MEDIA RELEASE: Our planet is about to get hotter – What to do?

Our planet is about to get hotter – What to do?

MEDIA CONTACT: Cathy Orlando, , 705-929-4043

Sudbury ON:  “Canada has spent more in the last five or six years cleaning up after wildfires and floods due to climate change than was spent in the entire previous history of the program stretching back to 1970,” said the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Canada’s Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on August 13, 2018.

The mounting climate damage in Canada is disconcerting especially when one considers that although the last four years have been hottest years on record, and 2018 is on pace to be in the top  four hottest years on record, new research shows that the Earth’s natural cycles were actually in a global warming “hiatus” during this time and that is about to end.

In an August 2018 Nature paper, it was reported that natural variabilities will make an already warming planet even hotter from 2018 through to 2022.

The good news is the  2015 Paris climate pledges of no more than 2C increase in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels are achievable but there is work to be done.

In December 2017, it was reported in Nature that with business-as-usual the planet is dangerously on track for a 4C rise in temperature. In a July 2018 paper in Earth’s Future it was determined that at 4C of global warming, the losses in income to the global economy by 2100 would be over US$23 trillion per year. This would be far more devastating than the Great Depression in 1929 because it would never end.

How many people know that humanity is not yet reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions? The International Energy Agency reports that global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 1.4% in 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes. As well, how many Canadians know that our greenhouse gas emissions targets are the woefully inadequate targets of the previous government? These targets are consistent with Canada not doing our fair share to limit global warming. If all countries had the same pledge the world would be 3-4C warmer than above pre-industrial levels.

From August 23-25, 2018, Conservatives from coast to coast to coast will descend on Halifax, Nova Scotia to set the course to 2019. And what are their plans for the climate? They have yet to reveal to the details. Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants to cancel cap and trade and has yet to do so officially. Premier Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Moe are challenging the federal government on carbon pricing. And Conservative Leader Andrew Andrew Scheer is against carbon pricing.

Scheer, Ford, and Moe should rethink their stance on carbon pricing. Most Canadians oppose the provinces taking Ottawa to court over carbon taxes and almost all economists believe that putting a price on carbon pollution is the most economically efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without harming the economy.

Climate facts don’t convince some politicians but money and jobs do though and probably explains why 45 countries and 20% of the world’s economy is now under a carbon price (data from the World Bank Carbon Pricing Dashboard).

In an August 18, 2018 article in The Economist regarding carbon pricing they reported that “taxes raise around twice as much revenue as today’s cap-and-trade schemes, and are roughly 50% better at cutting emissions. A levy of $70 on each tonne of CO2 by 2030 would typically raise between 1% and 2.5% of GDP in the G20 club of big economies. It would also allow most to come close to, or even exceed, their pledges under the Paris climate agreement of 2015.”

Forbes magazine in early August reported that “by backsliding on climate, Ontario may have just cost businesses billions, added millions in consumer costs, eschewed thousands of jobs and muddied its investment outlook.” By replacing cap and trade with a carbon tax (slowly and not abruptly), Ontario could instead become world leaders in the multi-trillion dollar clean energy economy globally.

What about the USA some may ask? For the first time in almost a decade, a Republican representative, Congressman Carlos Curbello, has introduced a carbon pricing bill (H.R. 6463 ). As well, a recent Yale poll found that the majority of Americans favour a revenue neutral carbon tax.

“On August 13, the Honourable Ralph Goodale said the challenge for government is having the political will to do something about it over the medium and long terms,” says Cathy Orlando, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada’s National Director. “I invite people to attend Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada’s Fifth Annual Conference and Lobbying Days from October 13-16, 2018 in Ottawa. You will be surrounded by the best volunteers on the planet. We plan to cross the political divide and build bridges as we have been doing since September 2010 in Canada. Together, we can create the political will for a liveable world.”