Canada is a geographically large country, divided into geographic segments and politically disparate populations. We need leaders to lead us all to the fossil fuel free future.
Movement on the climate change front will only come if the people clamour for change. Politicians who make decisions on behalf of 37 million people will only act if they feel that political support requires it.
This support has to be communicated to them in every way possible: emails and letters to MPs, lawful demonstrations, dramatic actions in the streets, climate change questions in debates, individuals and groups divesting from fossil fuels, groups acting locally for change at the grassroots level, newspaper and online articles educating the public and demanding change, people and local environment groups working with local councillors for action on climate change at the municipal level and the City demanding change and action from higher levels of government, and clear action on reducing GHG emissions locally, not just plans.
Much of this support exists and in a way that is much more obvious than even a couple years ago. But it isn’t enough. The trajectory of carbon emissions from fossil fuel use is actually increasing globally and, despite Canada’s new net zero emission target by 2050, the federal Pan-Canadian Framework meant to address climate change doesn’t even meet our minimal Paris Agreement targets. The fossil fuel companies and their government partners are trying to tell us that we should support the sale of oil and gas as long as possible, as long as there is a market anywhere in the world for our product, that this makes us economically strong and without it, vague disaster. But we all know that every ton of carbon, wherever it is burned, adds to the burden on the entire planet and changes our climate just as it is changing the climate in the arctic or Bangladesh. All fossil fuel production must be wound down. But there is no plan to cease Canadian fossil fuel project approvals. Extraction of oil and gas continues unabated, in fact, it appears to be increasing faster than ever. This is completely inconsistent with a fossil fuel free planet. Whether this is ideology driven or driven by greed, it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that the climate is warming, droughts, fires and floods are destroying the livelihoods of millions of people around the world and the species that we humans share the planet with are suffering tremendous pain and loss of life as is becoming unbearable to watch right now in Australia.
We need our elected officials to lead, to bring us together for a single-minded purpose. Save our planet. Our leaders need to voice why and how Canada will move forward to a fossil fuel free country. How we are going to be a rich and prosperous country in the new fossil fuel free economy? Lay out the plan on how we will get there. Shoot down the arguments against moving off of fossil fuels. Reassure fossil fuel workers that life will in fact be better for everyone in the long run. Lead other countries on how to do this. Demonstrate leadership in difficult times, because don’t let anyone fool you, there are going to be very difficult times ahead and everyone will have to do their part. Our leaders must provide a vision for Canada that inspires a largely apathetic populous. They need to show us they are serious, demonstrate it with decisions that prove they know what is needed. Don’t give us piecemeal solutions. Give us the whole plan. Communicate better and regularly, on CBC, on radio and TV, at local meetings and townhalls, lay it out for us in the newspapers. Where is our environment minister?