Last Monday federal Environment Minister Peter Kent unexpectedly told reporters that “climate change is a very real and present danger and we need to address it.”
This announcement came as a surprise to many, as Canada both on the national and international level have taken little to no action on climate change, which has given us the reputation of valuing the pocketbooks of big oil over the livelihoods of future generations. With the next round of climate talks to start in just a few days in Doha, Qatar the world has become increasingly more conscious of the gap between his words, and his actions.
The world that I’ve grown up in has already warmed 0.8 degrees, which has caused us to see the large scale devastation of droughts, heat waves, flooding, and most recently Hurricane Sandy, which lurched climate impacts back into the mainstream media and public consciousness.
With the impacts of 0,8 degrees already causing billions in damage, loss of livelihoods, and most importantly loss of life, it is terrifying to think of what a 2, 3, or 4 degree world might look like. That 4 degree world is the path that Canada has paved for us, with the tar sands alone providing 3x the emissions that the planet can bare. Under the Copenhagen Accord, Canada has committed to staying below 2 degrees, yet our current trajectory brings us no where close to this target. So while it is always encouraging to hear that others see climate change as an immediate issue, I would rather the Minister have his actions speak louder than words, and for him to take the action necessary to keep our planet from burning.
Meghan McCarthy, St. John’s