We are hearing all around us declarations of a climate emergency. What exactly is this and what does it mean to us as individuals, as a community and beyond?
Basically we are in an emergency state due to excessive carbon emissions which in turn is due to burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). This has resulted in CO2 and other gases building up in the environment causing the earth to warm up. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in 1850 the earth has averaged an increase in 1 degree (2.4 deg in Canada). Already we are seeing the effects of this global warming on the earth. (Weather extremes and melting ice leading to rising waters, heat waves and severe weather storms). As the earth continues to warm up things will only get worse. Scientists tell us that we need to keep the earth from warming up to 2 degrees or even better only 1.5 deg. In order to achieve this we must ACT NOW to reduce carbon emissions and stop the temperature from increasing.
The big question then becomes what do we need to do to face down this Emergency and how quickly do we need to get going? Well again the scientists, I am using the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are telling us we need to reduce our carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
How are we doing so far? A recently released report card (Aug. 22) by the Climate Action Network (a global association of more than 1300 climate groups) states that the US and Japan are on track with their policies to hit 4 deg of warming, not 1.5 or even 2 deg. Guess what, Canada is lumped in with these 2 countries and on track to hit 4 deg as well. France, Italy, Germany and the UK are on track to hit 3 deg. These countries make up the G7 which is meeting at the end of August. So none of us is coming close to what we need to do. As well the UN is having a climate summit in September to spur everyone on to change their plans to meet the 1.5 deg target. We are truly in an emergency state.
This means that not only countries need to change their policies but WE need to change the way we do things as well since we all contribute to climate change in many ways.
So, on Denman Island we will be meeting on Sept. 18th at the Community Hall at 7 pm to get the Climate Action Train moving. Guy Dauncey, a long time climate activist will be here to help us get started and get all of our community engaged to do our part. So come out and join us and get on board the DI Climate Action Train.