Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 25, 2001
Groups seek action on environment
Smog alert underlines pollution threat
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — A weather advisory helped leaders of Canadian Church, development, environmental and aboriginal organizations make their point that the federal government should do more to prevent climate change.
The group held a news conference June 14, a day that Environment Canada issued a smog advisory for the area. Smog is often a haze polluted with hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen from automobile exhaust.
"We're addicted, hooked to a kind of economy that we know is increasingly toxic to ourselves as children of this beautiful, (but) infected earth," said Janet Somerville, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches.
"We're here today to say to Canada, 'Lets get our moral courage up to show some conviction and determination and leadership in this area and, especially, let's not enter into a new energy agreement with the United States unless the United States begins to support the Kyoto Protocol.'"
Somerville, along with environmental scientist Dr. David Suzuki, chair of the David Suzuki Foundation; Ovide Mercredi, environmental advisor to the Assembly of First Nations; and Gerry Barr, executive director of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, agreed Ottawa has a "moral obligation" to act on climate change.
International talks aimed at implementing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming are to resume in Bonn in July.
Canada has agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012, but emissions are estimated to be about 20 per cent above that commitment and are expected to rise 44 per cent above that commitment by 2010.
"Canada is heading down a dangerous path that will lead to more air pollution, more global warming and more human suffering," said Suzuki.
Suzuki said a "sacred covenant" exists which demands that each generation leave the planet in the same state as received from the previous generation. "We haven't been doing that for a number of generations," he said.
He believes greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by over 50 per cent within 30 years if governments applied themselves to the problem.
Canada should not be wavering in its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, said Barr. "The United States and Canada, with roughly four per cent of the world's population, produce approximately 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, 30 times the amount produced by the 48 least-developed countries of the world together," he said.
"There is a moral challenge and it belongs to the developing world because the responsibility to date for climate change rests right here in the developed world."
Canada is the largest per-capita consumer of energy on earth, the group said in a joint statement. But Ottawa is "actively supporting a continental energy plan that encourages even greater production and consumption of fossil fuels and nuclear power."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.