Last weekend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of over 2500 scientific experts from 130 different countries that’s been working since 1988, released their fourth and final report [pdf] on the urgent crisis that threatens our economy, our quality of life, and many lives. For some reason it was put out with the trash and didn’t receive the attention it deserves. Regardless, the report warns us of two main realities we need to take to heart: climate change is accelerating even more quickly than what we previously thought to be the worst-case scenario, and we only have four years to take dramatic corrective action before it will be too late to avoid a frighteningly destabilized world. And yet, some claim their projections are still “too rosy.”
The previous week a different group, the International Energy Agency, released their own report with remarkably similar conclusions.
A year or two ago we ended the debate on the existence of climate change. More recently we’ve all but ended the debate on whether or not our actions are the key contributor to that change. We need to now stop debating any question of how much action is needed, and how soon it must happen. The answer is clear: we need to fundamentally re-imagine how we’ve structured our society, and we need to do it now.
All three of the other national parties promise to take action on the environment, and none are completely without any good ideas. But none of them propose doing what the science now tells us is necessary, and some of their proposed actions could even do more harm than good.
There is no more time for business as usual. There is no more time for the same ideas, coming from the same political parties. In a way more real than these clichÃ©d political slogans could ever express, we need new ideas. We need genuine change.
In less than two months Toronto Centre will be in a by-election, and voters will be given a special opportunity to send a strong message to Ottawa, without the risk and strategic calculations that come into play during a general election. It’s a fantastic opportunity to make history and change the political climate in Canada.
Call me arrogant or call me vain, but I’m not running to be a protest vote or a sideshow. I’m running to win. We’ve got to put these plans into action. To ask, “if not us then who? if not now, then when?” is to come up with no other satisfactory answer.
I hope you’ll join me.