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Federal election 2021: What Waterloo Region voters need to know about climate change promises

With the federal election coming up, Cambridge Times and Metroland Media decided to look at the issues dominating the campaign. Here’s a local look at climate change, and what the federal candidates are promising.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is an issue expected to be at the forefront of the election, and it is predicted to have specific impacts on the Waterloo Region. The Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo predicts that the average annual temperature in Waterloo Region will increase by 2-3 degrees by 2050. If global greenhouse gas emissions in the region continue as they are, we are expected to face one full month of extreme heat every year, and winter temperatures in the middle of February may soon sit at zero degrees by 2050, if actions aren’t taken.

The Region of Waterloo previously committed to reducing their corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent below 2009 levels by 2019. Currently, there is no update as to whether this goal has been met. Most cities in Waterloo Region have a climate change adaptation plan that includes initiatives such as mitigating flooding, LED light upgrades, rainwater harvesting and developing new renewable energy sources. It should be noted that most of these were proposed solutions that haven’t necessarily been implemented.

WHAT THE PARTIES ARE PROMISING

Liberals: The party has vowed to bring natural greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels, with the goal of having net zero emissions by 2050.

Conservatives: The party promises to implement carbon border tariffs on China, increase the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, and meet Canada’s emissions-reductions target under the Paris Agreement.

NDP: The party is aiming for the goal of having net zero emissions by 2050.

Green party: The party is proposing a detailed carbon budget, tariffs on certain imports, investments in renewable energy and an end to all subsidies for fossil fuels.
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