How Each Party Intends to Address the Global Climate Crisis

As students, the importance of voting is undeniable as we experience the impact of each new policy our government puts into place. With the election just around the corner, it’s important to know where each party stands on today’s most pressing issues!

In today’s news, climate change is one of the most arguable concerns on everyone’s mind right now. In wake of the recent climate strike lead by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, many Canadians are starting to wonder; what are the current political parties planning on doing about it?

A recent poll shows that the environment and the climate crisis ranks third in the priorities of today’s voters. Each candidate has been sure to incorporate a unique plan on how they believe climate change should be addressed. Here’s a basic rundown of some of the four main party’s plans for action:

The Liberal Party:

The Liberal Party’s main focus is to build on the existing plans they set into motion while Trudeau was in office. They plan on following the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature from rising above 2 degrees-Celsius. Their ultimate goal is to reach a net-zero carbon dioxide emission by 2050. However, this doesn’t mean no carbon dioxide emissions. Rather this means that Canada’s carbon dioxide emission activities, like fossil fuel burning, deforestation and cement manufacturing, will be less than positive environmental actions that results in a “net-zero” carbon emission. They plan on cutting down carbon emissions by banning single-use plastics like straws and plastic forks by 2021 at the earliest, among one of the largest polluting global industries. They also pledge to plant 2 billion trees over the following 10 year. They unfortunately, don’t plan to stop their controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. A pipeline that carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the coast of BC. They instead have promised to invest any profit generated from the sale of the expansion project into clean energy and other climate solutions. 

Overall, the Liberal Government insists that they don’t have to choose between the environment and our economy, but that they can both grow simultaneously. 

The Conservative Party:

The Conservative Party plans on doing a few adjustments to the current laws involving environmental regulations in Canada. Andrew Sheer has pledged to revoke the carbon tax, a pollution tax that charges institutions for how much CO2 they emit, and stop the Clean Fuel Standard, which lowers the greenhouse gas emissions of fuel providers. They hope that cutting these taxes and expenses will serve as an incentive for these institutions to improve their energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy and eco-friendly solutions within their own industries. They also plan to replace these regulations with emission standards. This would mean setting a prescribed limit to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions large companies would make. They also would require companies to invest a certain amount of funding into technology that will help reduce GHG emissions within their own industry

The Conservative Party’s platform has a strong economic focus regarding each decision in the hopes that different industries will operate in an eco-friendly fashion while still benefiting the economy.  

The New Democratic Party:

The NDP has outlined many different ways they plan on addressing the climate crisis. Unlike the conservative party, the NDP plans on keeping the carbon tax in place but lowering the threshold of emissions by 10%. This means any company is required to pay when they emit more than 70% the industry average, instead of 80% set by the Liberal party. The NDP also pledges to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions Canada has by nearly 40%, meaning 450 megatons less than the 2017 emissions. They plan on doing this in multiple ways, one way being the reduction of fossil fuel use. The NDP would like to remove fossil fuels from electricity grids, transportation and building sectors, things that use gas, oil and coal burning to generate power. The NDP also plans to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, meaning any government action that favours the production, use or marketing of fossil fuels instead of reusable energy. Similarly, to the Liberal Platform, they also consider single-use plastic a major problem in Canada and pledge to ban the use by 2022 in order to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions. 

Overall, the NDP Party provides an ambitious goal for Canadians and the government in order to address the climate crisis with less emphasis on the economic impacts and more emphasis placed on the environmental impacts. 

The Green Party:

The Green Party has many goals that aim to significantly reduces the risk that the climate crisis poses. Similar to the NDP party platform, the green party would remove all fossil fuel use from the national electricity grids, and redesign them to run solely on renewable energy. With the goal of Canada only using renewable energy sources, the Green party plans to end all new fossil fuel development projects immediately. This includes the Liberal party’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Through these actions, the Green Party hopes to meet their pledged goal of successfully cutting Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 60% below the GHG emission levels in 2005, doubling the current Canadian target of just 30% below. Aside from the emphasis the Green party places on renewable energy, they also plan to eliminate all unnecessary single-use plastics and expand the band on microbeads to household cleaning items. Aside from the regulations they plan to put in place, they plan to plant 10 billion trees over 30 years and expand the protected marine areas in territorial waters. 

The Green Party has many ambitious action plans to aid with Climate change, which they place their full emphasis on with little emphasis on economic factors. The Green Party states that environmental issues have no place in politics and should rather be governed by a combination of all 4 parties working together to ensure a green future. 

                                                               Markus Spiske - Unsplash

In Summary

These are a few of the main ideas each party has put forward in efforts to tackle the climate crisis. To read the full list of plans each party has set forth, each party website will have a fully detailed list explaining their plans, thoughts and values when it comes to the environment. 

Make sure to vote by October 21st.