On the last day of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, international delegates tried to reach a deal to further the cause of stopping a two degree increase to the global temperature that will lead to a climate catastrophe. Here in Guelph, a small group of young local climate activists wanted to remind our Member of Parliament that they want more climate action here in Canada too.
About a dozen climate protestors gathered outside Lloyd Longfield’s constituency office on Farquhar Street downtown. Sandwiched between the Granary building and some very loud construction work on the rail tracks at Guelph Central Station, organizer Rachel Lowenberg organized people to enter Longfield’s office two at a time, observing COVID protocols, to register their disappointment with the current state of government climate action.
“We need to share our concerns about Canada’s promises at COP26, the lack of a plan to put those promises through, and the other demands that accompany the declaration of Climate Action Now!” Lowenberg said.
Climate Action Now comes out of the Seth Klein book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, which suggests that fighting climate change requires a World War II level mobilization from political leaders and regular citizens alike. The action it demands includes carbon pricing, the phase of fossil fuels, and the promotion of renewable energy as well as sustainable changes to transportation and the heating and cooling of buildings.
Lowenberg and the other protestors did note Canada’s commitment at COP26 to join 21 other countries to no longer invest public funds in any new international fossil fuel developments, but they also noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said nothing about new domestic production while at the conference.
“Canada has committed to stop funding international projects, which is all well and good, but we’re still producing fossil fuels here and exporting them,” Lowenberg said. “As long as that continues, I feel like there’s a bit of hypocrisy in Trudeau saying, ‘We’re gonna stop funding outside projects, but we’re going to keep making money for ourselves.”
Inside Longfield’s office, Lownerberg and another protestor named Clauvia were the first to register their concerns about Canada’s commitment to fight climate change.
“We demand that the Federal government immediately cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, act on a just recovery plan, and commit to net zero by 2025 and then quickly on to zero and negative emissions,” Lowenberg said reading from a statement. “We demand our political system move beyond the traditional format to a citizen’s assembly of randomly selected individuals to look at the science and decide how we will reach our targets, and that it include representation from all industries to ensure a just transition.”
Longfield was not on the premise, so the protestors spoke to his executive assistant Lianne Cassidy, who told Lowenberg that the MP would happy to speak to her and the other members of her group in a video conference to address their concerns.