By Roy L Hales
COP 21 reached an agreement. Fossil fuel usage will be phased out by 2050. The international community will adopt a goal of keeping the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees, but does not yet have the pledges that will make this possible. According to Adam Scott of Environmental Defence, in Paris, the current pledges will only limit the rise to 3 degrees.
Ongoing Negotiations To Reach 1.5 Degrees
So the international community will come back to the table every five years to submit new, and hopefully lower, pledges. Scott compared this process to a ratchet. While it is possible some countries will repeat their previous target, the overall direction will be towards1.5 degrees.
It is up to citizens around the world to demand their governments take stronger actions.
“Canada was well represented in Paris: our negotiators intervened on numerous occasions to raise the level of ambition within the text, and played a critical role advocating for the inclusion of Indigenous rights in the final agreement. We applaud the constructive efforts of the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the government’s climate negotiations team,” said Erin Flanagan, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute.
He added, “Canada must now match its international commitments with strong actions at home. It must establish a science-based climate plan that includes minimum standards on carbon pricing and other emissions-reductions policies, and that builds upon existing provincial action. On their own, provincial commitments will not ensure Canada does its fair share to reduce emissions consistent with the science of global warming. It’s essential that the federal government works quickly to establish an ambitious and cohesive national climate plan, with full participation from each province and territory, to catalyze Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy.”
“Both B.C. and Canada’s environmental assessment processes must be revamped to incorporate a formal climate test into any decisions about projects that will emit greenhouse gases. Sierra Club BC calls upon Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Clark to commit to a climate test as a key building block of achieving the 1.5°C ceiling. For B.C., that means the government must abandon its climate-destabilizing push to build an LNG industry. For Canada, it means flawed pipeline reviews already underway like the Kinder Morgan proposal must be put on hold and re-assessed under an improved process,” says Jens Wieting, of Sierra Club BC.
And Environmental Defense says they need to put in place measures to:
- Ensuring a high price on carbon emissions for all of Canada
- Creating a new, strong, credible process to review all high-carbon energy projects, including a climate test
- Establishing regulations to reduce carbon pollution from industry
- Investing heavily in clean public transit, clean energy, and more efficient buildings
- Developing national strategies to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, enable energy efficiency, and attract clean energy investment
Photo Credit: Sunrise – Good morning Paris by Amina Tagemouati via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)