TORONTO: The governor of California has likened the state of the planet to the Titanic in an attempt to drive home his growing fears about climate change.
“A lot of people are asleep, they are on the Titanic and they drink champagne, while we are about to crash,” Jerry Brown, whose state is struggling to cope with a historic drought that many blame on climate change, told the Climate Summit of the Americas.
Meanwhile in Canada, host of the two-day conference that ended Thursday, an unusually active wildfire season has prompted alarm and accusations climate change is again to blame for the hundreds of blazes.
Those and other concerns dominated the talks and are sure to come up again at a crucial international meeting in Paris at the end of November, when countries will try and reach a global agreement to save the Earth.
A central theme of the Toronto talks were accusations that many lawmakers in Canada and the US are still not taking the threat of climate change seriously enough, particularly with the key Paris talks drawing ever-nearer.
Kathleen Wynne, premier of the host province of Ontario, said: “Economic growth that irreversibly alters the climate of our planet is not real growth.
“It’s false and it’s futile. The kind that will ultimately undermine the standard of living that we value so highly.”
American former vice president and climate change leader Al Gore agreed, saying more needed to be done to inform people in the Americas about the benefits and necessity of a green economy.
Although those in attendance — politicians, members of the business community and civil society groups — largely agreed that more needed to be done, they were not joined by the Canadian federal government, which controversially was not there.
In a statement to AFP, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq suggested the record of the government spoke for itself and said the ruling Conservatives were the “first in Canadian history to have managed a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”