Climate Rallies Abound

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Written by Scott Gilbert

Citizens across Canada banded together on Sunday March 11th to rally in support of Canada’s much needed commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Canada signed onto the bill in 1998, but when the Conservatives took power in January 2006, the idea of adhering to Kyoto was lost. In fact, the Clean Air Act, which was tabled in Ottawa during the fall of 2006, did not even mention Kyoto.

This past Sunday, people in Toronto gathered at Nathan Philips Square to show their commitment to the environment, and to demand the Canadian Government keep climate change at the top of their list of issues. In fact, on February 5th of this year, Parliament held a non-binding vote to reaffirm our commitment as a nation, to Kyoto. The vote passed 161-115 with members of the Conservative government voting against it.

Kyoto Rallies were also held last week in Calgary, Halifax, Lethbridge and London. Citizens are coming together to express their concern for the environment. As Myriam Hammami of the Sierra Club Atlantic said to CTV Atlantic last week, "we need to start thinking of the generations ahead of us". Furthermore, we need to begin thinking of those in developing nations, where climate change will make the hardest impact sooner. Western states have the resources and the money to protect their citizens longer, but those in other countries with less economic relief available, will be hit the hardest in our lifetime.

As is pointed out by George Monbiot, author of the acclaimed book “Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning”, Bangladesh for example, emits only 0.24 tonnes per capita of carbon (compared to the highest which is Luxemburg at 24.3), yet if sea levels rise by 1 meter, 21 per cent of the country could be flooded.

Accordingly, the World Health Organization reports that 150,000 people are dying per year as a result of climate change. The problem is getting larger than we ever would have imagined, and it will not get better until governments take serious action. Kyoto is a good start, and people rallying in support of it is magnificent. However, being the only existing international agreement that has been struck to address global warming, Kyoto calls for signatories to cut emissions by only a completely inadequate amount by the year 2012.

The Canadian government has an awful track record on the issue of climate change and their efforts to address the issue. Kyoto is a first step, and it is up to the citizens of this country to rally in support of even further action on climate change.

| More
Bookstore First Year