by Steve Gabell, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands & Rideau Lakes Green Party of Ontario
On April 4, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their working group III report on mitigation of climate change (available at ipcc.ch). The report is clear: without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5C is beyond reach. Global warming above 1.5C will lead to increased heatwaves, droughts, floods, mass loss of animal and plant life, and increasing levels of food and water insecurity around the world. The UN Secretary-General stated: “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels is moral and economic madness.”
On the very same day as the IPCC report was released, Doug Ford was announcing a plan to reduce gas and fuel taxes by 11 cents per litre, and, just a few days later, the federal government announced that they were approving the Bay du Nord oil project off the coast of Newfoundland, producing between 300 million and 800 million barrels of oil over the course of its life, starting from the middle of the decade. Yet IPCC reports are clear that global emissions need to peak before 2025, and be reduced by almost 50% by 2030.
And our big banks continue to fund fossil fuel projects. Since the Paris agreement was signed in 2016, Canadian banks have funnelled a staggering $911 billion into coal, oil, and gas. RBC alone are the fifth biggest financiers of fossil fuel in the world, providing almost $50 billion of funding in 2021 alone.
Municipal, provincial, and federal governments should all be working together to help people transition away from fossil fuels, not trying to make it marginally cheaper to use them, or approving development of new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. Our banks should stop chasing short term profits from fossil fuels and should instead be funding investments in energy efficiency and renewables.
My daughter will be two years old this summer. I want her to have clean air and water, plentiful food, and a safe, peaceful world to live in. Our present course is not sustainable, and, in the words of the UN Secretary-General, we are currently being led by dangerous radicals who are performing acts of moral and economic madness. We need change, now.