"Our government is acting to weaken an international agreement, and they are doing it in our names"
The following is written by Canadian Youth Delegate Katherine Trajan from Nanaimo, British Columbia.
Compared to the struggling economy and auto-industry bailouts, the global climate change negotiations that occurred in Poznan the past two weeks have enjoyed a dearth of media coverage - luckily for Harper’s beleaguered government, and unluckily for Canadians (and the rest of the world’s citizens), who will be living with the fall-out of these failed negotiations.
I fear that two basic truths are escaping the consciousness of many Canadians (or at least our media consciousness): one – our current economic crisis is only a shadow of what we will experience if we continue to allow climate change to run rampant, and two – our government is actively holding the world back from a global deal that could significantly combat climate change.
In Poznan I was shocked by the fact that Canada is recognized internationally as the greatest obstruction to a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our government is acting to weaken an international agreement, and they are doing it in our names, despite an overwhelming majority of Canadians claiming to want our government to take decisive action on climate change.
This means that either our government is acting entirely out of line with the desires of Canadians, or we as a nation prioritize superficial propping-up of environmentally destructive and uneconomical industries over the long-term health and prosperity of our country and our planet.
While I was indeed somewhat disillusioned by the UN process I observed in Poznan, I still refuse to believe that Canadians would give our government the mandate to negotiate for a global rise in greenhouse gas emissions that world scientists say would lead to “catastrophic” climate change.
These are frightening times. The world’s climate is changing faster than anyone had predicted, aggravating already dire issues such as biodiversity loss, health, food production and water supply, and introducing new ones such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. At the same time, we are confronted by economic turmoil that threatens to turn into a recession more severe than any experienced since the Great Depression.
The way forward is not through perpetuating the systems that brought us to this state of environmental and economic crisis; increasing our dependence on fossil fuels and related industries will only hurt us in the long run, and will do little if anything to help us now. We must invest in the technologies and infrastructure that will allow us to simultaneously tackle climate change and the economic disaster.
Do not allow our government to define our future within constraints that we know lead to environmental, economic, and social devastation. Let us rally the courage and vision needed to meet the challenge of climate change, and in so doing create a future that is empowering and inspirational for all of us, and for all of our communities. Let us join the world in the most momentous and vital collaborative effort in the history of humanity.