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With five months to go before the next federal election, Canada’s political parties are competing for climate credibility, seemingly engaged in a battle to show they care more about the environment, reports The National Observer. This is a climate activist’s dream. Not only will climate be the top issue in the October election, but having politicians compete for climate action supremacy is dizzying. I frankly did not see this coming.

Climate Credibility

Fighting for Climate Credibility, Below2C

Image credit: Bernd Hildebrandt, Pixabay

Liberals are poised to declare a climate emergency

The Liberals have filed a motion which asks Members of Parliament “to recommit to the Paris climate-change accord by meeting the existing targets for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and toughening them as is required to meet the accord’s stated objective of keeping global warming as close to 1.5 C as possible,” writes Mia Rabson of The National Observer.

The Liberal motion (full text found below) brings Canada closer to a declaration of climate emergency following the U.K., Ireland and Switzerland. This is precisely the kind of climate leadership activists and environmentalists have been calling for since the Liberals came to power in 2015.

NDP goes much further than Paris targets

The NDP motion (full text found below) also seeks to reach the Paris targets but goes much further by calling  for the cancellation of  the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and an end to fossil-fuel subsidies. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says “pipelines and fossil-fuel subsidies are not congruent with climate-change action.” However, he will not go so far as to oppose the LNG project in his NDP-led home province of British Columbia.

Greens would double the emission-reduction targets

Meanwhile, the Green Party is calling for a 60% cut in greenhouse gases based on 2005 levels, in effect doubling Canada’s 30% reduction promised in the Paris Accord. Elizabeth May is very emphatic that Canadians need to heed the warnings of the IPCC 1.5°C report and Canada’s own Canada’s Changing Climate report that shows we are warming twice faster than the global average.“

“And an increase of two degrees would be catastrophic,” says May.

Somewhere below two degrees is the tipping point to where we run into something (that) scientists call runaway global warming—a self-accelerating irreversible global warming that could lead to temperatures that call into question the survival of this biosphere.

In order to ensure that action follows rhetoric, the Greens would create a non-partisan ‘war cabinet’ modeled after Winston Churchill’s during WWII to tackle the existential threat of climate change.

Click here for the transcript of a recent E. May interview on The Current, CBC Radio.

Conservatives are stuck on energy

The Conservatives under Andrew Scheer have yet to finalize their climate plan, one that will aim at reducing emissions but without the dreaded price on carbon. The plan will include an east-west energy corridor and a call for Canadian energy independence. How fossil fuel energy development will square with climate action has yet to be made clear by the Conservatives.

Notice Paper motions (full text)

May 13, 2019 — Mr. Singh (Burnaby South):

That the House call on the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to declare an environment and climate emergency following the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and urge the government to bring forward a climate action strategy that: (a) prioritizes reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; (b) invests in a transition that leaves no workers or communities behind; (c) increases the ambition of its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets to avoid a more than 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in global warming, as recommended by the IPCC report; (d) includes robust rules for implementing the Paris Agreement; (e) prescribes transparency and accountability mechanisms to address climate change; (f) does not proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project; (g) immediately eliminates all federal fossil fuel subsidies, including through Export Development Canada funding; and (h) integrates human health into Canada’s climate commitments.

No. 29 — May 13, 2019 — The Minister of Environment and Climate Change:

That the House recognize that: (a) climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians’ health, and the Canadian economy; (b) Canadians are feeling the impacts of climate change today, from flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events which are projected to intensify in the future; (c) climate change impacts communities across Canada, with coastal, northern and Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to its effects; and (d) action to support clean growth and meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all parts of the economy are necessary to ensure a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren; and, therefore, that the House declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emissions target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the Agreement’s objective of holding global warming below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Articles you may have missed…
Climate Change Is Twice As Bad In Canada: It’s Time To Be Bold
From Global Warming to Climate Change to Climate Breakdown

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  1. Rolly, whether an October climate election is our dream or our nightmare will not hinge on how *much* we get to talk about the climate emergency, but *how* we talk about it. The analysis from Australia is just starting to come in (we’ll have a summary in Tuesday’s Energy Mix), but the initial soundings suggest that Queensland state is to coal as Alberta is to tar sands/oil sands production, and Queensland voted strongly against its own interest in climate action and a just transition because people felt vilified and diminished by the rest of the country. I’m over-simplifying because this is a blog comment, not a treatise. But we knew the Australia campaign would hold lessons for Canada, however it ended up, and unless there’s some major counter-analysis in the next little while, this will be an incredibly important takeaway.

    • Mitchell – thank you for joining the Below2C community. I agree with your observations about Australia. Last week I was on Parliament Hill lobbying MPs and had several interesting discussions about the narrative we need to use going into the fall election. Vilifying Jason Kenny and Doug Ford doesn’t seem to have much effect. I think we have to go over them and appeal directly to Albertans and Ontarians who want to be part of the solution. The CCL approach is to be non-partisan and to focus on solutions that work. We need to help our politicians get it and rise to the occasion. And we have a huge challenge.

      Thank you for your feedback. I look forward to your piece on Australia.

  2. “…he will not go so far as to oppose the LNG project in his NDP-led home province…”
    Alas, this reflects a world wide problem. This is not 1980 or 1990 or even 2010. We are out of time for gradual incremental solutions and need far more than rhetoric. Tragically, the United States, Brazil, and Australia in recent elections appear not to be even capable of rhetoric and reflect a large number of people that seem to think destroying the environment will help the economy. I will keep fighting in the United States and salute those fighting in Canada, but it certainly can be discouraging.

    • Ed – I’m so frustrated with how little urgency politicians are manifesting. It does not bode well for humanity. Last week in the House of Commons, both the NDP and the Liberals filed a notice to declare a climate emergency. And yet, neither party could support the other’s motion because of semantics. WTF

      As usual, thank you for your feedback. I do appreciate it.

  3. so much do i wish that people could open there eyes, this world was made for humans, but humans were greedy for things that didnt really benifit. I tell you, space wasnt made for us, mars wasn’t, earth was. Why cant politics open eyes to see that?

    • Welcome to Below2C. And thank you for your feedback.

      Politicians are focused on the short term, getting re-elected. Climate requires a long-term approach. Therein lies the problem and the challenge.


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