Advocates say Climate Change should be top issue for voters in October.

Executive director of Clean Energy Canada said if this election is not about stopping climate change, Canada and the world will suffer immensely

A large group of Canadian climate scientists, environment advocates, business owners and corporate executives want climate change to be the No. 1 issue for voters this fall, including problems and solutions beyond the federal carbon tax.

A hundred of them signed an open letter to Canadians this week, urging them to understand the impacts of climate change and the solutions each party offers before casting their ballots in October.

Those behind the letter fear important discussions about climate change are being lost in the sea of political rhetoric for or against a national carbon price.

“It’s a national emergency,” said Gavin Pitchford, the CEO of recruiting firm Delta Management and executive director of Clean50.

All the signatories of the letter have received Clean50 awards in the past eight years for their contributions to “clean capitalism,” including Unilever, HP Canada, the Vancouver Economic Commission and Cascades.

Pitchford said Canadians need to be better informed about both climate-change impacts and the possible responses that will prevent catastrophic changes to the planet.

“I’m concerned there is an awful lot of misinformation being promulgated by various political parties to suggest that climate doesn’t matter,” he said.

The Paris climate-change agreement signed in 2015 committed almost every country in the world to trying to keep the warming of the earth to as close to 1.5 C as possible. Last fall, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the world is already on an irreversible track to 1 C of warming, and will hit 1.5 C by 2040 unless the world’s political will to cut emissions gets stronger.

The letter stresses that for emissions to be curbed, it is people, not countries, that have to do the heavy lifting because climate change is caused by human activity. It also goes after those who dismiss global warming as a natural phenomenon.

“Science clearly tells us that is not true, that in fact temperatures should actually have been decreasing each century over the past 6,000 years,” the letter-writers say. “Instead, temperatures have risen steadily, and the five hottest years ever recorded have been the last five years. Climate change is real—and by both burning too many carbon-based fuels—and cutting down the trees needed to absorb that carbon, humans are responsible.”

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