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Which Side of History Will You Be On? boomer warrior

I attended the Climate Welcome training on Wednesday in preparation for the march and sit-in at Prime Minister Trudeau’s residence on Sussex Drive. I felt buoyed by the swearing in of the new PM and his cabinet earlier in the day – finally a breath of fresh air. With the naming of Catherine McKenna as the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, perhaps I could allow myself to believe – if just for a few minutes – that Canada would take more aggressive action on the climate.

But that hope was shattered by Stephane Dion, Foreign Affairs Minister, on his first day on the job. The Globe and Mail reported that the new Liberal government “backs” the Trans Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline and does not want the project which we oppose to spoil relations with the United States. “We don’t want it to be an irritant,” said Dion.

That was a surprising statement by Stephane Dion who had been the author of a progressive position on climate action in the 2008 election with a proposed Green Shift plan that would have taxed polluters and provided support to taxpayers. He was ahead of his time then. Now he has just proven how he and Trudeau’s Liberals are still behind the times. They are simply not getting the big picture on climate.

And then the next day came President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline – a major victory for environmentalists in both Canada and the United States. The decision has permanently changed the discussion on new projects, say analysts and environmentalists.

It’s premature to talk about other pipelines yet, but if Alberta and Canada don’t introduce proper greenhouse gas regulations for the industry, then it’s going to be challenging to make the argument that those projects are in the public interest ~ Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute.

This decision points to the opportunity for Canada to build a 21st-century economy based on today’s green, clean energy technologies, rather than continuing to rely on yesterday’s dinosaur fossil-fuel industry ~ Diane Beckett, Sierra Club Interim Director

Mr. Trudeau, which side of history will you be on?

Which Side of History Will You Be On? boomer warrior
Jacqueline Martin / Associated Press

The new Liberal government had the opportunity to shine the light on climate change by agreeing with the Obama decision. Instead it chose to express its disappointment with vague pronouncements about the need to do a better job balancing environmental protection with energy development of oil and gas projects.

“The math of climate change is stark, and it not negotiable. We have to leave the majority of fossil fuel reserves underground, including 85 per cent of Canada’s tar sands, if we’re going to have a shot at staying below two degrees Celsius,” says Cam Fenton of 350.Org and 350.Canada.

The good news is that the definition of what is politically possible on climate change is also changing. Yesterday, while Trudeau was being sworn in, prominent lawmakers in the United States, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, launched a new piece of legislation called the “Keep it in the Ground Act” – Cam Fenton article in HuffPost Blog.

Adam Scott, of Environmental Defence (Climate and Energy Program Manager) said that “Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL demonstrates historic leadership by saying no to new fossil fuel infrastructure ….For the first time, a pipeline has been rejected because it puts our climate at risk – a litmus test that the new Canadian government should adopt.” Scott said “the rejection sets an important precedent just days before the climate change summit in Paris.”

This has strengthened my resolve to continue step up my activism. The message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ministers McKenna and Dion is very clear. You cannot support projects which increase carbon emissions on the one hand and then pretend to be serious about signing an emissions-reduction agreement in Paris. That stance is hypocritical and downright dishonest. Canada needs to freeze Tar Sands development and begin the transition to a clean energy economy NOW. We do not have 3 years, or 2 years or one year. Already too much time has been wasted by the previous government.

The kind of leadership that listens to climate science is exactly what I’m looking from Justin Trudeau. And that’s why I’ll be marching and sitting-in on Sunday, November 8th – Day 4 of Climate Welcome. I encourage everyone who shares my climate concerns and wants to nudge this new government in the right direction to be there. We must be relentless in our pressure to get Canada back on the right climate track.

The world is watching and so are our children and grandchildren.


RollyRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a Blogger and a Climate Activist. He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa), the Ethical Team (as an influencer)  and Global Population Speakout.

Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

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  1. In Dec. World Leaders are to meet in Paris to discuss Global Warming, at issue is the amount of greenhouse gases we our emitting, and their plan of action, to Stop this Heating Up, Drought, Flooding, Sea Level Rising 220 Feet, and The Burning Up of Our Planet !

    23,000 Fire Fighters, Fighting Fires in California, Washington, Oregon, and Montana 8 / 22 / 2015

    For Each 1.0C. Temp Rise, Atmospheric Moisture Increases 7%

    Globally we our emitting 40 – 50 Billion Toxic Tons of Carbon Dioxide a Year.

    The United States emitted 6.8 Billion Toxic Tons of Carbon Dioxide in 2014

    In the 1850s – 1870s parts per million of Carbon in our atmosphere was between 260 – 280.

    In the 1980s, there was 350 ppm of Carbon.

    2015 – 404 ppm in Our Atmosphere.

    We have passed the 1C. baseline Temp Increase !

    India, Pakistan, Japan, and the Middle East, Record Breaking, Killing Heat Waves !

    The Pacific Ocean is 3 – 8 degrees warmer than Normal, and Flowing in to the Arctic Ocean

    Massive Whales, Salmon, Starfish, Sea Lions, Sea Urchins, Dolphins, Crabs, and Bird Die – Offs !

    The Jet Stream is acting like a balloon that is loosing air.

    The Arctic Ice and Snow may be gone at the end of this Summer or at the end of 2017, A Huge Natural Cooler for the Northern Hemisphere, that is 3 million years old .

    The meeting in Paris, should be about Closing the Fossil Fuel Faucet.

    “Professor Chris Field is bullshitting the planet. On whether 1.5C is still feasible” Kevin Hester

    “The message is already clear, that if the world does want to strive to limit warming to 1.5C or less, we don’t have very much of the carbon budget left.” Professeor Chris Field

    “There is no carbon budget any more and 5C is baked in according to both Shell petroleum and the International Energy Authority. ” Kevin Hester

    “Chris Field is the founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology and professor for interdisciplinary environmental studies at Stanford University. He is the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) working group two (WGII) and US nominee for the chair of the IPCC.”
    With people like this driving the IPCC you can see why we are all done for.” Kevin Hester.

    There is No Carbon Budget

    California emitted 459 Toxic Tons of Carbon Dioxide in 2014.

    Gov Browns call to reduce this to 1990 levels so we can continue to emit over 400 million Toxic Tons a year, will not help us stop or slow down Global Warming and Sea Levels Rising.

    “Updates to the 2020 Limit.
    Calculation of the original 1990 limit approved in 2007 was revised using the scientifically updated IPCC 2007 fourth assessment report (AR4) global warming potentials, to 431 MMTCO2e. Thus the 2020 GHG emissions limit established in response to AB 32 is now slightly higher than the 427 MMTCO2e in the initial Scoping Plan.” Ca. Gov. Data

    What will the Temp. be at 415 ppm ?

    “Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).” National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    When will Sea Level Rise to 220 – 300 Feet ? 2020 ? 2025 ? ?

    What will the ppm of Carbon be when this happens ?

    As of Now, they are talking about capping GHGs at 450 ppm.

    What will the Temp. be at 450 ppm ?

    We must transition to 100% Renewable Energy

    Implement a California Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff.

    California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from, Global Warming, Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking.

    A California Commercial FiT in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, an Sacramento Ca. are operating NOW, paying the Business Person 17 cents cents per kilowatt hour.

    Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

  2. So far (three days in), the ‘Climate Welcome’ has only attracted a total of 120 protestors at any one time outside the gates of Rideau Cottage and 24Sussex Drive. One more day of action to go, but it has been largely ignored by anyone outside of the 350° Organisation. No arrests have been made, because as far as the New Liberal Government is concerned, no news (coverage) is good news. To arrest anyone, raises media interest.

    I don’t see that getting arrested will raise much interest either… Except it will be traumatic for anyone that has to go through the process of gaining a criminal record! It is not that I’m against the protest, I think everyone should speak out their concerns about the climate and voice opinions on how we get to cleaner energies. However, a rag-tag group of people holding placards is pretty commonplace in lots of places on lots of issues, and doing the same old thing becomes ‘old hat!’ I doubt that Trudeau has barely raised an eyebrow at your actions. Catherine McKenna has a huge job to pick through the mess left behind the Harper administration. You can hardly expect her or Trudeau to give up valuable time to come and collect useless water samples. For any analysis to be done on water quality, the samples must all be collected under strict scientific controls and I doubt that anything collected in a jam jar will see anything more than the inside of a dustbin.

    I know I sound scathing, but I think a lot of very caring people have put a great deal of time, effort and personal resources into an action that has been poorly thought through by the organisers. To get media coverage (especially if you want some foreign exposure), you need to have a bit of a ‘dog and pony show.’ I see nothing here to gain the faintest interest from the general public and if they aren’t going to be interested, you can be sure that politicians and media alike, will totally ignor it as a non-story.

    • The Climate Welcome action was meant to be a day by day support-building initiative. We anticipated that arrests would occur but they did not. The sit-ins would lead to arrests it was thought. After all, we were in a no-trespassing zone. We were not seeking arrests at any cost but it was a strategic consideration.

      The next event is the November 29th “100% Possible” march in Ottawa. Ottawa is a tough city to mobilize for massive demonstrations. The socio-culture of the city is rather reserved and bureaucratic. It is the capital of Canada but unlike Washington where demonstrations are almost daily, Ottawa’s low profile does not lend itself that easily for large crowds.

      What we think Climate Welcome did accomplish is to effect the dialogue going forward to Paris. Justin Trudeau and his Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (Catherine McKenna) know that many of us are watching and insisting that we freeze the Tar Sands and move subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables.

      I appreciate your input on what is happening here in Canada. Stay well Colette.

  3. Sunday’s final ‘Climate Welcome’ day certainly gained the participation of Naomi Klein and should have been widely reported in the media. So where were they?

    I wonder if the organisers thought to provide the media outlets and the prime ministers office with an agenda of the proposed events? After all, if you throw a party, but forget to send out the invitations, nobody comes!

    Sunday’s culmination in the ‘Sunny Ways’ gift of 5 large Solar Panels to Justin Trudeau for installation at his official residence, ended up a bit of a let-down for the enthusiastic protestors. Trudeau did not appear, and it was seen as a ‘snub.’ However, in Trudeau’s defence, he probably had to observe security protocols. Most visitors to the Prime Minister would be thoroughly screened and go through security checks. Any official gifts, similarly, would undergo scanning to make sure there is nothing considered harmful in their makeup. No one at the protest should have expected Trudeau to come down and take them in his own hands….it just wouldn’t happen under any scenario that I can think of.

    The best the group could have expected, was a Trudeau supportive wave from a window. If organisers had not properly laid out their intentions, I doubt that security officials would allow Trudeau to go anywhere near the protesters (not even a window appearance). We live in dangerous times. The honest actions of people concerned about the environment (especially if they expected to be arrested ), will always be seen as suspicious until proven otherwise.

    I hope that Trudeau does the right thing at COP21 and beyond. It is time that Canadians see the truth about climate change and its effects. They have been ‘in the dark’ far too long. So far, I still trust that he will. Time will tell.

    • Colette – thanks for your comments. I’m in catching up mode, once again.

      I was present at the Sunday ClimateWelcome event. None of us expected Justin Trudeau to show up. In fact it would have been rather exceptional. However, the government representative would not officially or even symbolically accept the solar panels on behalf of the Prime Minister. That was disappointing. So, we at 350.Canada, will give him another opportunity to accept the solar gifts. If he does not, the panels will be installed somewhere on the path of the proposed Energy East pipeline. BTW, Climate leaders do not build pipelines.

      Now I fully expect that Canada will take its rightful place at COP21 in Paris. It would be very easy for Canada to look good just by showing up. That would be more than the previous government did. But better than Harper is not adequate. We need aggressive and progressive work in Paris.

  4. Rolly, I am a little bit worried about the COP21 and if we are really going to achieve unity in cutting greenhouse gases. The British Government has vassilated on so many of its green policies that it is now caught lying and admits it will not meet the 2020 reduction targets set by the EU… I wonder if that is why our illustrious leader, David Cameron, is shouting bold words that Britain will leave the EU if it doesn’t get its way.

    Canada has a chance to shine at COP21, but it does need the abandonment of oil tar sands to accomplish that.

    I get a sense that many countries are willing to contribute to the green fund and help out poorer countries who will struggle, but I also get a sense of ‘cloak and dagger’ tactics going on too. COP21 will not succeed if countries are not honest, and willing to give up the oil, coal, and gas, whatever the cost.

    David Cameron says that he must be realistic and keep energy costs low for ‘ the people.’ What he does not state, is that people only want energy companies to charge a fair price, not to pocket all the profits for their own glorification and self aggrandization.

    I am a bit fed up of the ‘now you see it, now you don’t approach to working out a plan to keep temperature increases to a maximum of 2° warming ( which probably isn’t enough of a reduction anyway). I feel like ‘Atlantis,’ is about to fall and our leaders are arguing about whow is going to have the most ‘spoils.’ The answer is no-one…why can’t they get that into their heads!

    I think I’m just tired of empty words and blank smiles. Meanwhile, the world warms and the breathable air disappears, species die, ecosystems collapse, and we slowly reduce our living planet to a dusty, polluted shell. We are our own worst enemy! People are capable of great things, but we must get off our butts to achieve them.

    Mr Trudeau…it is time to get off your butt, to get all Canadians off their butts, and to show the world that you are not the same old tired story of your predecessor!


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