Skip to content

Letter: To our new MPs, we are counting on you to boldly address climate emergency

Now that the election is over, time to roll up your sleeves and and get to work, says reader
2018-03-04 Peace Tower sun MV
Parliament Hill's Peace Tower, March 4, 2018. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld)

Congratulations to our new MPs on your recent election to the 44th Canadian Parliament. 

I suspect that all of you have been very focused on your campaign over the past six weeks.

The House of Commons passed a motion to declare a national Climate Emergency in Canada in June 2019, so I thought that it might be helpful to provide some climate news that you may have missed over the past couple of months.

I will start with the IPCC ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’ report.

This report was a multi-year effort that involved more than 200 authors from 65 countries who reviewed over 14,000 scientific papers. 

The report showed, among many other things, that the last decade was hotter than any period in the past 125,000 years. The report also showed that unequivocally, the climate change we are seeing is caused by humans. 

As well, scientists can now link specific weather events to human-made climate change. That heat dome that resulted in the deaths of over 500 people in British Columbia was made 150 times more likely due to human-caused climate change.

In early September, an unprecedented editorial appeared in over 200 medical journals.

The “Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health” editorial pointed out that “The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C and to restore nature.”

 The authors also noted that “Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world”.

A survey of 10,000 young people (aged 16-25 years) in 10 countries found that “Climate change and inadequate governmental responses are associated with climate anxiety and distress in many children and young people.”

Also in early September, “A joint message for the protection of creation” was released by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

They pointed out the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation. Those in leadership roles (that’s you) should “choose people-centred profits; make short-term sacrifices to safeguard all our futures; become leaders in the transition to just and sustainable economies. ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ (Lk 12:48)”

Finally, a new Oxford paper showed that “compared to continuing with a fossil-fuel-based system, a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars — even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy.” 

The faster that we transition, the more money we will save because renewable costs keep dropping (like computers and other technologies) while fossil fuel costs (adjusted for inflation) really have not changed much in the past century. Some interesting analysis of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and nuclear is also included (spoiler alert, they are both more expensive than wind, solar, and battery storage).

So there you have it. From the worlds of science, medicine, religion, and economics, the message is clear. This 44th session of parliament has to boldly address the climate emergency. 

It will be good for our health and good for the economy. Canadians are depending on you to get the job done.

Gary Bota