The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report stating that climate change is causing extreme damage that will only worsen unless the world takes drastic measures. This fact is both unsurprising and very alarming. As a result of the report, the usefulness of the 2015 Paris Accord, an agreement among states to cut emissions, is being questioned. It is clear that the current level of emissions is both unsustainable and will cause irreversible damage to our planet.

The effects of climate change are felt in Canada, and North America more broadly, in instances of intense heat, fires, and flooding, and it will only worsen. The Green Party of Canada, as a result of the troubling report, is redoubling its efforts to combat climate change. The party has updated its original goal of “net-zero” greenhouse gases by 2050 to a more aggressive one. Elizabeth May of the Canadian Green Party has stated,

“Our goal should be a 60 percent cut below 2005 levels by 2030, with a significant commitment to leave fossil fuels in the ground, on a pathway to net negative emissions by 2050.”

The statement is accompanied by measures that the party feels that Canada should take, such as ending producer subsidies for fossil fuels, supporting solar roofs in private residences, and building a national electricity corridor for 100% renewable power, among many others. However, the likelihood of aggressive green measures coming to fruition is questionable, and this problem is not going away. As a resource-rich state, there are competing interests within the debate. The oil and gas industry, prominent in Alberta, has pushed back against federal regulations; and profits from industry significantly influence the federal government’s decisions. However, climate change is worsening, and the fact remains that our current efforts and developments are not sustainable and are not enough. We as a country need to decide how we will meet emission targets and how we are going to reconcile our interests. 

Danna Houssian

Danna graduated with an M.A from Simon Fraser University and a B.A from the University of Victoria. She is highly interested in international relations and defense.

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