Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre –
It’s not often that something truly shocks me, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report warning that we have twelve years to stop climate catastrophe hit me like a sucker-punch.
The picture the IPCC’s report paints is a grim one: if we fail to limit warming at 1.5°C, we can expect more frequent and severe drought, flooding, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs by 2040.
The IPCC’s report is a wake-up call for decision makers to treat the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves. We need bold leadership and a real plan. Unfortunately, the Ford government is offering neither.
They’re scrapping cap-and-trade, which although flawed, put a price on carbon and generated revenue that could be used to mitigate climate change. They have no plan of their own to reduce emissions and are ruling out any form of carbon pricing.
To make matters worse, Doug Ford has appointed himself the leader of an anti-carbon-tax crusade, making alliances with Jason Kenney and other right-wing politicians who are determined to end even piecemeal attempts to address climate change.
We hear from the Fords and Kenneys of the world that a price on carbon is elitist, but nothing could be further from the truth. The people who will suffer most if we fail to take our climate responsibilities seriously are the poor and vulnerable. While the richest can afford a proverbial lifeboat, isolating themselves from the worst effects of climate catastrophe, the rest of us won’t be so lucky.
Moreover, who benefits from failing to tackle climate change? Astonishingly, just 100 big companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Opposing carbon pricing has nothing to do with “standing up for the little guy” and everything to do with giving massive corporations a free pass to pollute.
At the legislature, you can count on me and our NDP caucus to stand up for carbon pricing, stronger environmental protections, science-based emission reduction targets, and legislation allowing citizens to sue fossil fuel companies for climate-related damages.
Ottawa Centre is full of environmental leaders. Let’s get organized to win the environmental justice we deserve. Contact our office if you want to receive updates, volunteer or have ideas to share. Call 613-722-6414 or send an email to Jhardenfirstname.lastname@example.org. Our constituency office is located at 109 Catherine St.