For release December 9, 2009 David Suzuki Foundation
Canada’s Winter Olympians to Prime Minister Harper: Show leadership at UN climate summit
Vancouver—Canadian winter Olympians are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to protect winter sports by supporting a fair, ambitious and binding agreement at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
Twenty members of Canada’s Olympic team took a break from their busy training schedules to tell the prime minister that global warming is the greatest threat to Canada’s winter sports. “We’re already seeing the impacts of climate change first-hand. For winter athletes, climate change means less snow and ice and cancelled races due to increasingly unpredictable weather. We can’t sit on the sidelines when solutions exist. As a country we must act,” says Sara Renner, Olympic silver medalist and member of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team.
Winter activities across Canada, from Olympic sports like skiing and snowboarding to iconic Canadian pastimes such as pond hockey and tobogganing, will be at risk if we don’t take international action to reduce global warming, according to an open letter by the winter Olympians to the prime minister.
The athletes are encouraging the prime minister to seek a constructive solution at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to safe levels based on the best scientific information.
Canada is lagging behind in action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. “Our country is one of the top ten global warming polluters and doesn’t yet have an effective action plan in place. But the Prime Minister can turn that around,” according to David Suzuki Foundation climate specialist, Ian Bruce. “Canada can break the deadlock at the UN summit in Copenhagen by committing to stronger science-based targets and backing that up with an effective national action plan,” says Mr. Bruce.
“In Copenhagen, our federal government has the opportunity to cooperate with the rest of the world to build an agreement that will protect us against global warming and ensure a lasting legacy for our winter sports culture. We are hoping that Canada signs a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement at the UN climate summit,” Ms. Renner says.
Thomas Grandi, former Olympian and member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, delivers the letter today at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s constituency office in Calgary. “Canadians can make a big difference in their everyday lives, but the public can't do it alone. Prime Minister Harper, you have a tremendous opportunity to show decisive leadership at the UN climate summit”, says Mr. Grandi.
For more information, contact:
Kristen Ostling, Communications Specialist David Suzuki Foundation