Canada and Climate Change: Earning a Seat at the Global Table

By Dale Marshall

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted a week ago today at the United Nation’s General Assembly, contain all the needed elements for Canada and the world to take meaningful action on climate change. It could also give momentum to the UN climate summit, happening this December in Paris.

The climate change goal in the SDGs, Goal 13, and its targets are certainly comprehensive enough to capture the major challenges that countries need to address. If all nations were able to integrate climate change measures across national plans and priorities, boost resilience and their ability to adapt to rising climatic impacts, and build their awareness and capacity on both tackling the root causes and the effects of climate change, then we would be well on our way to overcoming this enormous challenge.

That being said, elements of the climate change goal could have been stronger. For example, including either a global goal for the reduction of carbon emissions or a commitment to phase out fossil fuels in the medium-term, would have further focused the attention of world governments on the root of the problem. We also know that the commitment to mobilize $100 billion annually to assist developing countries to address climate change is dwarfed by the cost of the impacts these nations are facing.

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