The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report providing the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change. The science is clear: human activities have and continue to influence our climate. And climate change is the greatest threat to public health of the 21st century.
Urgent and meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions are needed. Climate change is already disrupting and destroying the ecosystems upon which we all rely for food, housing, and clothing. Air quality is reduced as a result of increased frequency and intensity of forest fires and longer pollen seasons. Climate change is a threat not only to our health, but to humanity’s very existence on this planet.
The report reaffirms that every tonne of CO2 emitted adds to global warming. This means that any reduction on emissions helps to prevent the worst-case-scenario of climate change. Many parallels can be drawn between the way the world responded to the COVID-19 public health crisis and what experts agree needs to be done to prevent the worst-case-scenario of climate change:
1. People must change their behaviours in the interest of protecting themselves and others;
2. Prevention and timely mitigation are crucial to crisis management; and
3. Addressing a global crisis requires long-term commitments.
The longer we take to implement concrete policies, the closer we come to being overwhelmed with devastating, irreversible changes to our environment and jeopardizing our health and well-being. The good news is, there are many ways for individuals to reduce their own emissions right away and to support governments in implementing Net Zero policies.
We can all can take simple actions to reduce our own CO2 emissions. Eating more plant-based proteins and choosing active transportation benefit your health and wellness while reducing your own CO2 emissions. Plastics are made from the fossil fuels that are driving climate change. Reducing your use of plastic cuts down on emissions and prevents pollution.
With a federal election on the horizon, the time is right for all Canadians to speak up about what matters most to them. We urge everyone to share their values with the people making decisions on Parliament Hill by emailing, calling, or arranging an in-person or video meeting, and to vote in upcoming elections.