Progress on several global climate action agreements held hostage by handful of entrenched nations
MADRID – World leaders at the UN Climate Summit in Madrid, which failed to deliver concrete actions to tackle the climate crisis, are increasingly out of step with both the scientific urgency for climate action and the voices of future generations who will face the consequences of the choices we make today.
“We are at a pivotal moment in time,” David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. “We have seen our youth leaders rally millions of people in the streets calling for climate action, including some of the largest political demonstrations in Canada’s history. Hundreds of communities across Canada have declared a climate emergency. Throughout Canada, we are already feeling the impacts of climate change, including intensified, dangerous extreme weather events.”
Canada is experiencing more frequent and severe extreme weather episodes, such as forest fires in B.C. and Alberta, flooding in Quebec and Ontario, heat waves in Quebec, melting ice and permafrost in the north and extreme weather events throughout Atlantic Canada.
“We are seeing the impacts of the climate emergency, but we are not seeing the global political leadership needed to tackle this crisis in a meaningful way,” Bruce said. “World leaders here at COP25 simply proved they are falling further behind citizens, who are calling for urgent action to address this crisis.”
Overall, Canada played a constructive role at the talks, but it could not help raise the level of ambition in the final agreement. Most of the expected outcomes did not materialize and were postponed for further negotiations next year. This included the establishment of carbon markets and the incorporation of human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples in several key rules such as Article 6 (the section of the Paris Agreement that deals with emissions trading).
“We can’t make progress on climate solutions while neglecting human and Indigenous rights. We can and must have both,” Bruce said.
In a year that saw several major reports underscore the severity of the climate emergency, the results achieved at COP25 are not in line with the best available science, which shows that deep transformation to clean energy and the restoration of our forests is needed now to keep heat-trapping emissions to a safe level of below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the goal outlined in the Paris Agreement.
The UNEP emissions gap report shows that countries are planning to extract and burn fossil fuels over the next decade at more than double the level consistent with keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to the IPCC, we must cut global carbon emissions by half over the next 10 years to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Disappointingly, COP25 failed to deliver substantial progress. It is clear we are making big strides in our homes, in our communities, and by making climate action the top priority in Canada’s recent federal election, but we are failing globally,” Bruce said. “Canadians know we must move ahead to safeguard our homes and our children’s futures. Governments – national and provincial – that don’t act decisively in the coming year will deprive younger generations of their right to a safe future.”
Canada’s federal government must demonstrate further action and accountability by enacting these solutions over the coming months:
- Table Canada’s updated climate plan to achieve net zero-emissions by 2050
- Legislate carbon emission reduction targets every five years, including stronger 2030 climate targets, as Canada committed in Madrid
- Uphold Indigenous rights and title in Canada
- Develop a robust standard for cleaner fuels
- Hold the line on cutting methane pollution from oil and gas
- Invest in zero-emission electric cars and trucks and require automakers to increase supply
- Continue investments in public transit and accelerate deployment of electric buses
- Transition to a clean power future by accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy
- Ensure fairness across Canada on pricing carbon pollution from heavy emitters
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Brendan Glauser, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-356-8829
Ian Bruce, email@example.com, +1-604-306-5095 (in Madrid, Spain)