Can you imagine a future where the Arctic has warmed by 14 C? The east and west coasts have warmed by 4 C? Northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have warmed by 6 C?
This could be the future our children and grandchildren will live with at the end of this century if we do not seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions soon and get to a zero-carbon economy. (For a greater exploration of the data presented in this letter, please consult Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars.)
In terms of our per capita energy consumption, Canada’s usage of low-carbon energy sits at 25.7 per cent, which is higher than the world average of 18.3 per cent. For Sweden, 68 per cent of per capita energy consumption is low-carbon — we can do better than 25 per cent!
Also, in terms of per capita average energy consumption, Canada is much higher than the developed world. With respect to average emissions produced per capita, Canadians are twice the average of Europeans. In other words, we Canadians contribute to greenhouse gas levels at a greater proportion per capita than the rest of the developed world.
It is time to get serious about moving to a zero-carbon economy. B.C. and Québec have put a price on carbon, and Ontario will very soon; and contrary to the predictions of the fossil-fuel economists, B.C.’s emissions have decreased while the economy has prospered more than any other province.
Putting a price on carbon will NOT kill the economy, as Prime Minister Harper asserts. And, for your information, clean technology jobs numbered 23,700 versus the tar sands jobs numbering 22,340.
We need national standards. Canada committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, but that target, experts say, is not achievable. Canada also signed on to a goal of holding global warming to less than 2 C, but the federal government does not have a strategy for achieving this. We need a national strategy with respect to a price on carbon. We need the elimination of subsidies to fossil fuel companies and increase of subsidies to alternate energy initiatives and research.
The Clean Energy Sector needs a level playing field so that it can grow even more in our move to a zero-carbon future.
Our provinces? Premiers are meeting in Quebec City on April 14th to talk climate. Mr. Harper has refused to create meaningful climate justice strategies. It is therefore incumbent upon our premiers to set the direction for pricing carbon and for implementing a carbon fee and dividend program together.
Send your provincial premier a strong message to act on behalf of our children and children’s children.