Canada’s proposed climate legislation falls short of addressing climate breakdown and protecting frontline defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Please take action today to call for the protection of frontline climate defenders through this Urgent Action petition.

On November 19, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson tabled Bill C-12, the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, in the House of Commons.

The Canadian Press reports: “Bill C-12, if passed, would require the federal environment minister to set five-year targets for cutting carbon emissions starting in 2030, and ending in 2050, when Canada is supposed to hit net-zero.”

The legislation doesn’t say what those targets for 2035, 2040 and 2045 will be (those would be set five years prior to each date).

Canada doesn’t have a 2025 target and its current target for 2030 is to cut carbon 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).

The CBC adds: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed that Canada will exceed the country’s existing target of a 30 per cent reduction below the level of 2005. The government is suggesting that such a plan could be just weeks away.”

If this media report is correct, that might suggest that a new 2030 target could be set prior to the Climate Ambition Summit on December 12.

The intention of that summit is to ratchet up commitments from countries as spelled out in the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 and in the lead-up to the COP26 climate summit now scheduled for November 1-12, 2021 in Scotland.

PBI-Canada is profoundly concerned that four land and environmental defenders have been killed on average every week since COP21 in Paris. More than one-third of those fatal attacks have been against Indigenous land defenders and water protectors.

Furthermore, the United Nations has stated environmental human rights defenders play a crucial role protecting vital ecosystems and addressing climate change and must themselves be defended in order to continue their vital work.

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 send the Prime Minister an email with that message prior to the December 12 summit through this URGENT ACTION petition.

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