Warming Atlantic Linked To Hurricane Igor Devastation in Newfoundland

Much of the east coast of Newfoundland was devastated by Hurricane Igor on Tuesday. Roads have been washed out, electricity is gone, communities have been cut off from help, and one man has been washed out to sea. By now, at least 30 communities have declared a state of emergency.

The news coverage that I heard yesterday had locals emphasizing the unusual strength of Igor. The town clerk from Bonavista interviewed on As It Happens on CBC radio said he’d never seen winds that strong or rainfall that heavy in his lifetime – and Bonavista is on a windy, wet peninsula! Sam Synard, the Mayor of Marystown was quoted in The Star as saying:

We’ve never seen such a violent storm before.” Synard reported that more than 200 millimetres of rain was dumped in 20 hours, “and very few, if any communities in the country, could deal with that amount of rainfall.”

My heart goes out to Newfoundlanders – “The Rock” is one of my favourite places on earth. The header photo on my blog was taken during a visit last September.  I wish the good people of Newfoundland Godspeed in their recovery from this devastation.

Unfortunately, the warming of the atmosphere and the resulting warming of the ocean which has happened as a result of our unbridled burning of fossil fuels in the last century is making severe weather events like this more and more frequent. The economic as well as the human toll will only increase (the Newfoundland government is predicting it will take at least $100 million to repair the damage from this storm). Recent research has shown that we are experiencing more storms with higher wind speeds, and these storms are more destructive, last longer and make landfall more frequently than in the past. This is our new reality, in Canada and around the globe, as the Arctic ice and the permafrost melt, and the oceans get warmer.  We are starting to reap the destruction that we have sown, and it’s not going to be pleasant.

It’s time for all of us to demand that our governments, particularly at the federal level, start addressing this issue in more ways that just preserving Canada’s claim to the Arctic so we can dig up more oil and gas! For ways to do this, check out Cheryl McNamara’s recent post on Bill C311 – the Climate Accountability Act, or go to my “Action not Apathy” page.

More links:

National Geographic: Is Global Warming Making Hurricanes Worse?

Union of Concerned Scientists: Hurricanes and Climate Change

Popular Science: Hurricane, Climate Change Link Explained

Real Climate: Hurricanes and Climate Change – Is There A Connection?

Canada, Russia expected to win Arctic claims at UN

The following photos were taken around Marystown, on the Burin Peninsula, by Andrew Lundrigan, and posted on the FB page “Hurricane Igor Hits Marystown”

American Military On Climate Change: If We Wait for 100% Certainty, Something Bad Is Going To Happen

Last week, a group of academic and military experts representing both the U.S. and Britain gathered at a symposium at the Museum of Natural History. The symposium, Climate Change And Global Security, examined the reasons why any discussion about global warming should include a broader look at the implications for long-term global security. The moderator, Andrew Nagorski of the EastWest Institute, stated:

“What often does not come across in the discussions of climate change…is that the militaries of the U.S., the U.K., and other countries have for a long time operated on the assumption that climate change is something that you have to deal with. Whatever the causes, the consequences [of climate change], you have to factor it into your planning.”

Dennis V. McGinn, retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy and member of the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board, does a good job of summing up how climate change poses a national security threat, and how it could destabilize societies around the world:

“From a military and national security expertise perspective we question ourselves, what are we doing taking about climate science, we’re collectively 400 years of time in uniform at peace and at war. Our chairman of the military advisory board General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the Army put it best. He said we never have 100 % certainty. If you wait for 100% certainty on the battlefield, something bad is going to happen. We never have it. So, from that conclusion about how we should approach this from a risk management proposition, what can we do to prevent, to mitigate what we can’t prevent and to adapt what we can neither prevent or mitigate, the effects of climate change. That is the challenge for us across the globe. Certainly, as a global leader that the US is we bear a special responsibility for rising to meet that challenge and to turn it into the opportunity that can make us more secure nationally and internationally and more prosperous in the future.”


Here is another video of the retired Vice Admiral speaking at a “Re-energize America” town hall meeting on the impact of America’s oil dependence on the national and economic security of the country.


If the British, U.S., and other militaries are taking the threat of climate change seriously, isn’t it time our politicians did, too?

More links:

In Canada, remind our politicians to support Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act

To listen to the podcast of “Climate Change and Global Security” click here

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security

Navigating Climate Change: An Agenda for U.S.-Chinese Cooperation , a report by the EastWest Institute

More Evidence of Canada’s Embarrassing Lack of Leadership on Climate Change

From The Pembina Institute, this commentary on new figures released (very quietly) by the Canadian government on this country’s rising greenhouse gas emissions:

Yesterday afternoon, Environment Canada very quietly posted on its website the annual Climate Change Plan r equired by the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. This is an important document because it’s the only place where the government provides a full list of its measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and estimates the emission reductions from each measure.

The plan reveals the following:

The government now expects Canada’s emissions to continue rising every year from 2009 to 2012, even with federal measures in place (p. 34). Six years after taking office, the government will still not have achieved absolute reductions in Canada’s emissions, despite having proclaimed in 2007 that it would be “Turning the Corner” and getting emissions to decline “as early as 2010 and no later than 2012.”

Click here to read the full article.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Simpson blasted the Harper government’s performance on climate change in the Globe and Mail today, calling Canada a “climate change miscreant”:

Try as it might, the government could not put lipstick on a pig. The numbers were there, stark and depressing, in an annual report required by all signatories to the original Kyoto Protocol. The bottom line: The world is right to consider Canada a climate-change miscreant.

On Canadian soil, two world leaders have recently urged Canada to do more. Mexican President Felipe Calderon and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon both made that pitch, implicitly criticizing Canada’s bad record. Their critiques are rooted in recent history, stretching back to the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. The critiques remain valid today, which is why Canada has no credibility whatsoever internationally on the climate-change file.

According to the government’s own numbers, actual emissions will grow in absolute terms in every year from 2009 to 2012…Click here to read the full story.

Our country is capable of so much more than we are doing right now.  Canada, under Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, led on addressing the depletion of the ozone layer and stopping acid rain.  There is no reason a Conservative government should oppose “conserving” essential things like our environment – unless they are so deeply in the pocket of the oil patch that they can’t see the light of day, or a brighter greener future for Canadians.

Bill C311 continues its journey through the senate, with the partisan debate indicating that the Conservatives, who outnumber the other senators, could scuttle the will of the elected House of Commons.  Please take the time to call or email Conservative senators today, to let them know, for the sake of the planet and our children, Bill C311 needs to pass.  For contact info and sample letters, go to the “How to Contact Senators re: Bill C311” page.

Meanwhile, if you are feeling in the mood for some dark humour, check out this recent posting from “The Onion” on a new eco-friendly cigarette that helps climate change by “killing off the number one threat to Mother Earth”.  Click here to see the article.

Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, Needs Support From Canadians

Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, was moved by Senator Grant Mitchell of Alberta to its second reading in the Senate yesterday, Canada’s Clean Air Day. Unfortunately it seems that the debate in the senate has been quite partisan, and the Conservative senators, who outnumber the Liberals, may vote against it in a block.  Senator Marjorie LeBreton, in a letter to a concerned Canadian, wrote:

“There is no doubt that anthropogenic Climate Change is an important matter for all Canadians. This is why I am very proud to say that our Government has already created effective and efficient measure to deal with Climate Change….Therefore, our Government is not supportive of this bill, and we will continue to move forward in the right direction in conjunction with President Obama and the United States.”

The rest of the world has recognized that Canada is a laggard, not a leader, in addressing climate change.  International leaders, during visits to this country, have recently questioned Canada’s commitment to this issue, including EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Please take the time to contact our senators, particularly the Conservative ones, and tell them its time to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for our children and grandchildren, as well as the planet.  To find out how to do this, go to the “How To Contact Senators re: Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act” in the side column. Emailing is good, fax is better, phoning is even better (or do all three!).

To read the debate in the Senate yesterday, click here.

For information on what the international community thinks of the current government’s policy on climate change, check out these links:

“Mexico’s President Pushes Ottawa to Act on Climate Change”. Globe & Mail

UN Chief Presses Harper On Climate Change” CBC.ca

“EU head urges Canada to Act on Climate Change“. CBC.ca

Time for Canada to Shift Paradigms And Get With Green Economy

Senator Grant Mitchell is the Liberal Senator who is sponsoring Bill C311, Climate Accountability Act, as it makes its way through the Senate.  If this bill, which has already passed 3 votes in the House of Commons, is made into law, Canada could start to lead the world out of the mess our reckless burning of fossil fuels has gotten us into.  As Senator Mitchell points out in this article, first published in the Hill Times, addressing climate change now doesn’t have to lead to economic hardship.  It’s NOT addressing our greenhouse gas emissions that will decimate our economy, as we will struggle to deal with the natural disasters and food shortages brought about by a global weather weirding.

Here’s what Mr. Mitchell has to say about the need for Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act:

One unfortunate prevailing idea held by this government is that dealing with climate change needs to entail significant economic hardship. This view ignores the human and economic costs from unmitigated climate change. Many expert economists and studies also indicate that climate change action will be much more affordable than we now think, especially if we start today. There are also a host of other issues, like energy security and economic volatility from oil prices that can be eased by rethinking our carbon and energy consumption. The climate change issue is not a problem of facts; it is the failure to imagine what is possible and what the stakes are.

While we see next to no action at the federal level, the Globe 2010 conference which Senators from the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources recently attended is a microcosm of what is happening globally in the green economy. The resounding reason I heard there for immediate climate change action can be summed up with the line from Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

The good news is that significant business players are becoming involved in the green economy. Far from being a gathering of only environmental activists, the major banks, insurance companies and CEO’s of oil and other commodity companies were there. They are working with carbon markets, developing feed-in tariffs for renewable energies, investing in carbon capture and storage and building a solar energy fed city in the desert. It is exciting to feel the energy these people have. And, it was clear at the conference that these players accept climate change science and believe that we must begin dealing with its implications quickly.

Huge economic opportunities will emerge as we restructure our economy to meet the climate change challenges and green industries become mainstream.  It was repeated frequently at the conference that clean tech is the largest venture capital sector worldwide. CIBC recently appointed a renewable energy vice-chair in its wholesale banking division. But, more needs to be done and that involves shifting our paradigm. The ‘green’ economy is just the economy, and ‘green’ jobs are jobs. Period. This is the way Canada’s major trading partners and competitors are thinking and we are losing ground by hoping slight, incremental changes will be sufficient.

In Vancouver, which hosted the Globe conference, I was struck by the work that is being done regardless of the federal leadership vacuum on climate change. The city and the province of British Columbia, are proof positive that tackling carbon emissions and making green investments can stimulate the economy. Vancouver has a goal of being the greenest city in the world. It is working hard to build a clean tech hub, similar to the IT hub that exists in Silicon Valley, and it is attracting jobs and investments to its fast growing economy. For the Winter Olympics, Vancouver built the greenest neighbourhood in North America to serve as its Olympic Village. The city also has a strong provincial partner. BC has had foresight to price carbon and will be implementing a cap-and-trade system. BC Hydro is developing its smart grid and is rolling out smart meters to every customer. The province will make its public sector carbon neutral by the end of this year and has set up a crown corporation, the Pacific Carbon Trust, to generate the one million carbon offsets that will be required. This will create new opportunities for BC businesses and farmers.

The governments of Vancouver and BC have implemented proactive policy, through a carbon price, and it is driving innovation and economic growth. A typical criticism of prospective government leadership in this area is that we need to ‘let the markets work’. This is absolutely true. But, our markets are currently distorted because carbon emissions are essentially free despite the significant costs of its negative externalities. We need governments to price carbon, for instance, through cap-and-trade, or alternately develop strong incentives for low carbon activities like the feed-in tariff program in Ontario. This will develop the economies of scale needed to commercialize new technology and massively deploy it. This, in turn, brings down prices for consumers. We seem to forget that government has intervened like this before, most notably in the Oil Sands where the cost of oil extraction would not have been economic without significant government investment.

The Conservative government says we need to wait for US cap-and-trade legislation to take action here. But, a cap-and-trade system may not be achieved in the US for several years and Canada cannot afford to miss several formative years of green economic development. Even without cap-and-trade the US is spending significant amounts on clean energy and technology, eighteen times more per capita than we are. China is investing similar amounts. In fact, China and the US have a wide ranging agreement on clean energy partnerships that is far more substantial than our clean energy dialogue with the US, which at this rate has turned into a monologue. Canada may bluster about being a clean energy ‘superpower’, but frankly, our money is nowhere near where our mouth is.

Click here or here for a sample letter to send to Canadian Senators, and their email addresses.

Click here to go to Senator Mitchell’s blog.

Just a note to let my faithful readers know that Peter Sinclair, maker of the fantastic videos addressing denier’s fabrications and distortions, Climate Crock of the Week, got enough votes to win the $5000 prize awarded by Brighter Planet. So, thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for him (especially my mother-in-law, Ruth, who took the time to figure out how to vote, even though she and computers are not on overly familiar terms!). Click here to read more.

Now, get busy and contact those Senators.  This opportunity to shift Canada’s paradigm from dirty oil to a greener future is too good to miss!

David Suzuki On The Harper Government’s Climate Change Plan: “They Don’t Have A F*!?*g Clue”

When Canadian environmentalist and scientist David Suzuki released his autobiography in 2006, he had this to say about the federal government’s climate change plan under Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“Harper claims that he’s going to develop his own plan,” Suzuki said. “The thing that’s really outrageous is he has no plan. We’ve got this from Ambrose’s assistant now. We were talking to him, ‘Are you doing this? Considering a carbon tax?’ ‘Nothing yet, we’re open to everything.’ In other words, they don’t have a fucking clue. I think it’s outrageous that he’s coming in, gutting Kyoto, and he’s acting like he’s going to substitute something and he doesn’t have an idea.”

And four years and many more millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere later, and it seems that Suzuki was right on with his assessment of this government’s understanding of the issue of climate change.  Just last week Harper, who is under increasing pressure internationally to put climate change on the agenda of the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings, indicated that the economy is the most important issue to consider, and anything else is “noise”.  Harper and his Environment Minister Jim Prentice have indicated their plan to address climate change is to wait until the U.S. has a plan, and then follow that.  And this is called leadership!!? In fact, Prentice recently dismissed the push to reduce greenhouse gases as “utterly pointless”.

Suzuki also commented on the understanding shown by federal Conservatives on this issue during his interview with Straight.com:

“The thing that just terrifies me is trying to imagine George Bush or Ralph Klein or Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, or [Nova Scotia MP] Peter MacKay trying to really understand what exactly is global warming. Or what is a stem cell. If you can’t at least be literate enough to understand the basic principles, then you end up making decisions for purely political reasons. And that’s what’s really terrifying. These guys are still convinced by the skeptics, the people paid for by the fossil-fuel industry, that global warming is bullshit. And they don’t have the ability to judge for themselves.”

The good news in 2010 is that the Harper government continues to be in a minority position.  The recent passing of Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, was possible because of this.  All three opposition parties worked together to get it through the House of Commons.  Unfortunately Harper has had the opportunity to appoint over 30 new Conservative Senators to the upper chamber, so the bill will face stiff Conservative opposition as it makes its way through the Senate.  Canadians who want a brighter, greener future for our children need to make our voices heard.  Click here for contact information and sample emails for letting Senators know they can’t oppose the will of the elected House of Commons on this issue.  If you would like to call or email Prime Minister Harper, click hereClick here to find out how to contact Minister Prentice, and let him know that his efforts on climate change so far have been pointless.

Here’s a recent video of David Suzuki talking about the Climate Accountability Act:


Get Politically Active, Live Longer And Other Good News For A Change

Here’s some positive news to consider with your morning coffee:

  • Canadian Forest Industry and Environmental Groups sign World’s Largest Conservation Agreement Applying to an Area Twice the Size of Germany:

In what Greenpeace Canada calls the best chance to save woodland caribou and permanently protect vast areas of the Boreal Forest as well as put responsible forestry practises in to place, a collaborative effort between nine leading environmental organizations and 21 members of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has resulted in a ground breaking agreement.  According to a news release:

The Agreement identifies explicit commitments for both sides and sets out a plan, which includes:

  • The development and implementation of world-leading forest management and harvesting practices;
  • The completion of joint proposals for networks of protected areas and the recovery of species at risk including woodland caribou;
  • A full life cycle approach to forest carbon management; and
  • Support for the economic future of forest communities and for the recognition of conservation achievements in the global marketplace.

The next stage in this process is to meet with provincial governments, First Nations and local communities across the country to seek their leadership and participation in the historic agreement.  First Nations communities in particular have an important voice in this matter, as the Boreal forest is the traditional territory for many of them. There needs to be recognition and respect for their constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights for this agreement to work.

Click here to read the full press release.

  • Wondering about whether or not you should become engaged on the issue of climate change?  If you do, chances are it will pay off in ways that you don’t expect, according to a German study. The researchers found that people engaged in political activism are more likely to live happier and more fulfilling lives than the average person.

“There is something about activism itself that is beneficial for well-being,” says Tim Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and co-author of a research paper based on studies of college students. “We found that activists were feeling more autonomy and more personal growth. They also felt they had better relationships, more purpose in life, and they liked themselves better.”

To read the full story, click here to go the Globe & Mail article.

And if that doesn’t inspire you to get politically active, this will!  On April 30, the biggest protest march ever to take place in New Zealand happened. Between 40,000 – 50,000 people came out to protest their government’s plans to expand mining in protected areas.  Check it out:


It’s never too late to reap the benefits of political activism.   To contact Canadian Senators about Bill C311, the Climate Accountability Act making its way through the Senate Chamber shortly, click here.

To find out more about what 350.org is planning for action on climate change in 2010, click here.

Think Climate Change Won’t Affect You? You’re Wrong. Feel Powerless To Do Something About Climate Change? You’re Not!

  • Via Cathy Orlando, a climate champion from Sudbury, Ontario, this posting on Green Nexxus.com:

Climate Denial Crock of the Week needs your vote.

If you don’t know about Peter Sinclair, also known as “greenman3610” on YouTube, you should.

I came across Peter’s blogs while preparing to debate potential climate deniers at Climate Project presentations. His work gave me the confidence to go out into the world and slay the monster called the “climate denier”.  After 35 videos, which many people, including climate scientists from all over the world have publically declared are very helpful in persuading climate deniers – Peter has the opportunity to get some much needed funding.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week is in a contest at brighterplanet.com for a potential $5000.00 dollar grant. This grant could help Peter upgrade his computer and software so as to keep improving quality and increasing the frequency of his  videos.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to click here to go over to Brighter Planet and register, and then vote for Climate Denial Crock of the Week. You can vote up to 3 times! And it will only take a few minutes!

It’s a tight competition …  a see-saw battle, and he is currently down in the voting.

There was a welcome shout out (click here to view it) from a popular European “YouTuber” which brought in hundreds of new votes and subscribers.

If you’ve already voted, I hope you’ll refer friends and contacts to the link above, or the video (mildly amusing) announcement .  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39FZKW2tS8o )   

Click here for the whole playlist.

Please take the time to vote for Peter Sinclair – it takes about a minute, and will support a fantastic cause, for Sinclair exposes those that would have us do nothing about climate change until it’s too late.

  • This Friday has been declared a National Day of Action, Night of Mourning Against Offshore Drilling. From Rising Tide North America comes this call to action:

Once again the fossil fuel industry has brought crisis to the Gulf Coast. Devastation of untold proportions spews non-stop from BP’s oil well as politicians try to save face with empty promises, and oil companies preserve their profits with PR campaigns. This catastrophic spill comes on the heels of Obama’s plan to expand offshore drilling. The price of burning fossil fuels is too high. From combustion to extraction the oil industry poisons our communities, destroys ecosystems, and destabilizes the climate. Now is the time to stop offshore drilling dead in its tracks and drive another nail into the fossil fuel industry’s coffin.

People are encouraged to take action to demand:

-An immediate ban on all offshore drilling

-A rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels

-No bailouts for the oil industry. All recovery costs must be paid for by BP, Halliburton, Transocean and other implicated companies.

-The federal government must remove any caps on liability for oil companies.

-BP provides full compensation for impacted communities and small businesses.

-BP provides full funding for long-term ecosystem restoration for impacted areas.

-Oil companies operating in the Gulf fully fund restoration of coastal ecosystems damaged by canals, pipelines, and other industry activities.

Click here to go to Rising Tide’s National Day of Action page for more information on specific actions to take.

Click here if you live in Canada and want to sign a petition to protect our Pacific Coast from oil spills.

While this action is focused in the U.S., those of us living in other countries can take action as well, as the issue of offshore drilling affects many other countries.  Here in Canada, the Montreal Gazette reported this week that Canadian offshore drilling regulations were relaxed by the Stephen Harper’s Conservative government last year, so don’t think the same thing can’t happen off of our shores.

Previously, companies were required to install specific kinds of equipment, such as safety valves and blowout preventers. The old regulations outlined everything from how companies should cement the casing on an oil well, to how they should conduct pressure tests.

Under the new regulations, well operators must set environmental-protection goals, list the equipment they will use to achieve those goals and disclose their plans for inspecting, testing and maintaining such gear.

However, they are not required to install any specific equipment.

Click here to read the full story.

The Council of Canadians has issued this call to action:

According to the Parliament of Canada website, the Natural Resources committee next meets on Tuesday May 11 starting at 9:00 am.

So please contact your Member of Parliament as soon as possible and express your concern about the environmental destruction that is likely to occur with oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

Tell them that you support a moratorium and that the government should be promoting the transition away from fossil fuels to publicly-owned renewable energy.

Given the imperative to reduce the world’s carbon emissions, we should not be allowing transnational corporations like Imperial Oil and BP to extract carbon-emitting oil and gas from the Arctic. Our message has been – leave it in the ground.

To see the membership of the Natural Resources committee – and in particular to take note if your MP sits on this committee –  click here to see the membership list.

Click here to read our letter to the ministers calling for a moratorium.

Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, could be a tool for Canada to start tackling climate change.  It now has a sponsor in the Senate, Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell.  Mr. Mitchell said recently:

We urgently need federal action on a climate change framework for Canada. Not only is climate change a defining ecological issue, it is increasingly an economic one. I commend Mr. Hyer for his hard work on this bill, and I look forward to the collaboration of my colleagues in the Senate to move it forward.”

It looks like the bill will have its first reading in the Senate near the end of May, only a few weeks away.  It’s time for those of us concerned about our children and grandchildren’s future to get busy contacting Canadian Senators and reminding them that without a stable climate, our economy is going to go bust.  Click here to go to  a page with the contact info for all the Senators. Remember, Senators are not elected so they have no constituents,  therefore it’s best to contact them all, and remind them not to thwart the will of the elected House of Commons.

Have a great, climate-action, kind of a day! Don’t forget to take action and hug someone you love, too!

Congratulations Prime Minister Harper

Hinson Calabrese from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the creative genius behind the  “Hi PM” blog, is back after an absence of several months. Welcome back, Hinson!  Here’s his latest blog post, a video recording a call to Prime Minister Harper after Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, was passed in the House of Commons this week:


If you have time, click here to visit HiPM and watch more Hinson’s videos.

Climate Accountability Act One Step Closer to Becoming Law

Just heard – Canada’s Climate Change Accountability Act, Bill C311, has just passed its final vote in the House of Commons tonight, with 149 votes for and 136 against. Now it’s on to the Senate.

Here’s what The Council of Canadians, who have been active in working to move this bill through the House, had to say:

Today’s passage of the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) is a step in the right direction but much more is needed, warns the Council of Canadians.

“The passage of C-311 has been a long time coming and it is certainly good to see Parliament support it,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “While the Council of Canadians is celebrating the passage of C-311 and we want to see it pass the Senate, we believe that this is just a starting point.”

“We are faced not only with the challenge of ensuring our government puts in place plans that will effectively achieve these emissions reduction targets,” says Harden-Donahue in reference to the Harper government’s track record of ignoring the will of Parliament. “The fact is that many global South countries and movements are calling for even greater responsibility on the part of countries like ours, for climate debt repayment.”

In disproportionately contributing to the historical carbon emissions causing the current crisis, climate debt asserts responsibility on the part of developed countries for deeper emission cuts and climate mitigation and adaptation funding for the global South.

The Council of Canadians recent experiences at an international climate conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia, affirm there is growing support for even deeper emission reduction targets by developed countries, and the need for concrete plans to transition off of fossil fuel dependency.

The World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth anticipated 8,000 participants and representatives of 50 governments. Governments of more than 70 countries were present, along with civil society representatives of nearly 130 countries and an estimated 41,000 participants.
The agreement produced at the conference advocates limiting temperature rise below 1 degree, far more ambitious then the up to 4 degree rise based on the voluntary targets of the Copenhagen Accord.

The Council of Canadians wants C-311 to mark a change in Canadian climate policy. “We want C-311 to lead to regulations that actually reduce our emissions,” adds Harden-Donahue.  “Planning for a tar sands free future, getting off of coal, vastly improving energy conservation and efficiency alongside plans for sustainable energy development, these are the types of actions that are needed.”

It looks Valentine’s Day came a little late today, but better late than never!

*This picture was originally posted by Cathy Orlando,  in Sudbury, Ontario, who works tirelessly to educate others about the dangers of global warming and the need to shift to a low carbon world while there is still a planet worth saving. Thanks Cathy!*

Thanks to all of you readers who took the time to contact Members of Parliament about this crucial bill.  The fight isn’t over, but let’s celebrate this victory!