Six environmental issues to address for the 2021 federal election

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Marine petrol pumps on the shore of Little Lake in downtown Peterborough. This decade is a short window of opportunity for Canada to take climate action that secures a sustainable future for communities across the country. In this federal election, we need leaders who support aggressive carbon pricing, carbon regulations, investments in low-carbon infrastructure, and who work with climate-conscious provincial, municipal and corporate leaders. . (Photo: Natalie Stephenson)

Several recent polls confirm that the environment is a top priority for voters in this election. It is exciting that so many voters are focusing their attention on the need for effective, timely and cooperative climate action.

This election comes at a critical time, 2020-2030 being the decisive decade for climate action. We have eight years left to meet our emissions reduction targets by 2030 and preserve the sustainability of the planet for humanity.

On Wednesday evening (September 8), GreenUP and several local organizations are hosting an election debate – part of 100 environmental debates across the country – featuring the top four party candidates in the Peterborough-Kawartha constituency and moderated by Jim Hendry. Register via greenup.on.ca Where directly on Zoom and join us Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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This is an opportunity to learn about the positions of your candidates on climate change and environmental policy.

I had the pleasure of discussing with the co-organizers of this local debate some of the issues.

Here are six environmental issues to inform you and discuss with your friends and family.

1. Emissions reductions

We need the federal government to empower and demand reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2050. We need to see plans for make measurable and meaningful progress every year over the next four years. one-year federal term. We also need the federal government to put in place a legally binding accountability to ensure that we continue to make progress towards these goals.

In the spring of 2021, Canada passed the Net Emissions Accountability Act, which puts in place legally binding emission reduction targets starting in 2030. It’s a step in the right direction, but we have also need action now to get there.

We need candidates who will support aggressive carbon pricing, carbon regulations, investments in low-carbon infrastructure, and who will work with climate-conscious provincial, municipal and corporate leaders to move towards these goals. during the next government and beyond.

2. Sustainable and inclusive communities

Ecology Park Earth Adventures camp participants learn to navigate by bicycle in Peterborough.  Bike-friendly, walkable and walkable infrastructure has the potential not only to reduce emissions, but also to improve health metrics and sales for local businesses.  (Photo: Jessica Todd)
Ecology Park Earth Adventures camp participants learn to navigate by bicycle in Peterborough. Bicycle-friendly, walkable and accessible infrastructure has the potential not only to reduce emissions, but also to improve health indicators and sales for local businesses. (Photo: Jessica Todd)

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we need plans to improve equity and create sustainable, accessible and healthy communities.

This means supporting and planning with provincial and municipal organizations and Indigenous communities to create better public transportation and infrastructure that is more walkable, bike-friendly and accessible.

This is a win-win potential for climate action, the economy and public health. Studies show that active, cycling and accessible communities are healthier communities with more vibrant local economies. These communities also emit less greenhouse gases because they are not built to require combustion vehicles for trips under five kilometers.

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3. Prepare for climate change

Even with drastic reductions in emissions, climate change will have a tough and difficult impact on our cities, power grids, forests, oceans, lakes and agriculture.

Every dollar we can spend now to prepare for increasing floods, fires, droughts, windstorms, invasive species and seasonal changes will earn us tenfold. Climate adaptation is an investment in helping our children and grandchildren have a planet they can live on.

Ask your candidates what policies and investments they will be proposing now to prepare Peterborough for the challenges of a changing climate.

4. Energy efficient renovations

Federal support for energy-efficient home renovations has the potential to reduce what is currently one of Peterborough's most important areas for greenhouse gas emissions: about one-third of emissions in this region come from buildings.  (Photo: Ben Hargreaves)
Federal support for energy-efficient home renovations has the potential to reduce what is currently one of Peterborough’s most important areas for greenhouse gas emissions: about one-third of emissions in this region come from buildings. (Photo: Ben Hargreaves)

In the Peterborough area, a third of our emissions come from heating and cooling residential and commercial buildings.

There is fruit on hand here, especially in the older buildings. Improving energy efficiency and moving from gas heating to electric heat pumps are fast, high-impact steps towards meeting the emissions reduction targets by 2030 – and they make financial sense.

In 2021, the federal government launched the $ 2.6 billion Greener Homes Grant program. It’s a good start, but the immense reach of renovations in the Peterborough area and beyond requires continued support for property owners and service organizations as they strive to meet the huge demand for these audits. energetic.

5. Indigenous leadership

We need all federal leaders to commit to a good relationship with First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Indigenous peoples are the stewards of these lands and waters. Indigenous peoples are key partners and hosts in collective efforts for climate action and environmental protection and renewal. Indigenous leadership needs space in federal politics.

In the spring of 2021, Canada passed the UNDRIP Act – the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Ask your candidates what key environmental policies they will support to move the UNDRIP forward in Canada and also by listening to local First Nations leaders.

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6. Prioritize and strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Last but not least, we need to update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

“The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is really the cornerstone of federal environmental laws,” said Lisa Gue, senior policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation, in a recent online panel (see video below below; Gue’s presentation begins at 8:17 a.m.).

CEPA was first introduced in 1999 and remains largely unchanged. As the Canadian Environmental Law Association points out, we need updates to CEPA in order to effectively regulate pollution and hazardous waste and protect vulnerable communities, including children, women of age. of childbearing, workers, low-income people and indigenous communities.

VIDEO: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Perspectives on Bill C-28

Last April, Bill C-28 was introduced to update CEPA. Unfortunately, Bill C-28 did not pass first reading before Parliament was dissolved for the election.

If Bill C-28 is reintroduced and passed, CEPA could become the first federal law to recognize the human right to a healthy environment.

On September 8, 2021 at 6 p.m., GreenUP and several local organizations are hosting a virtual election debate on <a class=environmental issues featuring the top four federal party candidates for Peterborough-Kawartha. This debate is one of 100 debates on the environment taking place across the country. (Graphic courtesy of 100 Debates on the Environment)” width=”696″ height=”464″ class=”size-td_696x0 wp-image-85451″ srcset=”https://kawarthanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/greenup-sep7-2021-04-696×464.jpg 696w, https://kawarthanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/greenup-sep7-2021-04-768×512.jpg 768w, https://kawarthanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/greenup-sep7-2021-04-630×420.jpg 630w, https://kawarthanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/greenup-sep7-2021-04.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px”/>
On September 8, 2021 at 6 p.m., GreenUP and several local organizations are hosting a virtual election debate on environmental issues featuring the top four federal party candidates for Peterborough-Kawartha. This debate is one of 100 debates on the environment taking place across the country. (Graphic courtesy of 100 Debates on the Environment)

While these six things are important to watch out for in this election, it may be more crucial to talk about these issues with your friends and family.

These conversations can be difficult to have. The David Suzuki Foundation has put together an online climate conversation coach to help us find common ground on issues that may divide us. You can find it on davidsuzuki.org/climate-conversation-coach/.

Join us for the Debate of September 8. Follow @ptbogreenup on social media and let us and your local candidates know what matters to you in this election.


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