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Climate Emergency

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Departmental Statement on Climate Change: A Global Emergency

“Climate change is an urgent crisis which poses a severe threat to both current and future generations. The Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment considers it to be our fundamental responsibility to use our scientific expertise to promote climate change education and to encourage climate action. Inspired by the momentum generated by youth around the world, protesting their governments’ insufficient progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement targets, we pledge to dedicate our efforts towards developing and implementing solutions to the climate crisis and to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, we pledge to reduce our individual as well as collective impact on the environment, and urge all departments, both within our institution and at other universities, to join us in promoting proactive climate change research and action.”

The purpose of the Climate Emergency Committee of the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment is to pursue the following three objectives:

  1. Increase awareness and understanding in Quebec of the growing global climate crisis through education;
  2. Develop, propose, and encourage Geography, Planning and Environment department policies to tackle climate change;
  3. To inform and collaborate with interested parties about ways to reduce environmental impacts (greenhouse gases, plastics, impacts related to food, etc.).   


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GPE Flying Less Policy (Unanimously approved on June 1, 2019)

As part of the commitments made in the policy here is the collective flying record for 2018/2019 for the 20 full time faculty members of the department: 

- Total flying distance for professional purpose = 355,000 Km (average of 17,750 km per faculty member) 
- Estimated CO2 emissions from flying = 52 Tonnes (average of 2.5 T per faculty member) 

Our goal is to do better collectively next year.

To learn more about what other universities, groups and organizations are doing around the word to reduce flying activities as well as to get answers to some of the questions you might have such as "Why carbon off-setting is considered a license to pollute?" make sure to visit the Flying Less: Reducing Academia's Carbon Footprint blog. 

For more information about our Flying Less Policy, please contact professor Sébastien Caquard (sebastien.caquard@concordia.ca)

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In February 2021, we participated in the federal Pre-Budget CONSULTATION “Build a greener, more innovative, more competitive, resilient and inclusive Canada once the Covid-19 pandemic is under control”. The period for the public consultation was between January 25 and February 19, 2021.

Canadians were invited to participate in a public consultation on the upcoming post-covid federal budget. Specifically, they wanted to hear ideas on how a greener, more competitive, more innovative, more inclusive and more resilient Canada could be built, once COVID-19 is under control.   

We used this is an opportunity to tell the federal government that the climate and biodiversity crises are top priorities for Canadians.   
We made a formal submission and sent the following letter on February 16, 2021:  

Letter to federal government from CEC

In the 2021 federal budget, we strongly support the government of Canada in its effort to initiate, expand and fortify the following commitments:

  • Meet the national targets in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. Reduction in emissions observed during the COVID-19 pandemic is in the range needed to meet those targets
  • Promote the reduction of fossil fuel production in Canada. If we are to meet the 1.5 °C Paris agreement target, well over 85% of bitumen from the oil sands in Canada must remain in the ground
  • Transition oil sands workers to renewable energy professions, a 110 billion dollar investment to make sure no Canadian gets left behind in the energy transition
  • Transfer all federal subsidies from the fossil fuel sector to community-led renewable energy projects
  • Transfer technologies, research and other resources related to the environmental crises to countries of the global south
  • Ensure federally budgeted organizations develop and implement plans to become carbon neutral organizations by the end of the decade (i.e. Canadian Union of Postal Workers Post’s transition plan)
  • Evaluate the state of soil carbon in Canada and subsidize and maximize sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices
  • Exceed protected areas targets set by Prime Minister Trudeau of saving 25% of land and 25% of marine habitats by 2025
  • Expedite the electrification of transportation in Canada
  • Expand public transportation, including high-speed rail, to create a land transportation network that will reduce the need for air travel
  • Support the construction of greener buildings and retrofit old buildings to be efficient
  • Support and research climate justice adaptation initiatives for Indigenous, Inuit and all other Canadian communities projected and currently affected by climate change and other environmental changes.
  • There have been multiple calls for Canada to treat the current situation as an opportunity to move away from its dependence on fossil fuels, to adopt more sustainable practices and to shift to a greener economy.7,8,9,10 These include concrete suggestions from well-positioned experts on how to rise to this challenge to come out of the pandemic as a more sustainable and less unequal society. Please give these proposals the attention they deserve.

The Climate Emergency Committee,
Concordia University

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GPE Climate Emergency Educational Offer

Press Release: Concordia University’s Climate Emergency Committee invites Quebec high schools and CEGEPs to engage in Climate Change education

To contact us: climate.emergency@concordia.ca  or https://www.facebook.com/climate.emerg/

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