755-2019-October 5 - Poll confirms “climate crisis as world’s 'most important issue”...
An eight country, international poll commissioned by a UK anti-racism group “Hope not Hate” confirms our
“climate crisis” as the world’s 'most important issue', more important than either migration or terrorism.
The survey demostrates that the public understands the scale of the problem and wants governments to
take strong and decisive action to address this emergency.
The poll also suggests the crisis could have a huge impact on racism and conflict in future years unless it
is tackled now. Three-quarters of the public surveyed think the world is facing a “climate emergency” that
could become “extremely dangerous”. An overwhelming majority in each country said they were already
seeing the influence of climate change in extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods. Two-
thirds describe it as a direct threat to ordinary people in their country. The poll reveals widespread alarm
that the crisis is on the brink of spinning out of control, with 64% in the UK, 70% in Germany, 74% in
Brazil and 57% in the US agreeing with the statement “time is running out to save the planet”. The poll
also found support for tougher measures to cut emissions, including a halt to coal mining, an end to oil
and gas drilling and increased taxes on frequent fliers.
A few weeks ago, a global climate strike was declared. An estimated six million people, including more
than half a million in Montreal and more than a million in Germany demonstrated in the streets for climate
action. The protests took place across 4,500 locations in 150 countries and is a part of the “school strike
for climate movement”, inspired by 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. More shut-
downs and demonstrations are planned for next week in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other
major cities across the world.
The United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23rd was meant to highlight real promises by
presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives to wean the global economy from fossil fuels and
avoid the worst effects of global warming. Despite the protests, China made no promises and the United
States was silent, having vowed earlier to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The U.S. silence is explained
in part by the fact that the State of California has joined nearly two dozen other states to file a lawsuit
against the Trump administration for revoking the State’s air pollution standards for cars and light trucks. Auto
emissions are California’s single largest source of greenhouse gases. This action is only the US
Administration’s latest regulatory rollback of laws aimed at slowing the climate crisis.
The contrast between the slow pace of action in the United States (and Canada) and the urgency of the
problem was underscored by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who excoriated world leaders for their
“business as usual” approach. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, her voice
quavering with rage. “If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
Climate change is the most significant issue on earth and yet we have provincial premiers in Canada
including from New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta fighting the idea of a carbon tax,
while federal Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer promises to scrap the tax.
In New Brunswick, we have experienced serious climate-related changes that have produced
unprecedented heat waves, major flooding in the St. John River Valley and a recent hurriicane that
produced high winds, extensive flooding, fallen trees and damaged houses. Last week, Houston, Texas
was bombarded by a tropical storm that dropped 25 to 40 inches of rain in the area – that’s inches not
W.E. (Bill) Belliveau
It seems to me that in the view of many of our leaders Climate Change is not an issue, is not an imminent
threat or if it’s an issue, the fix should be somebody else’s responsibility, in other words if we have a
problem, we might need to fix it but not in my back yard
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres is calling for the elimination of new coal plants by 2020. He says
climate change is already costing the world tens of billions of Euros. The global production of coal has
shrunk by half over the last few years but it’s still the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel and it’s still the main fuel
source for the production of electricity -- because it’s cheap .
In the current federal election, no one is promising big climate actions. Here’s their milquetoast response:
The Liberals promise to plant two billion trees in a $3 billion plan to conserve forests, agricultural
lands, wetlands and coastal areas. They promise carbon neutrality by 2050 and fifty percent tax-
cuts for companies that manufacture or develop products with zero emissions. They propose
interest-free loans up to $40,000 to make homes more energy efficient but don’t address
reductiuons in automobile emissions (unleass we assume it’s the carbon tax).
The Conservatives promise to meet Canada’s Paris commitment to cut emissions by 30 per cent
below 2005 levels by 2030 but provide few specifics. They would scrap the carbon tax. They
believe Canada could make little impact on climate change by reducing emissions, so they would
make Canadian oil and gas cleaner. They would also offer green-home tax credits for energy-
saving renovations that would cost $1.8 billion over three years.
The NDP promises to help stabilize global temperature rise to 1.5oC. It would continue carbon
pricing and clamp down on big polluters. It would retrofit all housing stock in Canada by 2050,
giving low-interest loans to homeowners. It would power Canada with carbon-free electricity by
2030 and pay for everything by redirecting billions of dollars spent on oil and gas subsidies.
The Greens pledge $3.2 billion over five years to help keep the global temperature rise to 1.5oC.
They would go beyond Paris targets, promising a 60 per cent cut in carbon emissions below 2005
levels by 2030 by setting emission limits and penalties for industries. By 2030, all of Canada’s
electricity would come from renewable sources. The party would also fund building retrofits and
ensure new construction meets carbon neutral standards by 2030
Canada is responsible for about two percent of global carbon emissions a year. If you count up all the
carbon the country has released since 1900, we’re in the global top 10. Per person, we emit the same
amount of carbon as two and a half people living in the United Kingdom or 10 people in Zimbabwe.
The climate system doesn’t care how we cut emissions: but the science is clear that the faster we do so,
the better off we’ll be. If we want to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees C and 1.5
degrees C, we don’t have a lot of time. 2030 and 2050 goals don’t recognize this reality.