Friday, November 6, 2009

Countdown to Copenhagen

This next week will be all about COP15 - the 15th meeting about climate change from all the big guns. It runs from December 7-18th, and we're hoping we can get students writing letters and signing petitions and somehow getting involved in the democratic process. Climate Action Network Canada sent out info on how to get going, and I'll pass it along here. Also check out Seal the Deal for more ideas.

We're putting up a display with the information below, and handing out half sheets of paper, double sided, with sample letters on one side and addresses on the other. But on top of that, some very dedicated students want to put together a video kind of like this, with as many students as possible to send off instead of a petition. "Before It's Too Late" will have some original music, and some singing and many voices in unison each saying one sentence of a letter to Stephen Harper. When it's done, you can see it first right here!

In our display, the information is separated, all with different fonts of various colours. Here's it's just straight info. Do with it what you will.

December 7-18, more than 15,000 people including Government officials and advisers from 192 nations and the media from nearly every country in the world will come together in the Danish capital in one of the most significant gatherings in history. It is being called the most complex and vital agreement the world has ever seen as they will negotiate agreements for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Kyoto Redux: This one’s for keeps!

Stephen Harper wrote a letter back in 2002 that said:
“We're gearing up now for the biggest struggle our party has faced since you entrusted me with the leadership....I'm talking about the 'battle of Kyoto' — our campaign to block the job-killing, economy-destroying Kyoto accord.... Carbon dioxide is essential for life!”
Harper's letter dismisses Kyoto as 'socialist scheme'. CBC News, Tuesday, January 30, 2007.

Let’s make sure Harper gets an attitude adjustment. Write a letter to tell him what really matters.
• Sign the online KYOTOplus petition
• Write your own letter
• Be part of KCI’s video petition this Friday. Listen to the announcements for details!


MP name

Dear Name

Global warming is the greatest threat to life on earth. Entire populations and ecosystems are threatened by devastating impacts such as drought, heat waves, fires, floods, storms, and rising sea levels.

Scientists have warned the United Nations that only urgent action can avert uncontrollable, runaway climate change.

Green solutions will create thousands of jobs and build a strong economy.

To preserve our environment and ensure a livable world for our children, I call on Canadian politicians to support these KYOTOplus goals:
• Set a national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% from 1990 levels by 2002.
• Implement an effective national plan to reach this target and help developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.
• Adopt a bold, strengthened second phase of teh Kyoto Protocol at the pivotal United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2009.

The Government of Canada must act NOW to make climate change our highest priority.


Your Name

Come to the A.O. for a handout of this sample letter and addresses.

Check out www.climateactionnetwork for more information.

Addresses: You can write to any governmental figure without a stamp, or e-mail them!

Peter Braid is the local Member of Parliament. 22King Street S. Waterloo, ON N2J 1N8 (

Also write Stephen Harper: Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 (

To view which MPs have not already signed the KYOTOplus politician’s pledge, visit:

Mailed letters count for more than e-mail, but make sure it’s out by the end of November to get there in time!

Personalize your letter by expanding on topics such as...
• Intergenerational justice – youth are inheriting a world that is in climate crisis. Future generations deserve better.
• Climate justice – richer countries have a moral obligation to take more responsibility for climate change than poorer countries. Poor people have the right to attain a certain level of development before being responsible for emissions.
• Tar sands – Canada is increasing tar sands production, despite the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands are three times those of conventional oil and gas production.
• Democracy – Canadians want to stop climate change. Since we live in a democracy, we need politicians to represent the will of the people.

Under Kyoto, which we agreed to in 2002, we were supposed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels by 2012.

So far, Canada has increased emissions by 33.8%.

(We’re way worse than the U.S. on this one! – Shhh.)

Of the countries who signed Kyoto, Denmark had the greatest reduction of 22%! It IS possible.

In May 2007, the Friends of the Earth sued the federal government for failing to meet the Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. How embarrassing!

Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again. Tell Harper this is important!  
At Copenhagen, they’ll be discussing what number to set as a target for reduction - between 25 and 40% by 2020. What does that mean for you?? How can you help??

• drive less, walk more
• turn off lights and monitors
• use power bars for phantom loads
• eat less meat
• buy fewer non-essentials
• buy stuff with the least amount of packaging
• use less hot water
• play in the park instead of watching TV
• turn your thermostat down in winter
• ditch the air conditioning in summer
• use less paper and use re-use-it paper
• plant trees

Canada has a tiny window of opportunity to move from laggard to leader. The stakes have never been higher, and the costs of failure are all but unthinkable. The Canadian Government CAN be moved on this issue, but only if we make it happen.

Let’s rise to the challenge.

No amounts of money will save the planet once climate change crosses the danger threshold.


Walter Jeffries said...

Might I add to that list: Don't attend conferences about global warming.

Marie said...

I agree. They could certainly have done everything by video conference without getting face to face and save many gallons of jet fuel. People might argue that they need that contact to be more convincing, but it's a big trade off.