Pressure on Canada to meet emission targets as CO2 levels hit record high

Alexandra Mae JonesAlexandra Mae Jones, writer @AlexandraMaeJ

The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high in 2018, according to new data put out Monday by the World Meteorological Organization, a revelation that casts a dim light on Canada’s current methods in battling the climate crisis.

Even more alarming, data from the United Nations-affiliated organization shows there is no sign of a slowdown in the rate of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere, and that for some types, the concentration is increasing faster than ever.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement that the continued increase in greenhouse gases is happening “despite all the commitments” under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“We need to translate the commitments into action and increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of the mankind,” he said.

Speaking to CTV News, WMO’s Oksana Tarasova said that their observations of the levels of greenhouse gases in 2018 showed that “carbon dioxide increased with a rate which is quite close to the 10 years average, though methane — which is the second most important … greenhouse gas – increased with a higher rate than within (the) last 10 years.”

Nitrous oxide, which she explained was the third most damaging greenhouse gas, “increased even faster than we’ve seen ever in this whole history of observations.”

CO2 is responsible for around two-thirds of the Earth’s warming. Methane is responsible for 17 per cent of warming, according to WMO, while nitrous oxide causes around 6 per cent. The last time CO2 levels were this high was “3-5 million years ago,” Taalas said in the WMO statement.

“This continuing long-term trend means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, more extreme weather, water stress, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems,” the statement reads.

This data comes only two weeks after Climate Transparency released a detailed analysis of which G20 countries are on track to meet their greenhouse-gas emissions targets — and Canada was one of the worst performers, assessed as unlikely to come near its targets.

Canadians have marched, chanted and demonstrated across the country, asking for more action on the part of the government to slow down the rate of devastating climate change, the effects of which we are already seeing. But so far, the policies have not followed.

The Canadian federal government has come under fire from climate activists and concerned citizens for the decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline in 2018 and fund its expansion, even while promising to slash greenhouse-gas emissions.

They have claimed that the pipeline will yield another $500 million in corporate tax revenue to be spent on fighting climate change, but it’s still unclear where the figure came from and what is truly meant by it in terms of a climate plan.

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