The following was sent by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, to the Globe and Mail, as a response to their recent Konrad Yakabuski opinion column, "Can an expanding economy be a low-carbon one?"
To the Editor,
Mr. Yakabuski's column is only the latest from your pages that sets up a dichotomy between those who call for deep decarbonization, as pledged in the Paris Agreement, and those who understand "reality." And, as in "The trouble with decoupling," no review of climate science is included in the assessment of reality. There is apparently a separate world called "Reality" where runaway global warming is a hypothetical problem but GDP is an emergency.
Without making far more ambitious pledges, globally and domestically, the governments of industrialized nations will have condemned our children to at least a 2 degree average global temperature increase above what it was before the Industrial Revolution. This implies a serious risk of losing the Greenland Ice Sheet - and with it 7-8 metres sea level rise - loss of low-lying island states, shrinking of Arctic ice, more extreme and more frequent extreme weather events, and many associated geopolitical conflicts.
According to World Resources Institute, twenty one nations are achieving deep cuts in GHG while growing their economies. In Canada, already we have more jobs in clean tech than in the oil sands (even before the plummeting price of oil). In 2014 and2015 global investment in renewables outpaced investments in fossil fuels. Of course the transition off of fossil fuels requires careful planning to ensure the well-being of Canadians (and the GDP), careful planning that will be impossible if we procrastinate any longer.
Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament
Green Party of Canada