CANADA & WORLD Cli­mate change de­bate heat­ing up

Alarm­ing UN re­port un­der­lines grow­ing po­lit­i­cal di­vide in Canada over car­bon tax

StarMetro Vancouver - - BIG OPINIONS - Alex Ballingall

OT­TAWA—THE pol­i­tics of cli­mate change just got hot­ter.

On Sun­day night, the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC) dropped a bomb­shell re­port.

If hu­man­ity is to avoid the cat­a­strophic ex­tremes of global warm­ing — wide­spread ex­tinc­tions and species loss; an Arc­tic with­out sea ice; the dis­ap­pear­ance of coral reefs; mass dis­place­ment from ris­ing oceans and ex­treme weather — then gov­ern­ments around the world need to ramp up their ef­forts to elim­i­nate green­house gas emis­sions, the re­port con­cludes.

Cit­ing ev­i­dence from more than 6,000 sci­en­tific ref­er­ences, the re­port’s 91 au­thors out­line the path to lim­it­ing global warm­ing by 1.5 C above prein­dus­trial tem­per­a­tures by 2100 — the tar­get set un­der the 2015 Paris Agree­ment. Syn­crude oil sands ex­trac­tion fa­cil­ity near Fort Mcmur­ray, Alta. Canada is on track to miss its 2030 emis­sions tar­get. Global green­house gases will need to fall by about 45 per cent be­low 2010 lev­els within the next 12 years, and then reach “net zero” by 2050, the re­port says.

This would re­quire “rapid, far-reach­ing and un­prece­dented changes in all as­pects of so­ci­ety,” such as trans­porta­tion, en­ergy use and more, as well as the ad­vent of as-yetun­proven means of suck­ing GHGS out of the at­mos­phere, the IPCC says.

It’s an as­ton­ish­ing pre­scrip­tion, to be sure — but in Canada, many ex­pect the IPCC’S alarm to in­ten­sify what is al­ready one of the most di­vi­sive po­lit­i­cal is­sues of our time: cli­mate change and what to do about it.

Lib­er­als un­der at­tack from right and left. Read more at thes­tar.com/pol­i­tics

JA­SON FRANSON/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

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