Canada's federal government needs to implement better policies to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions, said a group of climate change activists who rallied in Sudbury Saturday afternoon.
“We want to let Canadian governments know that Canadians are really concerned about climate change,” said Karen Bringleson, who organized the rally near Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault's office at the corner of Brady Street and Paris Street.
“We're not happy with the government's direction on climate change.”
About 20 people participated in the rally, where they held up signs that read “Defend our climate,” and “What will we tell our grand-kids?”
The rally was part of a national day of action on climate change in 130 Canadian cities and towns, organized by 40 environmental groups, including LeadNow, the Council of Canadians and the Environmental Defence Fund.
Bringleson said she was especially concerned about the increasing development of the tar sands in Alberta. “Our government needs to make the development of the tar sands less reckless,” she said.
“It's developing so quickly that there's no control.”
Thibeault was not able to attend the event, but gave the activists his nod of approval in a written statement.
“Developing green energy industries is an opportunity for a dynamic new era of job creation, building a competitive advantage for Canada in environmental technologies and practices, which in turn help foster innovations in manufacturing in communities like Sudbury,” Thibeault wrote.
David Pearson, an earth sciences professor at Laurentian University, and co-chair of the 2009 Ontario Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation, participated in the rally, and agreed that Canada must focus on green energy.
“Ontario has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions,” Pearson said. “We've closed our coal power stations.”
But he added provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan have increased their greenhouse gas emissions due to the development of the tar sands.
Pearson said extreme weather events that were once rare occurrences – such as the recent typhoon in the Philippines – now happen more frequently thanks to climate change.
“There has not been any international success in arriving at an agreement to cut greenhouse gases. In fact, the opposite has taken place,” Pearson said.
Global negotiations on climate changed, planned to occur in Paris in 2015, could mark a changing point on that front, Pearson said.
In the meantime, the activists worked to get the word out in Sudbury one supportive car honk at a time.