Greenpeace installs solar panels on a school in Spain 05/03/1997 © Greenpeace / Clive Shirley

Climate change is a reality. Today our planet is hotter than it has been in 2,000 years. Global warming cannot be explained by the natural mechanisms that caused previous warm periods, and there is broad scientific consensus that humanity is in large part responsible for this change. Choices we make today will decide the climate of the future. Be part of the solution by reading the Energy [R]evolution report for Canada and How to Save the Climate.

The Energy [R]evolution for Canada shows how we no longer have to rely on fossil fuels for energy as we have for more than a century. Burning coal, oil and gas releases carbon dioxide, a global warming gas, into the atmosphere. Other greenhouse gases also play a role in climate change, as does massive deforestation. If current trends continue, the global temperature will likely be higher by the end of the century than at any time in the past two million years.

By studying temperature data from the past 300 years, ice cores, ocean and lake sediments, rising sea levels and retreating glaciers and sea ice, climate scientists have come to the conclusion that humans are causing global warming. There is mainstream scientific agreement that the 1990s was the warmest decade in history, and that climate change over the next century will be faster than ever if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced.

The threat to people from climate change is growing. The Global Humanitarian Forum estimates that 300,000 people die every year from the effects of climate change, which include drought, food shortages, severe weather and rising sea levels . Millions more suffer. These numbers will continue to grow. A million species are threatened with extinction over the next 50 years if climate change continues to get worse.

Climate Campaigners on Parliament Hill During Copenhagen 12/18/2009 © Greenpeace / Meaghan Eady

Scientists urge the world to take action to avoid climate change. In 1988, the United Nations set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess the risk of human-caused climate change. Thousands of world experts have written or reviewed IPCC reports that say strong evidence shows most global warming in the past 50 years is human-caused and likely due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.

Canada is not taking action. The rising greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta tar sands will put us further behind. Canada’s emissions are more than 30 per cent higher than the target we agreed to meet by 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Harper government has filed a target for reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 that would increase emissions over its previous target. This filing fulfilled a condition of the non-binding Copenhagen Accord that called for developed countries to strengthen targets. The accord, supported by Canada and denounced by Greenpeace as inadequate, was developed at the United Nations climate conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

Canada could be a leader in fighting climate change. Greenpeace has produced an Energy [R]evolution report that shows how. We can switch from burning fossil fuels and nuclear energy to clean, green energy sources. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can help Canada significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.

For in-depth information on climate change and how the Energy [R]evolution provides solutions, go to Resources.