With 2020 drawing to a close, I don’t think any of us will miss it!
As Greens, we never took our eye off the ball. Even during COVID-19, the climate emergency continues to demand our attention.
2020 saw the horrific forest fires in the western US, dramatically shrinking Arctic ice, increases in intensity of hurricanes and typhoons, expanding drought and individual extreme events from tornadoes to heat waves. I think Margaret Atwood said it best in August, when asked if she was worried that COVID-19 was pushing climate change to the back-burner. She replied that her stove has two front burners. Exactly.
We know what must be done to mitigate the effects of the greatest threat to humanity. And taking action on climate does not have to overshadow defending ourselves from this pandemic. We can do both.
But to do that we need more Greens in parliament. Would you consider making a contribution to the Green Breakthrough Fund this holiday season, if you are able? It will help us build a strong campaign, should there be an election in the spring.
Of the two crises we now confront, the climate emergency is significantly a larger scale of threat than COVID-19. The dual threats operate on different time frames. The pandemic absorbs our short-term attention, as it should. But climate is an existential threat. COVID-19 threatens human life, not whole ecosystems. Only the climate emergency threatens the survival of human civilization itself.
Despite some thoughts that the COVID-induced slowdown and shutdown of economies would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, the reality is planes kept flying and trucks kept trucking, delivering goods, essentials and so on.
The International Energy Agency estimates that for all of 2020, global emissions will only be down between four and eight per cent below 2019.
COVID’s impact on climate is unclear. On one hand we lost the momentum of the annual COP events, with COP26 delayed by a year. On the other hand, the pandemic appears to have hastened the demise of fossil fuels. Investors are increasingly moving to renewable energy. Solar is now cheaper than coal in every part of the world.
One thing is clear. The Green Party of Canada is the only party you can count on to keep climate front and centre. Only Green MPs made climate action the key demand before voting confidence in Trudeau’s minority government.
We alone seem to understand urgency. We are positive and constructive in charting the course to economic recovery rooted in social justice, reconciliation and climate action.
Before 2020 comes to an end, please give what you can to the Greens. I have a hunch we will be in a federal election this spring. I am excited to see the gains we can make with the new dynamic leadership of Annamie Paul!
I will be running for re-election. After nearly 10 years in parliament, I now am more certain than ever before that climate action needs a full Green caucus of 12 or more MPs. That makes us a “recognized” party with greater rights and opportunities to hold the government to account. Please consider a year-end donation to help us be ready for a spring 2021 election.
Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament, Saanich-Gulf Islands
Green Party of Canada