“It’s no longer a guess”: Communities across Canada demand climate action

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This summer has redefined the way Bradley Cox views climate change.

Although he remembers the 2019-2020 Australian wildfire season as pivotal, seeing wildfires in British Columbia destroying the community of Lytton after a deadly heat dome blanketed the province has been a huge red flag. That is why he joined hundreds of others in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to demand concrete federal action on climate change.

“I think it’s important that people don’t get too caught up in everyday life forgetting that this is happening around us,” he said.

“… The forest fires going on in the country – it could have been me, it could have been members of my family. This is proof that he is there. It is no longer a hypothesis.

Signs were installed in Halifax, where around 100 people gathered on Wednesday to demand climate action from federal leaders. Photo by Cloe Logan

Wednesday’s 350.org affiliate event in Halifax, which took place in Parade Square among colorful Adirondack chairs and picnic tables, was one of some 60 between Ucluelet and St. John’s. Organizers say the timing is intentional – the afternoon before the French federal leaders’ debate and on the eve of the English debate, with the hope that politicians take notice of the action.

The event page for Canada is still on fire presents two specific calls to action: “a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion, including halting construction of existing expansion projects, and an urgent and robust just transition plan that leaves no one behind.” and pushes us beyond fossil fuels ”.

“This summer, wildfires and heat ravaged Canada, forcing evacuations, burning communities and killing hundreds, and yet politicians haven’t really talked about climate change,” Amara said. Possian, campaign manager for 350 Canada.

Fossil fuel subsidies are at the forefront for many voters – a May report by the International Energy Agency said government investments in coal, oil and gas must end in 2021 for climate objectives are achieved. That’s far from reality now, as at least $ 1.9 billion was spent by the federal government on fossil fuel subsidies in 2020, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Workers in the fossil fuel industry are ready for a just transition, notes Noreen Mabiza of the Ecology Action Center, citing a recent poll, which found that 90 percent of workers said they thought it would be. possible for them to move to work in one or more net zero job types with 12 months or less of training.

In August, the Liberals pledged $ 2 billion to help foster a just transition, but workers in the industry said it was not enough. In the Green Party platform, he promises to introduce a law on just transition – Justin Trudeau made the same assurance in 2019 but did not propose a law. The NDP platform includes a mention of a transition, saying: “We will put these workers at the center of our climate action plan and we will fight for workers and their communities to make sure no one is left behind. . ” The Conservatives’ platform does not mention a just transition, but rather emphasizes investing in controversial carbon capture.

The event featured two calls to action: “a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion, including stopping construction on existing projects … and an urgent and strong just transition plan that leaves no one behind. aside and pushes us past fossil fuels. “# Elxn44

Noreen Mabiza is the Energy Coordinator at the Ecological Action Center and was a speaker at Wednesday’s event. Photo by Cloe Logan

Mabiza said concrete action towards a just transition is key – and that it should be at the center of elections and leaders’ debates.

“I would like to see them come up with a plan, but a plan that focuses the voice of the workers. So they have to start talking to workers, listening to them. There is also an element of fairness to that, ”she said.

“As we know, the energy industry has traditionally left out women, Indigenous groups and Black communities, so we also need to involve these people in the conversation so that as we transition we make sure that no one is left behind. “

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