Climate Change: Five reasons for hope
Hope #1: Climate impacts are changing public perception
More and more the effects of climate change are happening before our eyes: Hurricane Katrina, droughts throughout the United States, Hurricane Sandy, the infestation of the pine beetle, floods in Pakistan, Australian Wildfires, melting ice – to name a few. It’s events like these that transform what was once an abstract problem to reality.
Hurricane Fran off the east coast of the United States captured from space by the GOES weather satellites. © NASA
Hope #2: Climate change is no longer ‘just’ an environmental problem
Climate concerns are now coming from financial communities, local and international governments, and others. These non-environmental, highly influential people are noting the severe impacts that global warming has and will continue to have on economic development, showcasing support for implementing carbon pricing.
Hope #3: China is working towards an efficient and low-carbon society
China – the world’s leading generator of carbon emissions – plans to develop emissions trading schemes in seven cities and provinces starting in 2013, and evolving the initiative into a nationwide approach in 2015.
China also generates the most renewable electricity capacity of any country* and plans to spend $473.1 billion on clean energy over the next five years. This will have a tremendous impact on their footprint, and hopefully influence other high-power nations to follow suit.
Hope #4: Renewable energy is growing exponentially
Both wind and solar power are becoming prominent energy sources around the world. Capacity for solar energy increased 900 per cent globally, between 2006 and 2011. Global capacity for wind also increased, being 39 times larger in 2011, than levels in 1996.
Hope #5: Carbon pricing is here
Carbon pricing means putting a price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, generally through a carbon tax, or an emissions trading system called ‘cap and trade.’
Thirty-three nations have established a carbon price through the emissions trading scheme. This covers 850 million people, 30 per cent of the economy, and 20 per cent of global emissions.
In Canada, three provinces have adopted this approach: Quebec British Columbia, and Alberta. But this number fails to reflect public opinion; a 2012 poll by Environics found that 59 per cent of Canadians would support pricing carbon – so let’s see this happen!
What is WWF doing?
WWF is helping to transform how Canada uses and produces energy by working to:
- –Electrify transportation (Canada’s greatest source of carbon emissions)
- –Increase investment in Canada’s vast renewable energy potential
- –Get a nationwide price on carbon in place
To learn more about WWF’s climate work visit wwf.ca.