More Bang for our Buck

This summer I had a thoroughly pleasant morning with an old friend at the Fredericton Saturday farmers’ market. Steve stopped to chat with friends wherever he turned, we bought provisions, and I bought a few gifts for my family. I was intrigued by the number of people wearing yellow t-shirts with the logo you see at the top …

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The most depressing sentence of the year!

The fall report of Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment released today starts with this sentence: “Within the federal government, Environment Canada is the lead department on the issue of climate change. It has primary responsibility for the current federal approach…..” In a recent blog we made some negative comments about Canada’s Federal Minister of the Environment, Leona …

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Climate Change: Key to Canada’s 2015 Federal Election

Our last blog, A Ray of Hope, suggested that the Federal Government might become active on renewable energy after two years of indifference.   What is the basis for this optimism?

First, the Ontario Liberals, who have been very active in promoting renewable energy, now have a comfortable four-year mandate.  The Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn Murray, understands the importance and challenges of renewable energy better than any Federal Minister.

Secondly, Quebec, a Province where a great majority of people have constantly supported mitigation of climate change, now has a Liberal Government that intends to move forward on this neglected area.

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A Ray of Hope

Three years ago For Our Grandchildren (4RG) submitted a petition requesting the Federal Government to cooperate with the Provinces to develop a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014.

In January 2012 we received a response from the Honourable Joe Oliver. He said nothing whatsoever about a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014 or any other year!    See our blogFederal Government short-changes Renewable Energy”.

At the 2007 a meeting of the Council of the Federation, the Provincial Premiers explored the prospects for a national policy.  They did not anticipate the indifference of the Federal Government, which was too busy selling the tar sands internationally to be concerned about renewables.

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“International Coalition of Grandparents Appeal for Climate Sanity”

Statement to national and international political leaders from Concerned Grandparents – united for our grandchildrens’ sustainable future. International Grandparents call for a new moral leadership, giving priority to the safety of all our grandchildren and their right to a sustainable planet. Putting their best interest at the top of national and international political agendas will demonstrate solidarity …

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Fossil Fuels Promotion = Horse Manure

So, Canada’s federal government has finally approved construction of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, and thence by ocean to China.

If we do not go ahead, the Prime Minister warns us, Canada’s economy will be in grave danger. “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country,” he declared a week ago, in a joint statement with the openly climate denying Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.  Read more at “Prime Minister Harper ups the ante!”

But what if none of this is true? What if there were two possible directions that Canada’s future economy could take, not just one? What if there was another future built on clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and zero-carbon buildings, in which Canada could prosper without the tar sands and the unwanted pipelines, and without all the fracking, the oil-polluted waters, the exploding trains, the waves of public opposition and the legal challenges from First Nations?

To Stephen Harper and his supporters, such a future is unthinkable. He would far rather we dwelled on the danger of not supporting fossil fuel expansion than the far graver danger of a world that is four, five or even six degrees warmer due to the carbon released by the fossil fuels. Read more at  “A Half Truth or a Suppressed Truth”.

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The Link between Climate Change and Poverty

The continuing yearly meetings of the Conference of the Parties will re-convene this fall in Lima, Peru.  This Conference must show progress towards effective targets for GHG reduction and support for the Green Climate Fund.

This Fund is intended to assist those countries who do not have the resources or technological skills to institute measures to combat global warming.  4RG has consistently called for this assistance, as an aspect of a moral responsibility to less fortunate peoples. As we said in a previous blog:

The reasons for and the need for a Green Climate Fund should never be in doubt.   Pope Benedict and other world religious leaders have been clear on the moral justification for such a fund. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in a shared a video of support, said, “It’s no time for despair – but it’s certainly no time for complacency either. The moral crisis is as real as ever. And we need as never before real moral leadership from the international community. We need to know that governments will fulfill the pledges that have been given by the richer countries, to provide $100bn by 2020.”

There are other ways to assist developing countries in this combat.  Climate Action Network (CAN) follows the deliberations of a UN-sponsored NGO, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Solutions (OWG), which is currently working on the formulation of goals. CAN has pointed out that the link between climate change and poverty must be addressed in recommendations from this NGO.

Several countries are opposed to including climate change issues in these recommendations.  We can’t identify this countries but we have our suspicions.

So we have joined forces with many other organizations, both in Canada and abroad, to insist on the identification of climate change as a big factor in endemic poverty. Extracts from the submission letter to Co-chairs and members of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustained Development Goals (SDGs) follow

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