Columns and Letters

Letter: Code Red

September 15, 2021

Dear Editor,
    During this week’s federal debates, the leaders all verified they had worked together in a non-partisan way to battle COVID-19.
    COVID-19 and its variants are not discriminatory – everyone is vulnerable to some degree. Canadians pulled together in a way that mirrored what we did in World War II because we were all at risk. Our governments “had our backs” with generous financial supports, daily communication to keep us all informed, and supports like testing and vaccinations, all to keep Canadians safe. Sometimes lockdowns were necessary and while they were stressful, Canadians co-operated.
    So, why aren’t the federal and provincial governments coming together across party lines to battle Climate Change? When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared a “Code Red” regarding the Climate Crisis they were serious. The debates showed each party has their own plan and attacked each other’s plans rather than coming together. Annamie Paul of the Green Party pointed this out repeatedly. Could this be because 25 per cent of Canadians deny there is a climate emergency? Perhaps if they don’t actually experience the effects themselves, they can deny there is a problem.
    We are very fortunate here in Nova Scotia in that we have not experienced annual extreme heat, wildfires, drought, or floods, yet. But make no mistake, other areas in North America are and this is having a real, negative affect on our food security and inflation is inevitable as things become scarce.
    Extreme climate emergencies are occurring throughout the world, creating climate refugees. Already some people are pushing back on Canada welcoming 20,000 Afghanistan refugees, claiming we cannot house and provide adequate medical care to our existing citizens in Nova Scotia, so how can we add even more?
    Conference of Parties (COP26) will happen in October in Scotland and Canada will be expected to sign onto a global agreement to reduce carbon and slow down the Earth’s rising temperatures. Canada signed onto the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change that was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on December 12th, 2015. Its goal was to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Canada was 21 per cent above 1990 levels as of 2020 while the European Union was down 28 per cent and the United Kingdom was down 43 per cent. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven mainly by increased carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.
    In this federal election, let’s demand our federal parties work together on climate change as it is a non-partisan issue and affects all Canadians and indeed all mankind.
Paul Strome








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