Climate Action 2020 – What’s coming?

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Green New DealWhat’s coming in Climate Action 2020 depends on you and me. Together we can make a difference.

2020 is the start of the decade where in many respects we will either survive or we won’t. We have already hit 1 degree of warming over pre-industrial levels and we are seeing the results of this world wide with record heat, fires as never before, melting ice in record amounts and flooding happening almost annually when they call it a once in a hundred years flood. What happens if we reach 2 degrees or even 3.5 degrees warming as the experts are predicting if we carry on as usual, let alone not go above the 1.5 degrees warming target set out at the Paris accord in 2015. The latest climate meeting in Spain in December ended in no real agreement of moving forwards because of countries like the US, Brazil, China and India. Canada of course has a new minority Liberal government. We have heard pledges now of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Is this just putting off the changes that need to be made now until later? They do also say they are aiming to surpass their 2030 targets but to date their own plans will not reach these targets. So what are we, the people, to do in the face of all of this?

Let me first share some of my own reading the last little while. First is a book called Falter by Bill McKibben a long time climate activist. He first chronicles how we have arrived at our current state of climate affairs. Then he offers the hope that we still have an “outside chance” that we can avert disaster. First we must move away from our dependence on fossil fuels which has got us into our current mess. I might add that the way we eat is not sustainable for our planet either, but more on that at another time. This means moving rapidly to adopting renewable energies for our energy needs. (Of course reducing consumption of energy in the first place is a good way to start!). The second point he makes is a strange one – Nonviolence. This past year we have seen the rise of peaceful protests by the people to inform governments that they must make policy changes and implement them. We have Greta Thunberg to thank for this as she has championed the use of protest to let the governments know we want change. I do believe this movement (Fridays for Future) will continue to grow as we really have no other choice to make governments make the changes they need to make.

A second book is Getting to Zero by Tony Clarke. This focuses on what Canada needs to do. Besides again chronicling how we got to our current state of climate affairs he points to three areas of importance that desperately need to be addressed. These include energy, transportation and construction (i.e. housing and buildings). He states if we can make key changes in these three areas we can achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Along the way he would adhere to THE GREEN NEW DEAL that has come to characterize the social movement that needs to occur to hold governments to account in regard to Climate Change.  (More on Naomi Klein’s book “On Fire” at another time.)

Finally a third book is “Inconspicuous Consumption” by Tatiana Schlossberg. In this very readable and somewhat humorous book she talks of the environmental impact we don’t know we have. She focusses on the 3 Fs – Food, Fashion and Fuel, which are all areas where we – yes that is you and me – can make changes to make a difference in our carbon footprints.

So, what is ahead for us on Denman Island in 2020. The opportunities are there for everyone to get involved. We have a Climate Action Committee under DIRA and we are currently charting a course forwards for Denman. Our next meeting is Jan. 21st at 6:30 pm at the community school. Come and join us. Hope to see you there.

Ron Wilson