UN report ‘must sound death knell’ for fossil fuels as Canada faces climate urgency

UN report 'must sound death knell' for fossil fuels as Canada faces climate urgency
A wildfire burns on a mountain above the Trans-Canada Highway near Lytton, B.C., on Friday, July 9, 2021.

OTTAWA — The secretary-general of the United Nations says a new report “must sound the death knell for coal and fossil fuels,” raising renewed questions about Canada’s climate plan and the long-term viability of its traditional energy sector.

The UN scientific paper says Earth is heating up so quickly due to human activity that temperatures in about a decade will blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent.

UN chief Antonio Guterres says the landmark study amounts to a “‘code red’ for humanity” as increasingly extreme heat waves, droughts, flooding and wildfires threaten the globe.

Federal Environment Minister John Wilkinson acknowledges that parts of Western and Northern Canada are warming at three times the global average, with the ramifications playing out in a cycle of floods and wildfires in British Columbia and elsewhere.

He says the Liberal government has taken “aggressive climate action” through carbon pricing and a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Amara Possian, Canada campaign director for advocacy group 350.org, says the report is a “clarion call” that the country’s climate plan falls far short and demands a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion and a halt to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2021.

— With a file from The Associated Press

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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