Setting the climate change action bar high ahead of federal-provincial meetings

Joint Media Release
February 25, 2016

Climate rally

Ottawa – A coalition of 55 environmental and social justice groups representing hundreds of thousands of people across Canada is demanding that federal, provincial and territorial leaders embrace the policy changes needed for Canada to meet its Paris climate change commitments.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and all provincial and territorial leaders, the groups spelled out their expectations ahead of intergovernmental meetings on climate policy expected to be held on March 3.

“Canada was an early advocate of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and of incorporating Indigenous peoples’ rights, gender equality and a just transition for workers into the Paris Agreement. Meeting these commitments will require an ambitious action plan,” said John Dillon, Ecological Economy Program Coordinator with KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

The letters details six initiatives that elected officials must take to avoid catastrophic climate change and to ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels:

1. A new science-based emission reduction target consistent with a 1.5 degree temperature rise. Canada needs a new science-based emission reduction target consistent with keeping the rise in global temperatures under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Cutting our emissions as much as possible as soon as possible will set us on a path to achieving this goal, whereas delaying action may preclude any possibility of staying under a 1.5 degree rise.

2. A clear and measurable plan for a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Canada needs to transition to 100% low-carbon electricity by 2035 and strive for 100% reliance on renewable sources for all forms of energy by 2050. Investing in renewable energy creates up to eight times as many jobs as investing in oil and gas extraction.

3. An end to subsidies for fossil fuel industries and investments in a green economy. The 2016 federal budget is an opportunity to act on Canada’s 2009 promise to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel industries and announce significant initiatives to support public transit, green infrastructure and clean technologies. Annual Canadian subsidies to fossil fuel industries averaged $2.9 billion over 2013 and 2014, with $1.7 billion of this from the federal government.

4. A carbon fee set at $30 per tonne and a commitment to increase it over time. The government must establish, in consultation with the provinces and territories, a national standard for pricing carbon emissions through a carbon fee set initially at $30 per tonne of greenhouse gases and increasing in steps to a level consistent with limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

5. A far-reaching, permanent regulatory approval process for assessing energy projects. A new, permanent regulatory approval process for assessing energy projects must replace the flawed National Energy Board proces. It must respect Indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior and informed consent as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the government of Canada has promised to uphold, and it must account for the downstream carbon emissions of the projects.

6. A $4 billion annual contribution to climate adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South. Based on precedents where Canada has contributed 3% to 4% of multilateral funds, Canada’s fair share of the $100 billion (U.S.) promised in the Paris decision document requires a contribution of $4 billion a year by 2020.

“This is a defining moment for the Trudeau government. They have a tremendous opportunity to set Canada on the path to a safe, prosperous and sustainable energy future. It will require vision and courage to take this path, but we have no choice if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change,” said Lyn Adamson, co-chair of Climate Fast. 

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For more information:
Lynn Adamson, Climate Fast (416) 731-6605  lyn.adamson9@gmail.com

John Dillon, Climate Fast (416) 463-5312 x 231 climatefast@climatefast.ca

List of signatories:

  • Action Climat Montréal
  • Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA)
  • Bathurst St. United Church
  • Canadian Environmental Law Association
  • Canadian Friends Service Committee
  • Canadian Interfaith Fast for the Climate
  • Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
  • Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
  • Citizens Climate Lobby
  • Citizens for Public Justice
  • Climate Change Toronto
  • Climate Impact Network
  • Council of Canadians
  • County Sustainability Group
  • Creation Matters working group of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto
  • Développement et Paix
  • Douglas Channel Watch
  • Ecology North
  • Ecology Ottawa
  • Enjeux énergies et environnement
  • Federation of Community Power Co-operatives
  • For Our Grandchildren
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Green 13
  • Green Majority
  • Green Neighbours 21
  • Greenpeace
  • Greenspiration
  • Just Earth
  • KAIROS
  • Le Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec (RNCREQ)
  • Mouvement STOP oléoduc
  • Noor Centre
  • Ontario Clean Air Alliance
  • Our Horizon
  • Pacific Wild
  • Parvati.org
  • Peaceworks
  • People's Climate Movement
  • Pipe Up
  • Post Carbon Toronto
  • Quaker Peace and Social Action Committee, Toronto Friends Meeting
  • Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec (RVHQ)
  • Science for Peace
  • Social Justice and Advocacy Committee, Anglican Diocese of Toronto
  • SolarShare Co-operative
  • Toronto Environmental Alliance
  • Toronto350
  • TREC Education
  • TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative
  • Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta
  • The WaterWealth Project
  • We Love This Coast
  • Wilderness Committee
  • Zero Carbon Ontario