Image: Tavis Ford

Image: Tavis Ford

The conservative Canadian government headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper has consistently moved the country away from sustainable practices and environmental accountability. In 2011, the government came under fire after it withdrew Canada from the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement which commits its parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. It also disbanded the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2012, a panel tasked with reporting to the government Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. While the government has also taken some measures aimed at curbing emissions, these have been largely insufficient. Disappointed, 71 Canadian scientists have authored their own climate policy recommendations for the nation.

“We believe that putting options on the table is long overdue in Canada,” write the 71 authors of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues report.

Recognizing that climate change has effects across multiple domains, the authors not only include climate scientists, but sociologists or political scientists. Catherine Potvin, a climate and policy researcher at McGill University in Montreal, was the organizer of the report. She says the aim is to encourage Canadians, and ultimately the government, to support “ambitious and thoughtful commitments to emission reductions”. Thus, the report seeks to create awareness in the wake of the scheduled talks in Paris, December of this year, where the world government will negotiate a global reduction in emissions target.

The authors detailed a policy road map for Canada to achieve 100% reliance on low-carbon electricity by 2035. They suggest cutting emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and at least 80% of emissions by midcentury. This could be achieved by setting a price on carbon through tax or pollution permit trading system (like in the EU), adding more solar and wind power, and eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels. “There is no miracle cure that will fix the problem. It’s about taking small steps toward a longer goal,” Potvin said for Science.

Hopefully, the report will garner some attention and raise awareness on the issue. The idea that climate change is real and that there actual solutions to mitigating them needs to sink in for the laymen Canadian.

Graph illustrates how useless the Kyoto Protocol has been. Image: GC.CA

Graph illustrates how useless the Kyoto Protocol has been. Image: GC.CA

 

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