Jody Overduin, left, organized a group of people to deliver an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report to MP Larry Bagnell’s office in Whitehorse on Oct. 24, falling in step with a national 350.org initiative. (Julien Gignac/Yukon News)

Letter calling for ‘emergency debate’ about climate change delivered to MP Bagnell

The action was part of a national 350.org initiative

A group of 12 Yukoners delivered a signed letter to MP Larry Bagnell’s office, demanding that an “emergency debate” be instigated in the House of Commons in relation to an international climate change report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a special report that suggests limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees rather than 2.0 degrees. Doing so, a summary of the report says, could reduce the impacts to land and water environments. It “could reduce the number of people both exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050.”

The organization 350.org kick-started a national initiative urging people to deliver a copy of the report to their respective MPs.

“We are asking that you pledge that, before the next election, you will propose, champion and support legislation to update Canada’s climate policies and bring them in line with the urgency called for in the IPCC report,” says a copy of the letter that was hand-delivered to Bagnell’s office on Oct. 24.

“We need to strengthen our international climate commitments, stop fossil fuel expansion that scientists keep telling us our climate can’t handle, and build a 100 per cent renewable energy economy that respects Indigenous rights, and works for every single person in Canada,” it says.

Resident Jody Overduin organized the Whitehorse delivery.

“This was a really clear ask, a tangible thing I felt I could do, so I signed up,” she told the News. “Scientists have been warning us for decades about climate change. Whether you believe it or not, the impacts are happening now.”

Overduin wants to see more of a focus on renewable energy in the Yukon, she said.

“We have the potential to change things for the better here. I think change happens more easily here than it could in other areas. I feel like we could be a leading example,” she said.

Leet Mueller, also at the drop-off, said Canadians need to listen to scientists and reflect that in how policies and laws are changed.

“I feel it’s a worldwide change and we all need to be part of it,” she said. “I think (Bagnell) could bring our voice to the federal level and speak to stopping fossil fuels, buying pipelines.”

The letter says a meeting with Bagnell has been scheduled for Oct. 26.

Bagnell told the News it’s “great that people are coming onside with our goal to dramatically cut greenhouse gases.”

Bagnell said there are 15 renewable energy projects found across the territory, including a solar project in Old Crow and windmills near Kluane Lake.

There are “50 huge” projects of that ilk in Canada, Bagnell said.

“I’ll certainly continue to push. I’ve been doing this for two decades now. I’ll let the minister know that people in the Yukon are also interested and supportive in severe cuts in greenhouse gases,” he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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