The most important thing i've done for a while

Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 18, 2006

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

after reading the article on CBC's homepage this evening, I wrote this letter to good old steve. I hope that maybe this will inspire a few other fellow canadians to do the same. this is too important for us to let slide.

From: Lisa Cockburn
Date: Oct 20, 2006
Subject: Proposed Clean Air Act Not Strong Enough

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I just read the news about the Clean Air Act your government is proposing. I am writing directly to you because I feel very strongly that climate warming is one of the most urgent and important issues facing Canada today.

I am only 26, and yet in my own lifetime I have witnessed the effects of climate change firsthand, in my hometown of Edmonton. My friends and I frequently comment to each other on how "when we were young", we used to have real winters, there was always snow on the ground by Halloween, and the kinds of bizarre weather that we have been seeing for the past couple of years across Canada were extremely rare anomalies rather than par for the course. I am only 26, and have much of my life still ahead of me, yet I am seriously worried what life will be like in 2025 due to the effects of climate change in Canada, when I will only be 45. I cannot even express how afraid I am for the children that I so want to have... I love this country, its wilderness, its culture, so much - what kind of country will they be left to live in?

Prime Minister Harper, the proposed Conservative Clean Air Act does not even BEGIN to address my worries and fears. First of all, intensity-based emissions targets are completely unacceptable. The only way that total emissions would not continue growing under your proposed intensity-based system would be if the economy slowed or stopped growing, and let's be honest, I can't see the government advocating that. The atmosphere does not care if the relative output of emissions decreases - only absolute overall emissions matter when it comes to addressing climate change. Emissions must be capped. I am also very disappointed to hear Environment Minister Ambrose speaking of more consultations and delay, especially when Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas recently released an extensive report calling for short-term and long-term targets and a massive scale-up of action by the Federal government to reduce carbon pollution - a report which the proposed Clean Air Act clearly does not take seriously.

Your government's arguments that stricter targets in line with those set by Kyoto will result in job losses or harm the economy have little backing in reality. A shift of investment away from conventional high emission energy production into other activities could actually create more jobs and diversify the economy, putting Canada at the cutting edge of industries such as alternative energy, rather than leaving us lagging behind in the dust. Britain and France have already surpassed their Kyoto targets, and Germany is on track to meet its targets without even relying on flexibility mechanisms such as international carbon trading. With 20 per cent of capital investment by Canadian businesses, the oil, gas and electricity industries produce just 2 per cent of the jobs. The Communications Energy & Paperworkers Union, the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Canadian Auto Workers, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the majority of Canadians all support the Kyoto Protocol.

What I am asking for is simple: Canada already ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and I am asking that your government NOT go AGAINST the wishes of the majority of Canadians and break this international agreement. Not only is this setting an extremely poor example for international cooperation and seriously jeopardizing Canada's legitimacy on the world stage, but it is a blatant and disgusting disregard for the future of all Canadians. There is worldwide consensus among scientists and climate experts that climate change is real, and many models predict that even capping greenhouse gas emissions at current levels may not be enough to prevent serious climatic changes and threats. Commissioner Gelinas' recommendations that short-term targets be established are fundamental criteria for any environmental plan. Any Clean Air Act or similar legislation aimed at addressing climate change should adopt all of the Environment Commissioner's recommendations as well as recommitting Canada to our existing Kyoto targets. This is an urgent issue and we must act quickly.

I am extremely disappointed that so far all I have seen your government do on this issue of primary importance is cut funding to federal programs aimed at reducing emissions, renege on our Kyoto commitments, and now introduce a bill that will do virtually nothing to stop climate warming. Please, Prime Minister Harper, the time for your government to start treating this issue with the respect it deserves is now.

Yours Truly,

Lisa Cockburn

CC:Rona Ambrose
Bill Graham
Jack Layton
Laurie Hawn
John Godfrey
Nathan Cullen
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moonrise on

i just want to add that i sent this email to near everyone i know, and the responses i got back were incredible, so positive, so many people taking their own actions, helped along by mine... it warmed my heart and reminded me how much everything we do really does make a difference. thank you, everyone!

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