Like many countries around the world, Canada is taking a stand in the race to protect the planet and achieve sustainable development. It is the second largest country in terms of total area (land and sea) in the world. It covers an immense territory between three oceans and is made up of very diverse environments. Even though this large country is sparsely populated, it remains threatened by human activities and the ecological footprint per person is among the highest in the world. In fact, the majority of Canadians have a lifestyle that consumes a lot of natural resources. This country is among the 10 regions of the world that emit the most greenhouse gases, with around 2% of total emissions.
The Canadian government is determined to expand the number of its protected and conserved spaces, but also to contribute to the recovery of species at risk, while advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It undertakes to inform all these fellow citizens of new advances in the protection and conservation of its natural heritage and to guarantee a clean, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.
After years of intensive fishing and the disappearance of many species of marine mammals which are among the collateral victims, Canada wants to be exemplary in terms of protection and sustainable development.
They have created a number of protected areas, including 42 national parks and 4 marine areas as well as provincial parks.
On August 21, 2019, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially declared, as part of the Oceans Act, that the huge marine area that lies on the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island, Tuvaijuittuq, entered the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This area, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, plays an important role for ice-dependent species (eg beluga, narwhal, walrus, seal and polar bear). In addition, due to melting ice, this protection limits the creation of new shipping routes, which could, moreover, make mining, oil and gas as well as commercial fishing, research and tourism more accessible in the Arctic.
In 2020, the country joined an international group of 21 member countries that are working to protect the world's oceans, such as European countries, Chile, but also island states like Fiji and Seychelles. The Global Ocean Alliancewas founded by the United Kingdom in 2019 with the aim of achieving protection of at least 30% of the world's oceans by 2030. Canada is trying to go further with a goal of conserving 25% of its marine and coastal areas by 2025.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN), one of the world's oldest and largest organizations of conservation scientists, says protecting 30% of the world's oceans is essential to keep it functioning ecosystems. IUCN has more than 1,400 members of government agencies and NGOs in more than 185 countries whose goal is to help nations find practical solutions to the most pressing environmental and development problems. .
Leader in renewable energy
Canada is one of the world's major users and producers of energy produced from renewable sources. These currently represent about 18.9% of the total primary energy supply in Canada. It is the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China.
These endangered boreal forests
Canada has 28% of the boreal zone of which 75% is forests and woodlands. The boreal forests that surround the arctic zone represent 1/3 of the world's forest area. They constitute one of the largest reservoirs of living organic carbon on the planet and play an important role in determining the global climate. They constitute one of the largest forest ecosystems on the planet and are home to thousands of wild species. Among the countries with forests and land in the boreal zone are Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Russia, China Alaska, and Finland.
This area is unfortunately very coveted for its natural resources with its important mineral deposits, its oil and gas deposits, and its waterways for hydroelectric power. But also by industrial paper makers, who hasten to operate large clearcuts, leaving behind thousands of hectares with soils strewn with forest residues, branches and uninteresting trunks. Real places of desolation.
The consequences are devastating for some species affected by human disturbance. The best known in the boreal region are populations of Woodland Caribou, Wood Bison, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow Rail and Whooping Crane.
20 years after The Boreal Error ,the shocking documentary by Richard Desjardins, the role of the Ministry of Forests has increased and new laws have been adopted to promote soil protection by protecting young trees but also by promoting development. ecosystems that tend to mimic what nature does, such as replanting the right species of trees depending on the region. Companies are urged to harvest timber in an area that has been burnt or devastated by an epidemic, for example, rather than in a healthy area.
In addition, ecosystem restoration tends to improve wildlife habitat, including that of boreal caribou, through recovery programs implemented by the government in its Species at Risk Act .
That being said, if the ministerial intentions are good, as in many countries, its applications are far from being effective and satisfactory for environmental activists.
Canada and deforestation
Of the approximately 80 million hectares of tropical forests that have disappeared from the face of the Earth in less than 15 years, governments also have their share of responsibility in the deforestation of Canadian forests. According to Greenpeace Canada, the forest industry only replants tree species with commercial potential and thus limiting biodiversity.
Based on this observation, the Trudeau government said it was ready to invest more than $ 3 billion over the next few years to plant the two billion trees promised by Ottawa, as part of the Canadian plan to fight the crisis. climate. The first trees will be planted from spring 2021, with the country planting around 600 million trees per year and Ottawa is demanding that every tree harvested be replaced.
In addition, as in many European countries, activists are trying to push the Canadian government to end all negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc, of which Argentina, Brazil, l 'Uruguay and Paraguay. These trade deals have destroyed the planet and deforestation continues to worsen.
As underlined by the signatories including Attac, Greenpeace, Oxfam and Extinction Rebellion UK, this agreement will: " worsen the destruction and collapse of the biodiversity of the Amazon, Cerrado and Gran Chaco due to the increase in quotas for the import of cattle and ethanol to Europe and other countries, perpetuating an extractivist agricultural model based on overgrazing, the expansion of intensive livestock production with feedlots for cattle, and monocultures dependent on pesticides and chemicals ” .
To date, on this subject, the Canadian government has taken no firm position regarding these environmental and human rights abuses, and it has not announced any intention to take a position in the future. According to Greenpeace, despite the Amazon forests approaching the tipping point, the Canadian government is complicit with the Bolsonaro government when it tries to minimize deforestation and improve its environmental record, when it should send a message clear and unequivocal to the Brazilian government, immediately ending free trade negotiations between Canada and Mercosur.
The climate plan
A report by Canada's top scientists has shown that the country is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and that its temperatures could rise by 6.3 ° C by the end of the century. This excessive warming is in response to global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity.
The melting ice which decreases the reverberation of the solar rays increases the sea level, floods, droughts and heat waves and forest fires are more and more frequent. Climate change has devastating consequences.
Canada and the rest of the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions drastically. The report states that: "the world should reduce these GHG emissions to zero by the start of the second half of the century".
Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has made the environment one of its priorities, and imposed a tax on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on four provinces whose efforts it considers insufficient. Ottawa plans to increase investments in various sectors of activity, including transportation, by $ 15 billion, by focusing on green vehicles and public transit infrastructure, planting trees in cities and protecting wetlands.
Climate change is a major challenge for our future and Canada is well aware of it. It is an alarming report that requires an urgent international response and the country has embarked on this frantic race. Whether we are talking about ecosystems or global warming, the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32% to 40% by 2030, compared to the 2005 level must be met!