work and this is a good example. After all a key role of Canada’s bureaucracy is to undertake non-partisan, scientifically driven research to inform good policy that government then proposes and eventually turns into law. Unfortunately, more often than not when it comes to climate and the environment, the federal government hasn’t been acting on this sound information.
The new report, “Canada in a changing climate: sector perspectives on impacts and adaptation,” paints a stark picture of the impacts of climate change on Canada in terms of the environment, health, and the economy. It presents clear data and is explicit that Canada must do more to reduce our emissions and do our part to limit dangerous climate change.
Meanwhile, global warming pollution from our largest and fastest growing source of global warming emissions –the tar sands – continues to soar. Federal regulations on this sector are a text book example of the government’s failure to introduce science-based regulations (or any regulations for that matter) to limit emissions from the tar sands despite years of promises to do so. Environment Canada is clear that meeting our international 2020 climate promise would almost take a miracle at this point, all because emissions from the tar sands keep growing.
Here are a couple of graphs from the report. The bottom line is that the risks of climate change are growing. Extreme weather is hitting harder and closer to home and the costs of climate impacts in Canada are growing upwards quickly.
The good news is that we have the solutions at our finger tips. We can use the same skills now being used in the tar sands to build cleaner energy infrastructure with jobs closer to home; we can build better, faster, and cleaner transportation; we can move and sell clean electricity instead of last century’s fossil fuel; and we can tap into Canada’s vast potential as a leader in clean technology innovation.
We can have clean air and water, a safe climate, and a prosperous economy. We can make that happen by saying in with the new and out with the old.
Just yesterday, prominent scientists from across North America published a piece in the prestigious journal Nature calling for a moratorium on tar sands development. These graphs and this report make it clear why. We can’t afford more reckless tar sands expansion. Instead, let’s clean up our act and build the Canada that we want and our children deserve.
Take action here!
For the truth about the tar sands, visit: www.tarsandsrealitycheck.ca