250 Canadian Academics Sign Letter in Support of Extinction Rebellion
We represent a diverse group of academics working at universities and colleges across Canada who can no longer stand by in the face of human-driven climate change. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alarming report confirming that climate change is posing a serious and unprecedented threat to the diversity and stability of life on earth. We face the imminent possibility of global eco-system collapse and mass social upheaval, and have little time to act. For this reason, we the undersigned are united in the call for the Canadian government to take radical action in addressing the climate emergency. We are also united in the call for Canadian universities to divest funds from the fossil fuel industry that is contributing to the climate crisis, and to redirect investments toward the renewable energy sector and other climate-enhancing technologies.
In doing so, we support the efforts of the international group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is calling attention to our extreme predicament. With XR, we are particularly concerned about the threshold for runaway climate change, which would lead to irreversible catastrophic changes that would impact us all. To keep below the 1.5°C increase in temperature that the IPCC report strongly urges we do not exceed, we must cut global CO2emissions by 45% by the year 2030. As an affluent country that has historically emitted vastly more than the global average, Canada has a moral and practical responsibility to reduce its emissions much faster than the average rate. Allocating Canada a share of emissions remaining under 1.5°C proportional to its population size would require full decarbonization by 2025, aligning with XR’s demand.
To meet this target, we must begin substantially reducing emissions as rapidly as possible — this means that after decades of intransigence, inaction, and rising emissions, we cannot afford to delay a moment longer. Given the extremely small window of time we have, nothing less than the drastic, systemic changes XR demands are necessary: 1) that the Canadian government acknowledge the climate emergency — not just rhetorically but in how it acts — by using its powers to make the threat of the climate emergency as widely known as possible; 2) that the Canadian government enact legally-binding policies to halt biodiversity loss and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; 3) that the transition be supervised by a citizen assembly endowed with decision-making powers, in order to ensure an effective and equitable process; and 4) that the energy transition is just for all Canadians, especially those already marginalized and neglected in the current economy.
Standing with XR, we are thus demanding that the Canadian government enact laws for a mobilization of society not seen since the Second World War to meet the 2025 net zero CO2 emissions target.
And because Canada’s past and future warming is double that of the global average, destroying the fabric of life of the Inuit and other indigenous groups and contributing to their ongoing oppression, we also demand, with XR, that our government collaborates with indigenous members of society in our country and around the world toward climate justice. Strong collaborations, as well as protections, must also be systemically created with and for the poor in both affluent nations and in the Global South, those who face economic persecution simply because of their race, religion, sexuality or gender, and anyone who has been most affected by unchecked resource extraction in the service of an economic system that promises unsustainable growth.
We refuse to continue supporting politicians who claim to be concerned about climate change while simultaneously approving oil pipelines, tar sands mines, and gas liquefaction facilities. Our current government is not proposing the bold and swift action that is necessary. It is our moral duty to demand that they do. We have just a few short years to avoid irreversible catastrophe. We demand climate justice.