On October 19, citizens of Canada resoundingly voted for a Liberal Majority. This is expected to have many ripple effects throughout the nation and its many programs, including a major push toward reversing some of the environmental damage that has happened during the past decade. In fact, now that Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister Elect, there will be at least $2 billion pledged to the newly formed Low Carbon Economy Trust.
Interestingly, the new Prime Minister was able to win the election without having a fully formed environmental plan. Instead, he is targeting February 2016 for the release of a new framework regarding climate change and the eventual elimination of fossil fuel subsidies. However, it has already been announced that Prime Minister Trudeau will be working closely with France, the U.S. and Mexico in order to negotiate more meaningful legislative action at a global level.
Although the environment is certainly not the only issue that Canadian voters had in mind, it is one of the most critical components for worldwide environmental health. After all, when Beijing banned cars for just two weeks, they were able to reduce their average Air Pollution index from an unhealthy 160 all the way down to 17. This positive change was undone in just one day of having cars back on the roads, and this has an effect on much more than the city of Beijing. It has become abundantly clear that unless every major city and country works together, the entire planet will continue to suffer.
With this in mind, it is important to look at the forward strides that are being made in nations outside of Canada. For example, U.S. Congressman and personal injury attorney Dan Rayfield was recently honored for his environmental work with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters’ Rising Star award. On a national level, President Obama is working toward implementing his Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
Scotland has just reached the end of its first year of charging consumers 5p for each plastic bag that they use to carry their purchases home. This innovative program has led to a massive 80 percent reduction in plastic bag usage. Not only is this helping the environment but it has also had a direct impact on the amount of litter that is found on Scotland’s streets. As an added bonus, Pounds 6.7m has been raised to date from the plastic bags that have sold, and this money is being used to help charitable organizations.
Unfortunately, not every country is moving in the right direction in regards to the environment. There is a constant battle in the U.S. between the Democrats and Republicans about whether or not global climate change even exists. Meanwhile, the U.K. has recently moved away from using renewable energy. The recent and unexpected changes to the U.K.’s renewable subsidies has caused the nation to lose their top 10 standing in this environmental category.
Some areas that are struggling with the results of climate change have reached out for global support. The Dalai Lama has spoken about the need to protect Tibet’s environment, and the entire world is being held responsible for halting the continual melting of glaciers and ice caps in the Antarctic.
Scientists have pointed out that the world will be dramatically different by 2100 if action is not taken, and this will require the cooperation of politicians ranging from State Representatives such as Dan Rayfield to national leaders, including President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau.
Canada’s latest election appears to be a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot more work to do. At this point, climate studies indicate that Miami and New Orleans are already going to be underwater by the end of the century, and much more is at stake.