As a delegate to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, I am looking forward to bringing Yukon voices into a discussion amongst world leaders.
I recognize that for northerners, as well as other peoples around the world, it’s a survival issue and we need to meet this survival issue head-on.
Most of us now accept that the consequences of inaction on reducing emissions will mean widespread water and food shortages and serious damage to ecosystems around the globe.
It’s becoming more and more apparent to Canadians that the federal government has failed to move in the right direction. Its approach has been to delay, ignore, and Ã as a consequence Ã ruin our reputation internationally.
Canada had a chance to do something positive before Copenhagen, and that was to pass the New Democratic Party’s Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. It would have set a long-term target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050 and a medium-term target to bring emissions 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
But the Conservatives and Liberals voted together, and sent the bill to committee, where it is effectively delayed until 2010.
By not passing this bill, we lost an opportunity to go into the Copenhagen meeting with some agreement on reaching real, science-based targets under our collective belts. Delays now mean bigger consequences later Ã and deeper emissions reductions later. The New Democratic Party wants to see a strong international agreement signed at Copenhagen that leads to emissions reductions based on strong science-based targets.
The agreement must contain principles of fairness for the Developing World, where there is mounting evidence of nonrenewable resources still being exploited and recognition that it is creating only a fraction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada has to do more on climate change, and Yukoners need to do more as well.
In the Yukon, the transportation sector is the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and virtually all our consumer goods are being trucked from down south.
This is not sustainable, and while I am in Copenhagen, one of the world’s most sustainable cities, I will be looking at how they are managing the change that is being forced upon us.
During the conference, I will be writing blog updates on what’s happening (www.ndpcaucusyukon.ca) and invite you to send me your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLA for Mount Lorne