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December 9, 2009

Canadian scientists press Harper on climate change

The Canadian Charger

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As leaders in Canada's scientific community, we now know that climate change is advancing much faster than projected by most models, including those used in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Scientific Assessment.

As leaders in Canada’s scientific community, we now know that climate change is advancing much faster than projected by most models, including those used in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Scientific Assessment.

This is the leading statement of an open letter sent by more than 500 of Canada’s leading scientists to Prime Minister Stephan Harper last week in advance of the Copenhagen conference on climate change.

Text of the Open Letter

To Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Members of the Parliament of Canada,

As leaders in Canada’s scientific community, we now know that climate change is advancing much faster than projected by most models, including those used in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Scientific Assessment. 

The 2009 Climate Change Science Compendium from the United Nations Environment Program confirms that actual climate change impacts are overshooting even the worst-case scenarios that were predicted just two years ago.

We write to urge you, now more than ever, to commit Canada to taking domestic action in line with limiting global warming to less than 2ºC above the pre-industrial temperature, as part of a fair, effective and science-based global greenhouse gas reduction treaty. 

This requires the Government of Canada to act at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December with a greatly increased level of ambition for our domestic emission reduction targets and the actions necessary to achieve them.

At the 2007 United Nations climate change negotiations in Bali, industrialized countries acknowledged the need to reduce their emissions overall by 25 to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. 

To achieve this target, Canada must go beyond our current and insufficient domestic target of 2.7% below 1990 levels by 2020. 

Canada has both the means and historical responsibility to meet this necessary target, based on our cumulative emissions and contribution to climate change to date.

Each year that we delay taking sufficient action on climate change costs us and future generations more and increases the difficulty of succeeding. 

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change shows that allocation of just 1 to 2% of GDP towards effective action would be far less expensive than the cost of inaction. 

Canada should be a global leader in averting dangerous climate change, and our country has the resources, tenacity and vision to achieve this.

Respectfully,

Over 500 scientists in Canada and seven Canadian science societies.

See names attached and listed at wwf.ca/scientistsvoice.

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