Dear future Prime Minister

Here's how to solve our most urgent environmental problems

The Issue
Global warming

Our Advice
"Some Don’t Like It Hot"

What Government Should Do
Now that we’ve finally stopped arguing about whether global warming really exists, it’s way past time to do something about it. So what are we doing to fight this scourge? The Harper government, for one, has been pinning its hopes on carbon capture and storage. But, as Mike Buckthought, national climate change campaigner for the Sierra Club of Canada, argues, it’s an unproven technology. “We should really be following the examples of other countries that have chosen to focus on renewables,” he says.

You might look to Germany, which is a fraction of the geographic size of Canada, yet the second-largest producer of wind power, and the largest of solar, in the world. Deutschland’s Renewable Energy Sources Act requires power distributors to buy a portion of their juice from non-environmentally destructive sources. Because they also have to pay a premium for it—up to seven times as much as dirtier forms of power, the act has spurred a whack of ‘eco-preneurs’ to take up the green power mantle. (Similar legislation has been adopted by France, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain.)

There are some signs of hope in Canada: Bill C-311, a private member’s bill that would legislate a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, passed its second reading last spring. If it passes a review by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Parliament will likely pass its final judgment this fall. And environmentalists are keeping their fingers crossed that this December’s United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen will see our government take a more active role. “We really don’t have much time—studies have shown we have to make deep reductions in emissions right now to avoid dangerous climate change,” says Buckthought. Simply put, Canada should commit to emission reductions along the recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 25 to 40 percent cuts in greenhouse gases by 2020, and base those cuts on 1990 levels.

What Voters Can Do
Sign an online petition urging the federal government to take action on climate change at kyotoplus.ca, and insist your MP vote for the passage of Bill C-311.