April, 2019

Nature can be an ally against climate change

Marina Melanidis

Canada is not a climate leader. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of young people who went on strike from school on March 15 to protest Canada’s lack of climate action, joining over one million youth in 128 countries across the world. Tens of thousands of youth marched in Montreal alone. And we have no intention of slowing down.

We have no choice. The bad-news reports are never-ending. It seems like new and ever more devastating details about the climate and ecological crises emerge each day. And we know that unless political leaders urgently recalibrate the scale of our response, young people will be locked into a future that is almost too terrifying to contemplate. Our demand is simple: We expect those in power to take the action needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over that of the pre-industrial age — rather than the four degrees of warming we’re on track for. We expect action that follows science and enshrines justice.

Here’s the good news: natural climate solutions are cost-effective, scalable and available now. Protecting, restoring and managing natural systems can, together with urgent action on other fronts, significantly contribute to climate action. In fact, by enhancing the ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it, natural climate solutions like conserving, restoring and managing forests; improving agricultural practices; protecting peatlands and restoring wetlands have the potential to contribute to 33 per cent of Canada’s emission-reduction targets and provide one-third of the climate solutions needed by 2030 worldwide.

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