The world’s leading authority on climate change, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has told the world the climate is dangerously close to a tipping point that would lead to climate chaos and that human activities – primarily burning fossil fuels and deforestation – are to blame.
With deadly and record-breaking forest fires, heat waves, floods and droughts occurring around the world and here at home, too many of us are experiencing the devastating effects of increasingly extreme weather. This report’s “code red for humanity” is reaching an already weary audience.
Fortunately, the IPCC report also shows that changing course is still within our power. The severity of climate change impacts is not a matter of chance. They will be determined by the choices we make now – all of us, every community, every country, every sector.
Leading up to the next major UN climate conference (COP26 in Glasgow in November), world leaders are facing intense pressure to increase their climate action ambition. Canada’s current commitment is to reduce carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. While this is an improvement, Canada’s targets are still critically insufficient and among the least ambitious compared to other developed countries. We need stronger targets, backed by stringent laws and regulations that quickly eliminate fossil fuel use and shift us to safer and cleaner energy sources.
Being ambitious on climate also means prioritizing solutions that are inclusive and justice-focused. Canada has committed to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and this climate crisis will test what that commitment really means. We must ensure that our transition to a low-carbon economy creates good jobs, reduces social inequities and is based on justice for workers, Indigenous Peoples and communities.
Action is the antidote to despair.
How should we as individuals respond to a climate “code red”? Here are seven suggestions for you to consider.
There is so much work ahead, and as always, we must take it on together. Already, your demonstration of concern and care is an important step in that direction.