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Climate Change

Climate change has arrived. Through erratic weather patterns, forest fires and glacier melt we are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Worse, the process of climate change, based on the levels of greenhouse gases we have already put in the atmosphere, is likely to increase the severity and frequency of severe weather events. If we allow levels of greenhouse gases to continue to rise, the disasters of today will be dwarfed by future catastrophic impacts.

Clearly, one of humanity’s principal challenges in this century will be to stop climate change. To do this, we must drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) – gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that trap heat in the atmosphere, raising global temperature and thereby spurring climate change.

Humans have become addicted to burning fossil fuels for energy, a principal cause of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing assault on the world’s forests through burning and cutting is also a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions. Worse still, the clearing of the forests eliminates their ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, compounding the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere still more.

As early as the 1970s, scientists began to warn that humanity’s ever-increasing production of greenhouse gas emissions would change the Earth’s climate. In 1992, the world’s leaders began to heed their warnings at the Rio Summit when Canada and 186 other countries signed the United Nations - Framework Convention on Climate Change. Signatory countries agreed to a long-term objective to “stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.”

By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on December 17, 2002, Canada committed to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.

But Kyoto is only the first step. Stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions will require a reduction in global emissions of at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Sierra Club of Canada believes that our common future depends on making the transition to a low-carbon, energy efficient society. We work to ensure that Canada meets and surpasses its Kyoto goals.

All countries, including Canada, must shift support from big, centralised and polluting energy sources, such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, to renewable energies, conservation and energy efficiency programs.

Over the long-term, Sierra Club of Canada’s goal is to build broad public support for the transition to a low-carbon energy efficient society.

Get Involved and take action to stop the climate crisis.

Information and Resources

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report - Climate Change 2007
Released February 2, 2007, this report, written by over 2500 top scientists, is a comprehensive and rigorous picture of the knowledge of climate change that is "unequivocal" evidence that climate change is real and is happenning faster than expected.

Can civilization survive climate change? by Elizabeth May
Killam Lectures - 2005

A Planetary Citizen’s Guide to the Global Climate Negotiations
Sierra Club of Canada’s Planetary Citizen’s Guide to the Global Climate Negotiations provides an easy to understand review of the history, science and critical issues behind the Global Climate Negotiations.

Kyoto Report Card

Although Canada has signed the Kyoto Protocol the question is still asked: “Can Canada meet its Kyoto commitments?” The answer is resoundingly, “YES”. To make our targets in 2010, the federal government should declare a long-term goal to reduce Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

version française

Lighting the Way: The Sierra Club's Look at First Steps Toward a Clean Energy Future

The energy-delivery system in North America is in trouble, and the harmful effects of this are being felt today in the form of health problems, environmental damage, and a system that doesn’t meet today’s needs. The Sierra Club U.S. and Sierra Club Canada have surveyed energy programs and found that each of the states and provinces in the northeast United States and Atlantic Canada has taken some useful steps that serve as examples of opportunities for all.

Kyoto Forests? Fast-Growing Plantations are Not the Answer

There is increasing interest in meeting some portion of Canada’s Kyoto commitment through “afforestation”, or creating new forests for the purposes of sequestering carbon emissions. In particular, some are pressing for government programs to support the establishment of plantations of fast-growing species. However many experts have expressed strong skepticism about the advisability of such a scheme, citing a number of concerns.

America’s Gas Tank: The High Cost of Canada’s Oil and Gas Export Strategy

A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club Canada, October 2002 (pdf file, 660K)

Over the past decade, surging demand from the United States for Canadian fossil fuels has coincided with deregulation of the energy industry and increasing control of Canadian energy companies by U.S. interests. The resulting oil and gas free-for-all in Canada is causing profound environmental problems, all in the service of turning Canada into America’s gas tank.

Ten Popular Myths About the Kyoto Protocol

Beginning with the myth that Canada’s economy will suffer

Ten Popular Myths about Global Climate Change
Beginning with the myth that there is no scientific consensus

Climate Change Archives


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