British Columbia

Climate change activist has advice for Justin Trudeau

An Australian climate change activist is urging Justin Trudeau to act quickly to catch up on a what he calls a decade of lost opportunity.

'We need to have really steep cuts, really quickly,' says Tim Flannery of the Australian Climate Council

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said before that he would attend the Paris UN climate summit with premiers. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

An Australian climate change activist is urging Justin Trudeau to act quickly to catch up on a what he calls a decade of lost opportunity. 

"We need to have steep cuts and really quickly," said Tim Flannery, chief councillor of the Australian Climate Council and author of 'Atmosphere of Hope'

Flannery says world pollution is at its worst in a decade. 

"Anyone dealing with this issue has to be in recognition that we come from a lost decade of opportunity," he said, "they now commit us to one and half degrees of warming, even if we stop polluting right now."

Trudeau has highlighted the upcoming UN climate change summit in Paris as a priority. He's said in the past that a Liberal government would work with the provinces in order to hammer out a climate change policy within 90 days of the summit. 

Tim Flannery, climate change activists has some advice for newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Charlie Cho/CBC)

Flannery believes that's a good starting point. 

"You got to listen to the provinces, there is little point putting up a tag and at the end finding out that you don't have an agreement across all the jurisdiction in Canada," said Flannery. 

Trudeau has said that national emissions targets would be set after consultation with the provinces.

Investing in technology

Flannery says in addition to reducing emissions and adapting, Canada needs to focus on technologies that will get CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. 

"I think we need to look more broadly and ​in terms of the future and say what are the industries that are really thriving in the next decade or two," said Flannery. 

"We have to adapt and we have to get gas out of the air," he said. 

He says companies like Carbon Engineering in B.C. are already doing a good job of removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. 

"[They are] getting CO2 out of the air and turning it into something useful and I think that is the future and for a resource economy — that is a resource," he said. 

The Liberals have promised to invest $200 million each year to create strategies to support innovation and clean technologies in the forestry, energy and agricultural sectors, and invest an additional $100 million to support clean technology companies.

Flannery was in Vancouver to accept the Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue from Simon Fraser University. 


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Climate change activist has advice for PM Justin Trudeau with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

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