Choose Wisely – A Comparison of Climate Change Plans of the Federal Parties in Canada
The world is standing on a precipice as the climate crisis intensifies. We are already seeing events that were predicted to happen years in the future, are happening right now. For instance, the Greenland ice sheet melt that was predicted to melt in 2070 just a couple of weekends ago. This means we have less time than we thought to stop climate breakdown before it ends human civilization as we know it. The survival of the human species is at stake.
This is why elections across the globe are going to be crucial in ensuring that the right political parties & people are in power to enact the necessary legislation to help us transition to a clean & caring economy. This will not only ensure that the human species & our way of life survives, but is improved & enhanced because of the transition!
In Canada, we have four choices with four plans brought by the Green Party of Canada (Greens), the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP), The Liberal Party of Canada (Liberals) & the Conservative Party of Canada (Conservatives). Their respective climate plans are titled ‘’Mission Possible’’, ‘’Power To Change ’’, ‘’The Pan-Canadian Framework’’& ‘’A Real Plan’’.
Here’s a breakdown of what each other party will do according to a range of different metrics:
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Reduce Green House Gas Emissions
A phased & gradual decline in greenhouse gas emissions is a must for slowing down the effects of climate change. A commonly used metaphor to describe the importance of this goal is imagining you’re in a bathtub that is starting to overflow. The first thing you do isn’t grab the mop but turn off the tap. By 2030, the Greens have pledged to reduce the GHG emissions to 272 megatons. The NDP has promised to lower it to 450 megatons. Whereas Liberals & Conservatives have both pledged the same amount of 511 megatons. Whereas all parties have targets for 2030, no party except for the Greens has committed to reducing GHG emissions to zero by 2060.
Declare A Climate Emergency
By declaring a climate emergency means calling all hands on deck. Recognizing there’s an emergency and setting up a framework to deal with the consequences. The Liberals, NDP & Greens have all committed to declaring a climate emergency and the Liberals & NDP introduced bills in parliament declaring it – but the Conservatives have not.
Establish An All-Party War Cabinet
The impending challenge that we face has never been confronted by the human species and the only other comparable mass-mobilization happened during World War II when all aspects of civilian & military life were organized around one goal. A similar mobilization of resources on a grand scale is necessary to tackle the climate crisis, which requires all-party cooperation & a break down of partisanship to work towards preventing the effects of climate breakdown. Currently, only the Greens have proposed a War Cabinet.
Eliminate All Fossil-Fuel Subsidies
Often, green tech is lambasted for not being affordable without subsidies, but no one talks about fossil fuel subsidies and how prevalent they are. Ontario alone subsidized fossil fuels to the tune of $700 million this year! The Greens, NDP & Liberals are all in favour of eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, but the Liberals will do it in 2025. The Conservatives haven’t committed to banning these subsidies.
Fracking is an incredibly invasive & destructive means of extracting fossil fuels. In addition to the groundwater pollution it causes, it also leads to air pollution & an increase in the potential for oil spills that harm the soil & surrounding vegetation. Fracking has also been blamed for earthquakes because of the high pressure used to extract oil & gas from rock & the storage of excess wastewater on fracking sites. Which is why it surprises Canadians that only the Greens have agreed to ban fracking completely. Communities across Canada that are affected by fracking are speaking against it. Political parties should listen!
Electric Vehicle Revolution
Across the globe, electric vehicles (EVs) are being heralded as the next transition in automobile technology. While demand is growing, in Canada, we’re lagging far behind in the kind of infrastructure required to support & grow this transition. The Greens are the only ones committed to having all cars be electric by 2030. However, both the Greens & NDP have committed to having all new vehicles be zero-emission by 2040. Additionally, the Conservatives, along with the Greens & NDP, have committed to building a cross-country electric charger system that will ensure the EV transition is here to stay! The Liberals have yet to announce their EV strategy.
Lastly, a complete reorganization of our buildings and infrastructure is necessary to move us from the old economy to the new green economy. In order to do this, we must update our urban planning efforts and our bylaws to include retrofitting buildings and ensuring any new buildings be designed for zero-emissions. The NDP & Greens have committed to ensuring all new buildings be zero-emission by 2030 but only the Greens have committed to retrofitting all existing buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
So these are the choices in front of us today. The election is a month away and the IPCC report has claimed that we have 11 years left to turn the tide in our fight against climate breakdown. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope because while human beings can be weighed down by our evolutionary baggage of xenophobia, short-term thinking & disinformation.
We are also capable of incredible acts of altruism, enormous feats of compassion, and the ability to come together in times of crisis. Who we vote into office will have a direct impact on which of those human conditions will prevail. Today there is a lot of fear-mongering that goes into the political discourse, but you can vote for fear or you can vote for hope. The decision is yours.