Look to Indigenous people to fight climate change and prosper: Elizabeth May


When talking about climate change and cutting greenhouse gases the first thing that comes to the minds of many people is how much is going to dip into their wallets.

The controversial carbon tax already makes gassing up at the pumps more expensive.

Now there is a talk of a pollution tax, which comes on the heels of a recent United Nations report that says the crisis of climate change is much worse than anyone thought.

The report said if things don’t drastically change within 12 years there will be irreversible effects.

But MP Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green party, says the solution may be with Indigenous people.

“Right now there are literally hundreds of First Nations across Canada that are in the forefront of innovating with renewables,” said May on Nation to Nation Thursday.

“We need to actually engage more Indigenous communities and First Nations (so) they can export that energy to other places, sell to larger communities outside and have a revenue-generating renewable energy.”

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought together leading scientists and researchers from around the world to file reports on the status of climate change.

They warned in their report, earlier this month, that failing to limit global warming to 1.5C will result in significantly increased risks of major adverse impacts like floods, droughts, food insecurity, poverty and a mass die-off of the ocean’s coral reefs by as soon as 2040, much earlier than previously anticipated.

To achieve this, the world only has 12 years to reduce emissions by 45 per cent below 2010 levels according to the report.

The current climate plans — with carbon pricing, energy efficiencies, renewable power sources and technological innovations — don’t get Canada to the existing goal.

“I don’t think any of us want to write-off our children’s future and this is not hyperbole. We run the risk of destroying human civilization in the near term, in the lifetimes of our children,” said May.

An emergency debate was held in the House of Commons on climate change earlier this week and the idea of a pollution tax was brought up.

But the Trudeau government says it’s not a “one-trick pony” but another tactic to reverse the tide.

“Canadians understand pollution is bad,” said Liberal MP Scott Fraser, parliamentary secretary for Environment and Climate Change, on Nation to Nation.

“It’s free to pollute in Canada today. We’re going to change that.”

He said that revenue would go into homes across the country, as well as go towards fighting climate change.

But that’s similar to the idea of the carbon tax said Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, shadow minister on Indigenous Services.

Mcleod said studies have shown the current carbon tax doesn’t come close to meeting targets needed to be effective.

“You are going to have the pain with no gain,” said McLeod.

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