Canada’s Climate Change Policy: the Reality

 Excerpts from Remarks by Stephen Lewis at the Policy Convention of the New Democratic Party of Canada (April 9th 2016)

. . .  around global warming, there’s a rallying cry for the Party because the position of the Prime Minister is no position at all.

At the Federal level, there is a serious vacuum of content and leadership; there is instead a superfluity of twaddle and rhetoric. There are some provinces wrestling with the response to global warming, a variety of policies that may or may not work, but at least it shows a twitch of concern on the part of provincial jurisdictions, compared to a Federal government that presents the stance of a limp bystander.

Oh yes, the Prime Minister went to Paris, and shared in the celebratory jamboree. But the bitter truth about Paris that is so hard to acknowledge, given the public relations frenzy, is that it was a failure. Everything that was agreed on is voluntary; every target is voluntary; every mode of reporting is voluntary: there’s not a single mandatory requirement except to report every five years.

We don’t have five years.

When you add up all the pledges, all the targets submitted by every country at Paris, the world faces a terrifying temperature rise way above the 2 degrees centigrade that is contained in the Paris Declaration and is supposed to keep the planet from self-immolation, let alone the 1.5 degrees centigrade that is the aspirational hope.

And where Canada is concerned, our targets still reflect the bogus figures set by the Neanderthals who stalked the political landscape for the last ten years.

I’m kept awake at night thinking of what our grandchildren will face.

In 1988 I chaired the first major international conference on climate change. . . . a colleague and I were asked to draft a Declaration to reflect the sense of the proceedings.  This was our opening paragraph:

“Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally-pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war. The earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate … these changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.”

I believe the world is headed for an apocalyptic event between 2030 and 2050 that is absolutely irreversible. It will be one of those hallucinatory climatic convulsions. The damage we’ve done to the planet, and our refusal to confront that damage, constitutes nothing less than a monumental crime against humanity.

And that’s why, it seems to me, the Leap Manifesto is a document worthy of discussion.

(Stephen Lewis is a former leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party and an Honourary Member of the Steering Committee of For Our Grandchildren [4RG].  Go to this video for his further commentary why he supports us.)

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