Canada 2020 Post-COP26 Discussion Series

In November 2021, world leaders came together in Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. With the existential threat that climate change poses to communities across the globe, it’s never been more urgent to work toward goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

In the wake of COP26, the team at Canada 2020 convened a four-part discussion series, bringing together leaders from across sectors who are looking at our next steps on climate. You can read about each event, or listen to all four discussions, below.

Here are our top 5 take-aways:

  1. To create the change necessary in fighting climate change, each of us has to start small – with conversations. Katharine Hayhoe warns us that solution aversion is the primary barrier to climate advocacy. The next time you have dinner with your climate change-denying uncle, try starting the conversation from a place of commonality: what’s happening in your shared community, pointing to visible, real-world impact, and talking about why it matters in the here and now. Loading up on scary facts and then dumping them on people in conversation just doesn’t work. 
  1. Starting small works! Beginning with small changes makes each of us more attuned to the potential for larger, more systemic changes, like voting for climate advocates and supporting more sustainable companies. We can’t forget that systems are made of people, so we all have a role in catalysing systemic change.
  1. Even when we’re starting small, we need to remember that climate change has big impacts. In the coming century, over a billion people will need to be re-settled around the globe because of environmental damage caused by the climate crisis. Parag Khanna has some good news: a lot of the world is already made up of mass-migration societies, including – you guessed it – North America. Canada has the opportunity to lead the world on re-settling climate migrants (for which there is no current legal definition, but the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers is trying to change that). Canada has geography on our side, migration is in our economic best interest, and we have a moral obligation to step up.
  1. Migration policy is not all that Canada has the chance to become a world leader in: the shift to net zero is a whole-country transition that will take concerted policy support, and as Mark Carney reminds us, there’s still a gap between ambition and policy when it comes to keeping global warming to 1.5°C. We can close these gaps with progressive regulation, and mobilize the capital necessary to build the resilient, sustainable infrastructure we need. Leading the green transition will create jobs in Canada, make our industries (like auto, tech, and manufacturing) competitive, and give people the skills they need for the new economy.
  1. All of our speakers agree: we cannot underestimate the value of our planet’s natural systems in managing the climate crisis. According to our friends at WWF-Canada, we’ve got yet another huge advantage here in Canada: a massive carbon reserve in the form of natural ecosystems from coast to coast to coast, totalling an estimated 384 billion tonnes. With 30% of atmospheric carbon coming from ecosystem destruction, this vast carbon sink must remain intact if we’re going to manage warming on this planet, let alone preserve landscape and essential biodiversity across the country.

Revisit the conversations of Canada 2020’s post-COP26 discussion series:

Reflecting on COP26: What’s next? 

Date: November 16, 2021

In the wake of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, what does the fight for climate justice look like? In the first of our four-part post-COP26 series, former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and climate scientist and author Katharine Hayhoe talk about the outcomes of COP26, the future of climate advocacy, and Hayhoe’s new book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.

Reflecting on COP26: The climate migration crisis

Date: November 23, 2021

In part two of Canada 2020’s post-COP26 series, Parag Khanna (Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, and international bestselling author of the new book MOVE: The Forces Uprooting Us), Warda Shazadi Meighen (Partner at Landings LLP and co-chair of the climate migration working group at the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers) speak with Kate Hammer (Director of Government Relations at Vancity) about the global climate migration crisis, Canada’s responsibility as a member of the international community, the demographic changes we should expect in the face of the climate emergency, and why the time to act is now.

Listen here.

Reflecting on COP26: Understanding the Net-Zero Economy

Date: December 15, 2021

In part three of our post- COP26 series, economist and UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney, and Vancity CEO Christine Bergeron talk about reframing the political and economic narrative of climate advocacy, and the challenges of moving towards a net-zero economy. What opportunities exist in the aftermath of COP26? What role must the private sector play in this transition? And what can individuals, organizations, and governments do to champion progress towards essential climate action?

Listen here.

Reflecting on COP26: Understanding Canada’s Carbon Stores

Date: December 16, 2021

In this final installment of Canada 2020’s post-COP26 conversation series, WWF-Canada’s President and CEO, Megan Leslie, and Vice-President of Science, Knowledge and Innovation, James Snider talk about Canada’s first-ever national carbon ecosystem map, the enormous amounts of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems throughout our country, and the essential part carbon storage can play in fighting climate change.

Listen here.