Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert: Nurses urge Prime Minister Harper and President Obama to show strong leadership on climate change

February 19, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama has put climate change and green energy high on his agenda, and his visit this week to Ottawa presents an opportunity for registered nurses to press this crucial health issue.  Please take several minutes right now to send President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper a message calling for more urgent action on climate change.  Below, we show you how to do that easily. 



There is no more debate. Climate change experts broadly agree that the planet is warming, and that the primary cause of observed warming since the mid 19th century is  human activity, including emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).[1]  The result is increased threats to human and environmental health, due to more extreme weather events and heat waves, poorer air quality, and the spread of certain vector-, rodent-, food- and water -borne diseases.


Canada is obligated under the Kyoto Protocol  to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.  Instead, by 2006 these emissions actually had risen to 21.7 per cent above 1990 levels (29.1 per cent above target). Based on the conclusions of the respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,[2] individuals and groups  are urging the Canadian government to endorse KYOTOplus, a call to action for industrial nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. The three opposition leaders endorsed KYOTOplus in 2008, but so far, the Prime Minister has merely promised to reduce emissions to about three per cent below 1990 level. 


President Obama has made major green energy commitments (about $50 billion over 12 to 18 months, or about four times as much per capita as Prime Minister Harper promised). However, the President’s 2020 emission target is even less ambitious than the Prime Minister’s: reduce emissions to 1990 levels, and not 25 per cent below.


It’s time for leadership on climate change.


Action Requested

Today’s the day to send a message for action on climate change. President Obama and Prime Minister Harper are together on the same stage. Please send a letter now to ask the Prime Minister and President to show leadership on climate change by committing to much deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. You may edit the letter or send it as is. Please remember to insert your name at the bottom of the letter. 

This letter will be copied to Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Liberal Party) and Jack Layton (Leader of the NDP).

Should you have any questions, please contact Kim Jarvi (RNAO, Senior Economist at kjarvi@RNAO.org or 416-599-1925 ext. 236)


[1]               Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers. November.  To view the document, please go to this link.


[2]           Romm, J. (2009). "The United States Needs a Tougher Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target for 2020," January 13, Centre for American Progress. To view the document, please go to this link