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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has dubbed the Madrid COP25 summit as the “point of no return” in the fight against climate change. We’re reminded daily of the impacts of climate change, and in spite of decades of warnings from climate scientists, carbon emissions continue to rise. The science is clear and undeniable: humanity is in a climate emergency.

And so isn’t it time to get real about the climate crisis? How about starting with the premise that every country needs to do its fair share? How about expecting that every country—including Canada—first live up to its Paris Agreement commitment of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C” as per Article 2.1.a?

It’s Time to GET REAL Canada

(Source: Infograph above and text below from CAN blog article by Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network)

Climate Action Network Canada believes that Canada must do its fair share towards a global effort that ensures that global warming is limited to no more than 1.5°C without overshoot.

Canada has substantially contributed to the global buildup of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere for over a century, and continues doing so today, reaping enormous economic benefits but also accumulating a substantial carbon debt. This means that Canada bears a large responsibility for creating the climate crisis and, as a wealthy country, possesses considerable capacity to act to address it.

As a result, Canada has a moral obligation to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions as fast as technically and economically feasible, while also substantially supporting emissions reductions in developing nations as part of our total fair share towards a 1.5°C-consistent global effort.

It’s Time to Do our FAIR SHARE

Specifically, our domestic greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, with a view of fully decarbonizing the Canadian economy to achieve net zero domestic GHG emissions as early before 2050 as possible.

Additionally, our fair share includes an obligation to enable a reduction in developing countries’ greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a total Canadian contribution of 140% of Canadian 2005 emissions. This would cut emissions in all developing countries¹ on average by 2.3% below their 2010 levels in 2030, in addition to the reductions² that they achieve on their own or with other wealthier countries’ support.

Priorities for Canada at COP25

Climate Action Network Canada lists 5 priorities for Canada for the Madrid COP25 climate summit:

  1. Building Canada’s net-zero pathway – use COP25 to unveil its new climate commitments to the global community;
  2. Caring for those impacted by the climate crisis – work to ensure that COP25 sends a signal to the world that communities will have the resources they need to adapt to climate change and address climate impacts;
  3. Ensuring transparent cooperation and communication to unlock climate ambition and protect the most vulnerable;
  4. Making climate action responsive to people’s needs; and,
  5. Supporting science.

It’s Time to say “ENOUGH”

Day by day, citizens from all corners of the world are saying “enough!” Enough with unresponsive, unambitious political leadership that continues to feed the root causes of inequality and climate injustice. Enough with economic and political systems that put profit before people and the interests of wealthy polluters before the interests of young people, workers, vulnerable communities and Indigenous peoples. — Catherine Abreu

Citizens from around the world are saying “enough!” But what will the greater than 26,000 people—negotiators, policymakers, researchers, scientists, business leaders, heads of governments, activists, journalists, campaigners— attending the Madrid COP25 climate talks say? Will they also say enough? Our future depends on it.

Reference notes:
1. A total emissions reduction in 2030 of 1,039 Mt CO​2​eq below Canadian 2005 GHG emissions levels: 445 Mt CO​2​eq reductions in Canada; 594 Mt CO​2​eq in developing countries, enabled through Canadian financial, technological and other support.
2. Developing countries, as a group, emitted about 26,022 Mt CO​2​eq in 2010. As part of Canada’s total fair share, Canada should enable, through support, additional emissions reductions of 594 Mt in these countries, which represents about 2.3% of the 2010 emissions of these countries.

Related articles:
Why Canada Needs Climate Crisis Legislation
GHGs Show No Slowdown, No Decline: #GlobalHeating Shoots Up

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License

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  1. I respectfully suggest that it is far beyond time for Canada to come to grips with the complex nature of this “wicked problem” called climate change. It is labelled “wicked” because it’s so damned difficult to diagnose, define and, therefore, to solve.

    But all is not lost — yet. Here is a brief introduction to two remarkable academics who have diagnosed our existential crises. Dr. Tim Garrett, atmospheric physicist at the University of Utah, argues that climate change is fundamentally a physics problem. As such, is not well understood by the untutored, and especially by economists, who mistakenly see only one solution — keep growing the economy. In a 2009 paper, Garrett discusses the results and implications of his application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to economic data, arriving at a frightening* hypothesis that has, so far, not been rejected. (*The hypothesis is frightening because Garrett does the calculus to show that civilization is caught in a double bind from which there is no escape).
    To learn more about Garrett, click on )

    As well, a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, who resigned to become a professor at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Nate Hagens contends that in order to diagnose the climate change challenges we face, and plot a way forward, we first have to analyze and understand the “Bigger Picture”, that is, the very nature of our human predicament. To do this, Dr. Hagens developed a systems synthesis approach to the big-picture issues facing human society – an understanding that integrates human behaviour, energy, and money into this emerging superorganism, manifested as our global civilization. On a global scale, human civilization is behaving like a fossil-fuel, energy-squandering superorganism, like some blind, purposeless amoeba. In January of this year Hagens explained the complexity of his “Big Picture” in a set of 34 videos all available on You Tube. And if a set of 34 videos isn’t complex enough for you, then I don’t know what is. (To learn more about Hagens, click on )

    • Frank – thank for sharing these resources.

      Indeed, we have developed a tangled web of interconnected dynamics that may just be too immense to solve. The title of the article is about Canada getting real. But in fact, all 7.5 billion of us on this planet have to get real to tackle climate change. I think we all know that will not happen. As you point out, ” On a global scale, human civilization is behaving like a fossil-fuel, energy-squandering superorganism, like some blind, purposeless amoeba.”

      And so where do we go from here?

      Thank you for your insights.


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