Thursday September 17 2020

The emergence of COVID-19 was first identified on 30 December 2019 and declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, global emissions of carbon dioxide were rising by about 1% per year during the previous decade. But as a result of the shut-down of many economies worldwide, CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been reduced from between 17 and 22% globally. This shows that even a temporary slowdown in industry can result in a positive effect on the environment.

However, as countries around the world begin to return to a normalised production standard which has created a global crisis based on a flawed system of values, it is apparent that corporate priorities have not shifted to solutions for the current climate emergency. Profit motives, such as consumerism, consumption and globalization continue to threaten humanity.  Global temperatures continue to rise, coastal shorelines are eroding, marine wildlife and entire ecosystems are under threat of extinction, wildfires and storms continue to be evermore common and intensified. Our current economic system locks us into these destructive practices; governments are relaxing environmental restrictions on resource extraction while clean infrastructure investment is being stalled and oil and gas subsidies are prioritized. Concrete figures for oil and gas subsidies are difficult to obtain and often cloaked in secrecy, but conservative estimates say it cost $7.9 billion in tax dollars in 2019 alone.

The climate justice movement has seen some significant success amid many political obstacles: The stalling of Energy East and Trans Mountain, fracking bans in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, coal phase outs across much of Canada and direct actions such as the one million students across the World on a climate strike on March 15th, 2019, the 8 million people who marched in Solidarity on September 25th, 2019. As more and more people, especially young people, understand the seriousness of climate change, bold steps continue to be taken to protect our land, our waterways, our future generations and the planet.

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