Four land defenders have been killed every week since COP21, Canada must commit to their protection at the Climate Ambition Summit

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Kalilah Rampanen (Nuu-chah-nulth territory) and Takalya Blaney (Tla’amin Nation) speak at the COP25 climate summit in December 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

A virtual Climate Ambition Summit of world leaders will be held on December 12. It seeks a stronger commitment from all countries to address climate change.

That’s because while the Paris agreement sought to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C, the current nationally determined commitments (emission reduction pledges from the world’s governments) would result in a 3C increase.

Last week, the CBC reported: “The federal government is set to introduce climate accountability legislation as early as next week to formally commit Canada to its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

That article adds: “The long-awaited bill will set out mandatory national five-year targets to cut emissions, starting in 2025.”

Under the Harper and Trudeau governments, Canada has previously promised to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Using the more commonly used international baseline of 1990, that equates to a pledge to reduce emissions by 14 per cent by 2030. In comparison, the European Parliament recently voted for a 60 per cent reduction from 1990 levels.

Adjusting back to the 2005 baseline, government figures released in January 2019 project that even under a best-case scenario, Canada will only achieve a 19 per cent reduction by 2030 (not the 30 per cent reduction promised in 2015).

More bluntly put, the Toronto Star reported earlier this week: “Canada has missed every climate target it has ever set.”

Peace Brigades International-Canada wishes to note that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that the world has never seen a threat as big in scope to human rights as climate change.

We would also highlight that Global Witness has documented that on average four land and environmental defenders have been killed every seek since the Paris climate agreement was reached at COP21 in Paris in December 2015.

More than one-third of those fatal attacks have been against Indigenous land defenders and water protectors.

Given this, the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution explicitly calling for the protection of environmental human rights defenders due to the crucial role they play in protecting vital ecosystems and addressing climate change.

Please join us in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to strengthen Canada’s climate targets, to present credible plans to meet those targets, and to recognize and uphold the right of Indigenous land defenders to free, prior and informed consent.

You can take action by sending the Prime Minister an email by clicking here.

In the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, PBI-Canada will continue to highlight the threat faced by land defenders opposed to megaprojects that are worsening climate breakdown and underscore Canada’s role to address this crisis.

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