You have no doubt heard that the COP22 United Nations Climate Change conference is taking place from November 7 to 18, 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco. The COP, which stands for the “Conference of the Parties,” was created to assess the efforts of countries in dealing with climate change. It is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opened for signature in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Stakeholders from the world over will therefore be together until November 18, 2016, discussing this critical issue of great concern to millions of people across the globe.
New Delhi is currently undergoing a major upheaval, directly attributable to human activities. With its 25 million inhabitants, the second most populous city in the world is facing a public health crisis: The air is unbreathable. The worst part is that from our North-American perspective, the situation can be hard to understand because it’s not happening in our own back yard. But looking at pictures is enough to make your lungs hurt, and make you grateful for being able to take a breath of fresh air.
Leonardo DiCaprio takes on climate change
In the wake of the COP22, which aims to stabilize the concentration level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the presidential campaign and the crisis in New Delhi, a brand new documentary on climate change is available for free for a limited time. It feels like the stars are aligned! Leonardo DiCaprio and National Geographic have just made Before the Flood accessible. It follows on the heels of other documentaries released in previous years on the same topic: Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Home (2009). DiCaprio’s Before the Flood is not simply an engaged film that puts the issue of global warming into perspective, but is the perfect opportunity to see some breathtaking images of our planet. Unfortunately, it’s also cause for concern about our future.
Companies take on climate change
Decisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should not be made by governments alone. Responsible for approximately 32% of GHG emissions, companies have understood the role they have to play and can take the initiative of improving their own environmental record, without waiting to be confronted to do so. This is what Cascades is doing by closely monitoring its environmental footprint and setting atmospheric emission reduction targets. The company succeeded in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% between 1990 and 2015, and is aiming for an additional reduction of 7% by 2020.
Citizens take on climate change
All we can do now is hope that citizens around the world hear the message and act by taking small steps that, collectively, can make a difference. Inspired by Saint-Exupéry, or perhaps by an Indian proverb, an Australian minister of the environment said in 1974: “We have not inherited this earth from our parents to do with it what we will. We have borrowed it from our children and we must be careful to use it in their interests as well as our own.”
 Québec inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 and their evolution since 1990, p. 8 (French only), http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/changements/ges/2012/inventaire-1990-2012.pdf