Elizabeth May: Solving the climate crisis is ‘Mission Possible’

Clearly we need an Ecocide Law to hold corrupt politicians accountable for criminal acts endangering the planet.


File photograph of Elizabeth May by Alex Tétreault

On Monday night, June 17th, the Parliament of Canada held a last few hours of debate on the Liberal motion that Canada accepts that we are in a climate emergency. The original motion had been tabled on May 16th. As Minister Catherine McKenna spoke in the chamber that day, I launched the Green response to the national clamour for a Green New Deal. Paul Manly (Green MP from Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and I launched Mission: Possible, calling for the complete elimination of fossil fuel use by 2050, slashing dependency by 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

We can see no other way for Canada to pull our fair share of the weight to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change imperative that we must adhere to our Paris Agreement goal of holding global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees C.

Failing to meet that target, even allowing the global average temperature increase to reach 2 degrees C, will create unacceptably high risks that we will pass a point of no return. Human civilization and the extinction of millions of species requires that we take the climate emergency seriously.

It will not be easy, but we know it is possible.

The May 16th climate emergency debate was adjourned. It did not surface on our agenda again until the night of June 17th, with a time limited opportunity to consider the matter.

I addressed a nearly empty chamber.

All the other leaders were in Toronto for the Raptors Rally. That is not something I would criticize. The national Raptors reverie has been good for our spirits. We want to celebrate.

But why did the government pick that night for debate?

And, much, much worse, after passing a motion that we are in a climate emergency, why did they – the very next day – commit billions of federal public dollars to build a pipeline?

That pipeline will violate indigenous rights, threaten every waterway it crosses, the Salish Sea through which tankers will navigate and, at the same, time increase our climate warming emissions. It is reckless.

Worse, given the scale of the threat of climate breakdown, it borders on the criminal. MORE

Extreme weather may finally make climate change a ballot-box issue

In Prince Edward County we  are still recovering from flooding as waves nibble at our shoreline. The County’s soon to be formed Environmental Committee will have its work cut out for it as it will be forced to reexamine past policies, revise them,and set out a vision for a new, local, and sustainable green economy . There is no doubt that  climate change will be a ballot box issue.

Voters have long been unmoved by scientists’ dire climate predictions, but fires, floods and other catastrophic weather events might cause a shift.


A fire burns near High Level, Alta., in May 2019, forcing thousands from their homes (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/CP)

Back in the spring of 2016, when images of a voracious forest fire menacing Fort McMurray, Alta., were dominating the news, reporters asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if climate change was to blame. As the unofficial capital of Alberta’s oil sands, Fort McMurray figures prominently in the bitter debate over fossil fuels and global warming, so Trudeau responded carefully. “It’s well-known that one of the consequences of climate change will be a greater prevalence of extreme weather events around the planet,” he allowed, before quickly adding, “Pointing at any one incident and saying, ‘This is because of that’ is neither helpful nor entirely accurate.”

Trudeau drew criticism from some who thought he had missed a chance to highlight the heavy price humanity is already paying for making the planet hotter and drier. But his answer was a pretty standard political dodge at the time. Even Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said “no credible climate scientist” would draw a neat cause-and-effect link between climate change and the Fort Mac fire. Then-NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said, “It’s not time to start laying blame.” 

A lot has changed, though, in the past three years. During severe flooding in Eastern Canada this spring, for instance, Trudeau didn’t hesitate to raise the alarm about climate change. “Canadians are already seeing the costs,” he said.

READ: Bill McKibben on how we might avert climate change suicide

Other Liberals were even more outspoken. “Yes, climate change is real,” said MP Will Amos, whose Quebec riding, on the Ottawa River, was hit badly by the floods. “Yes, it is wreaking havoc on our infrastructure.” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the senior voice from Western Canada in Trudeau’s cabinet, linked global warming to the floods, as well as fires on Prairie grasslands and in boreal forests. Goodale said he didn’t want to get into a partisan argument, but stressed, “I think we all have to learn the lessons of climate change—the impacts here are powerful and dangerous and damaging.”

The shift from pussyfooting around how climate change leads to more extreme weather events to talking about it so forcefully hasn’t happened by chance. It’s the result of a concerted effort by researchers to create a new field called “attribution science.” The challenge they faced was that climate is so complicated that teasing out a single cause for, say, a flood or a fire is impossible. So they devised methods for calculating how much climate change had contributed. The watershed report was published by researchers from the University of Oxford in 2004, explaining how global warming caused by humans had at least doubled the risk of the heat wave that baked Europe the previous year.

Since that landmark study, attribution science has taken off, including in Canada. The federal government’s “Canada’s Changing Climate Report,” released early this year, listed 14 Canadian attribution studies published from 2015-17, on everything from forest fires, to flooding, to thinning Arctic sea ice. 

In a widely noted report, Environment Canada researchers analyzed the awful 2017 forest fire season in British Columbia, when 65,000 were driven from their homes and millions left breathing smoke-filled air. They concluded that the extreme summer temperatures behind those fires were made more than 20 times more likely by human-caused climate change.  MORE

AOC! AOC! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Lays It On The Line For Green New Deal

The two videos below, one American, one Canadian, show why activism is so important now and  why so many environmental organizations are  organizing for a Green New Deal for Canada.  

Image result for alexandria ocasio-cortez sunrise movementAt a Sunrise Movement rally, on Monday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized “both sides” of the aisle for sidelining climate action. Photograph by Alex Wong / Getty

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a fiery speech at an event sponsored by the Sunrise Movement on May 13. The symposium at Howard University marked the end of a 30-day campaign by the Sunrise Movement designed to educate voters across the nation about the Green New Deal proposed by AOC and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Now folks, politicians give speeches all the time. Most of them are nothing more than hot air, filled with empty promises and blue sky blathering. The speakers know their promises will never be fulfilled. The audience knows the promises they are hearing are just sloganeering. We all wink and nod and pretend we are witnessing some historic peroration, knowing in our heart of hearts that it is all window dressing designed to obscure the real political wheeling and dealing that goes on in the background.

She pushes back hard against the namby pamby, go slow, middle of the road policies put forth by Joe Biden and clears the air about charges by Republicans that she seeks to make America a socialist country by reminding her audience that a strong nation, a proud nation, a great nation is one that tends to the needs of the poor and the powerless.

Some speeches leave a permanent mark on society. This speech by AOC may well stand the test of time. Please watch the entire video below. It is just over 11 minutes long and it may be the best speech of the 21st century so far.

SOURCE

And if you need more convincing that Canadians face an urgent climate crisis, watch this video by Elizabeth May:

Even With Fewer Seats, Justin Trudeau Should Try To Form Minority: Elizabeth May

 

Image result for elizabeth mayGreen Party Leader Elizabeth May says not enough is being done to tackle climate change, and the future is at risk if that doesn’t change.(Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Elizabeth May has high hopes for the 2019 federal election.

OTTAWA —  If the 2019 election ends up in a minority situation but the Tories have the most seats, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May thinks the Liberal government should try to form a new  government with support from other parties.

In an interview with HuffPost Canada’s politics podcast ‘Follow-Up,’ May said that if the campaign results in a hung Parliament, “yes, of course” the party in power should try to convince the governor general that they can hold the confidence of the House.

“We’re now up to 17 elected Greens across Canada. And that’s pretty cool.”

May thinks the party’s support is due in part to the public’s increasing concern over climate change but also to “a general disillusionment with the idea that any of the old three parties tend to disappoint and will say one thing in an election and something else afterwards.”

“I don’t think that, you know, adherence to ignorance is really something that encourages voters to support you.”
—Elizabeth May

She remains concerned that support for her party could swing back to the Liberals or the NDP during a campaign when voters are told a vote for the Green candidate would indirectly help elect a Conservative member. But she’s hopeful “fear factor voting” has prompted enough voter remorse that Canadians will feel free to vote for candidates they believe in.

What’s more, May said, is that while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer may represent the same policies as former prime minister Stephen Harper, he is less polarizing a figure. Not that she thinks he should become prime minister. She calls him “unfit to govern” due to his position on climate change. MORE

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History will judge ‘reckless, even criminal’ politicians ignoring climate change crisis: Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May’s Greens pledge to end foreign oil imports

 


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May stands next to Paul Manly, who won the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection for the Green Party, Manly’s daughter Aven and wife Samantha at a press conference on Parliament Hill on May 10, 2019. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

The Green Party of Canada has introduced a sweeping climate change plan that promises to stop foreign oil imports, create a non-partisan federal cabinet and turn Canada’s economy carbon-free by the end of the 21st century.

Leader Elizabeth May unveiled the 20-point plan on Thursday in Ottawa, pledging that a Green government, if elected would immediately ramp up action, including new infrastructure initiatives to spread renewable energy as well as programs to save and conserve energy.

“Some might think it’s mission impossible to do what’s required,” May said at a news conference on Parliament Hill. “But we’ve costed the numbers. It’s mission possible, we can do it.”

She said further details would be released in the lead-up to the 2019 election campaign and that she would allow the numbers to be reviewed by Parliament’s independent budget officer.

May unveiled her plan as Liberals and New Democrats pushed for MPs to declare that Canada is facing a climate change emergency that threatens the country’s economy and ecosystems. She is also riding a wave of momentum that follows a stunning byelection victory by Green candidate Paul Manly in the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, as well as a strong showing for provincial Greens in an April election in Prince Edward Island that saw the party form the official Opposition in a minority legislature.

May said that her party’s plan would require Canada to take a war-like stance to address climate change, by appointing a federal cabinet made up of politicians from different parties.

“We are in a climate emergency,” she said. “Climate change is not an environmental issue. It’s a massive security threat and it must be dealt with by government at all levels as a security threat that requires taking bold action. It’s best done if we can possibly do it in a non-partisan way, which is why in a time of war, the opposition parties were invited in the inner cabinet to make sure that decisions that were taken were not subject to becoming political footballs.” MORE

The big battle over climate change is just starting

In the House of Commons’ emergency debate on climate change, Elizabeth May  laid out the dangers of inaction and the promise of a Green economy in a remarkable, impassioned speech HERE. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Photo: Wayne Polk/Flickr

On Wednesday, May 15, the federal NDP will use an opposition day in the House of Commons to focus like a laser on climate change. Jagmeet Singh’s party will make some sweeping and bold policy proposals.

That is only one sign that the war of words over global warming is getting hotter. In that war, the who-cares-about-climate-change side seems to have gotten the jump on the pro-environment side.

The Doug Ford government of Ontario will soon be airing blatantly one-sided ads with a simple and simplistic message: carbon taxes make everything more expensive.

The ads devote a few seconds to say there are better ways than taxation to deal with climate change. But their list of those better ways is bizarre: hold the biggest polluters accountable, reduce trash, and keep Ontario’s lakes clean. The first way is part of the current federal government’s carbon emission reduction plan, while the latter two would no doubt be salutary, if they were to happen. The ads do not explain, however, what, if anything, they have to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s time to call climate change what it is — an emergency — and act accordingly.” -deposed Ontario environment commissioner Dianne Saxe

During Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s time, the Ontario auditor general criticized government ads that looked and sounded too politically partisan. She advocated that her office should have the power to vet all government advertising for accuracy and context.

The Ford Conservatives, then in opposition, promised to heed that advice. Doug Ford did not wait even a full year before he brazenly broke that promise.While Ford and his allies, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, take an axe to efforts to combat climate change — in the courts, in their legislatures and in their propaganda — sympathetic right-of-centre pundits are working overtime to provide something resembling an ideology for their movement.

In the pages of the National Post, former oil sands executive Gwyn Morgan engages in a sophisticated form of climate-change denial. He argues that the disastrous floods we have been experiencing in parts of Canada are the result of a long and cold winter, with record high snowfalls. “Isn’t climate change supposed to be about global warming?” he asks rhetorically.

The answer is yes — with a big qualification. Climate change is, indeed, producing far higher temperatures, overall, than in the past. But what does this warming trend do? It melts glaciers, raises sea levels and adds moisture to the air. All of these effects drive erratic, fluctuating and often violent weather events. MORE

 

Jagmeet Singh’s call for fossil fuels ban leapfrogs the Leap Manifesto

“The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front? We shall see.” – Thomas Walkom

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on May 7 in Ottawa. “The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front?” asks Thomas Walkom.
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have discovered climate change. 

The party had been reluctant to take too uncompromising a stand on global warming for fear of alienating potential voters. That reluctance has gone.

Now the NDP is calling for an end to the entire fossil-fuel industry in Canada.

“The future of our country cannot involve fracking,” Singh said Monday in Ottawa, referring to a controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas. “It cannot involve the burning of any fossil fuel.”

He said Canada must adhere to carbon reduction targets that are much stricter than those proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government if it to seriously fight climate change.

And he declared that he now opposes ambitious plans by British Columbia’s NDP government to build a massive liquefied natural gas project in the province’s north.

[In the past] the Leap Manifesto’s call to ban any new fossil-fuel energy projects, from pipelines to fracking, was seen as too radical. No more. Now, with his call for a Canada free of fossil fuels, Singh has outleapt the Leapers. MORE