Canada Needs Leadership That Says; “We Must Stop Using Fossil Fuels As Quickly As Possible.”

“Imagine if when I had asked (Canada’s Prime Minister Justin)Trudeau to go to COP25 (the international climate conference that just ended in Spain), to bring a clear statement based in science, he had needed Green votes to hang on to government.”                                                                                              – Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

A Note from Elizabeth May, the Green Party of Canada’s Parliamentary Leader

Posted December 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

I just wanted to send a quick note recounting my recent experience as part of the COP25 international climate conference in Madrid (Spain).

Those of you who know me, know that I am committed to honesty so I won’t sugarcoat this for you.

COP25 was a brutal experience. The last several days of it I hardly slept at all, but neither did anyone trying hard to get to agreement.

We are blocked at this meeting by the negotiators representing Donald Trump’s America, Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Morrison’s Australia. Canada is no longer the worst, but we still won a few Fossils of the Day.

WE COULD HAVE SHOWN UP AND MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR CLIMATE ACTION.

I asked (Canada’s Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau to come in person. It would have changed the course of these negotiations to have a few leaders of government show up unexpectedly to say what needs to be said: _”We must stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”_

Pressed by reporters, Norway’s Minister of Climate and the Environment, Ola Evestuen said: “We have to prepare – we have to cut our own emissions as fast as we can. We have to stop all use of fossil fuels….. We have to do this – all countries. And Norway will take its responsibility on this.”

The Green Party of Canada’s Elizabeth May at a protest in British Columbia in recent years against constructing more tar sand pipelines.

IT STRUCK ME HOW STUNNING IT WOULD BE TO HEAR ANY CANADIAN MINISTER SPEAK SO CLEARLY. 

Yes, Norway is still oil-dependent. Oil represents more than one-third of Norwegian exports and 12% of its GDP, far more than Canada. Yet, Norway is willing to say, this must end and we will plan for it and end it.

And, it is ever-clearer how much of a difference more Green seats would have made. Imagine if when I had asked Trudeau to go to COP25, to bring a clear statement based in science, he had needed Green votes to hang on to government.

There is a real link between Canada’s role in the world and Greens in Parliament. Here in Madrid, the role of Greens is clear.

Greens do not promote the party in ways that would distract from the goal of climate action, so the role of Green Party ministers is almost invisible. But the countries with the strongest climate policies are the countries with many Greens in government. The Green Party Ministers negotiating here in Madrid represent Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Belgium, and Luxembourg, while the leadership of the EU – introducing to the EU Parliament this week the EU

Green New Deal – is no doubt impacted by the 74 Green MEPs (about 10% of the EU Parliament).

I confess that I am still depressed – and likely will be for a long time – that the citizen’s movement for climate action did not make it clear to voters that our plan “Mission: Possible” was the only one remotely consistent with the IPCC advice. Maybe I wasn’t sufficiently clear. Maybe we were outgunned by money raised by the other, bigger parties telling Canadians that the Liberals or the NDP would deliver climate action.

We (sadly) know that is not true.

ONLY GREENS STAY FIRMLY ENTRENCHED IN THE SCIENCE. ONLY GREENS ARE PREPARED TO SAY OUT LOUD: WE MUST STOP USING FOSSIL FUELS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. 

So, Monday morning in Spain, as I write this, COP25 has ended – 44 hours later than the expected last gavel. It failed to reach agreement and fell far short of what is needed.

With a minority parliament, we never know when we have to go back to the polls. I am absolutely convinced that climate action depends on electing more Greens. Our work must continue. Helping us now – and helping us later – is much appreciated.

  • Elizabeth May, Green Party Parliamentary Leader, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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