Friday, 8 January 2016

Post 66: Post-Election Contemplation

The passing of the federal election in October brought a big relief for me: the end of a decade of anti-science legislation and crippling funding cuts, a lack of respect for evidence, and was a step forward for gender equality in Cabinet, which I hope, will role model what we want to see in other areas of society as well. As Prime Minister Trudeau stated, "It's 2015."

We really badly needed a turn around of Canada's role at the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France this fall. And I am relatively happy with Canada's role in the negotiations, and holding that the globe should not cross 1.5 degrees Celsius in average warming, though as we know, Canada is warming faster than other countries, and there are big limits to setting global goals for rising temperatures. Canada and the US still took home a Fossil of the Day Award for not refusing to discuss Loss and Damage within the negotiations, and I have very mixed feelings about that.

Our beautiful Parliament buildings during my favourite time of day!
Loss and Damage refers to the circumstances where the Marshall Islands or some of the other Pacific Islands have already experienced loss and damage because of climate change. As with the Marshall Islands, they are projected to disappear completely because of sea level rise. The ground that cultures have lived on and developed on, and inherited from forefathers is set to disappear, and they need to be compensated for that somehow. Louise Metivier, Canada's chief negotiator, didn't rule out that it wasn't important to talk about, but that it should be dealt with outside of the agreement. Given the already complicated nature of the negotiations, I don't know how to assess the fairness of that assertion. It could be that there are already so many things within the negotiations, that to bring Loss and Damage into the agreement would bring extra complication, and certainly legal implications, but it is a serious matter, and the negotiations are where all countries are in one spot to discuss the effects of climate change, and what we want to avoid. As long as the discussion continues, because it needs to, I hope that Canada's stubborn instance on this one point isn't unnecessarily blockheaded.

There are a number of platform policies that I'm particularly excited about regarding especially the environment:

Phasing out subsidies for fossil fuel companies.
Modernizing the National Energy Board (though I'm certain this will be a challenge).
Investing in clean technology as alternatives to fossil fuels.
Using government capital to model the shift to renewable energy sources.
Review the environmental assessment process and update it.
Cancelling the Northern Gateway Project.
And re-examining the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Review process.

My January window with its view to the drooping heads of dying hydrangeas. Condensation when it's chilly out.
There are several others, too, and I'm grateful for the TrudeauMetre for keeping track of all the campaign promises and how the government is doing on fulfilling those promises.

In some ways we're facing more of the same, and some change. I'm interested in seeing how things will go in the next few months and coming year. Cheers to an interesting 2016 to come!

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