Vancouver – Environmentalists left their mark at beloved places on the Vancouver seawall Wednesday evening, as part of a creative project to demand climate action from Canada’s political leaders.
The goal of the #SeaLevelUprising art project is to call attention to the impacts of climate change, using strips of blue cloth to mark how high water levels could be by the end of the century. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Canada’s Premiers today, the Wilderness Committee is asking Vancouverites to share selfies from the coast on social media to send a message to decision-makers about this urgent crisis.
“When you’re careening towards a cliff, you need to step on the brakes, not just ease up on the gas a little,” said Climate Campaigner Peter McCartney. “Our climate crisis is moving much faster than our governments, and we are running out of time to catch up.”
In recent weeks, a scientific study revealed that climate change is causing sea levels on Earth to rise several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years.
There is a significant gap between Canada’s plans and the emissions reductions needed to meet the international goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to try to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Plans to build new fossil fuel infrastructure – such as tar sands pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals – will jeopardize provincial and national climate targets.
“By moving ahead with new pipelines and LNG terminals that have no use in a 1.5 degree world, Canada is betting against Paris. They are actively undermining our chances of success,” said McCartney. “Any climate plan will be a failure if these projects move forward.”
Even with a cap on the expansion of Alberta’s tar sands and just one large LNG export terminal being built in BC, the rest of the Canadian economy would have to reduce its emissions by nearly half in order to meet Canada’s existing climate goals. That doesn’t even account for the emissions produced when exported fossil fuels are burned overseas.
“This isn’t about the economy versus the environment; this is about fossil fuels versus the rest of us,” said McCartney. “Canadians are working hard to reduce their emissions only to see that effort displaced by growth in dirty energy.”