MAY 1, 2013 – “For the first time in 3 million years , the average daily concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, is about to exceed 400 parts per million (PPM), a strong indication that the Canada and other nations must quickly implement policies to reduce greenhouse gases,” Citizens Climate Lobby said today.
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has monitored and tracked the steady increase of CO2 concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa. Known as the Keeling Curve – named after scientist Charles David Keeling, who started monitoring CO2 in 1958 – these measurements show a steady increase of CO2 that parallels the use of fossil fuels. Prior to the Industrial Age, CO2 concentration fluctuated between 180 and 300 PPM.
In the past century, average global temperature has increased 0.8 degrees Celsius. Based on current rates of CO2 emissions, a World Bank report estimates the average global temperature could increase 4 degrees Celsius (about 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. Such warming will cause sea-level rise, more severe droughts and greater volatility in weather patterns, which in turn will result in displaced populations, food shortages, and greater damage from storms.
“This is one milestone no one should be happy about reaching,” said Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of Citizens Climate Lobby.
Cathy Orlando, Canada’s National Manager of Citizens Climate Lobby added, “Fortunately we have technological solutions and economic plans available to avoid tragic consequences.”
In April 2013 the Conference Board of Canada released a report that outlined four plausible scenarios for energy in Canada taking into consideration the economic and social impacts of climate change. They suggested, “Canada’s priority in the short-term should be to put a significant price on carbon.”
In order to reduce Canadian emissions and encourage other nations to do the same, Citizens Climate Lobby has recommended passage of a steadily-increasing, revenue-neutral carbon tax that returns proceeds to the Canadian people.
In the USA, this proposal is supported by a number of conservatives, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, as a way to employ the power of the free market to shift away from the use of fossil fuels. Citizens Climate Lobby also recommends coupling the carbon tax with border adjustment tariffs on imports from nations that lack equivalent carbon pricing. This would provide the incentive for other nations to adopt their own carbon taxation.
“We have a solution that should have multi-partisan support. It’s time for Parliament to act. Nero is fiddling while Rome burns,” concluded Orlando.